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Public Relations Specialist


Public Relations Specialist

Enterprise Marketing and Communications

As a member of VCU Public Relations, part of Enterprise Marketing and Communications, the public relations specialist assists in managing the reputation of and elevating national awareness for Virginia Commonwealth University and its affiliated health system. The public relations specialist is located on the Monroe Park Campus and specifically works with VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences, School of Social Work, School of Education, and the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

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The Opportunity

The PR specialist identifies and tells stories with strategic relevance to the VCU enterprise on owned channels and through media outreach; develops strategic communications plans; assists in issues/crisis management; and serves as a rotating member of the emergency communications on-call team.

The position is responsible for supporting the priorities identified by VCU and VCU Health’s strategic plan Quest 2028: One VCU Together We Transform, helping the university achieve its goals related to raising local, regional, and national awareness of VCU’s academic excellence, research and innovation, and student success.

Strategic public relations development and execution

Provides public relations management, guidance, and counsel to VCU academic units for specific projects and long-term communications priorities. Offers expertise in the development of communications research, planning, execution, and evaluation. Provides counsel and contributes related expertise in other areas of Enterprise Marketing and Communications, including marketing, web development, events planning, photography, and video. As an on-call staff person, helps manage emergency communications for both campuses and VCU Health. Responsible for creating and distributing appropriate emergency and operational communications to more than 50,000 faculty, staff, and students through a variety of channels. Manages emergency and operational communications to external media channels. Manages media inquiries, and determines appropriate response in accordance with university and health system strategic goals and priorities. Manages media relationships and notifies appropriate personnel about media presence.


Requires developing relationships with faculty, unit leaders, and unit communications professionals to be informed about the latest research and expertise. Requires building relationships with journalists who cover assigned areas. Requires using Meltwater and Google to research appropriate reporters and media and build media lists for executing pitches. Contribute to the development and updating of appropriate media lists. Review and respond to media inquiries, as well as ProfNet, HARO, and Qwoted expert searches. Requires reading or viewing news from a variety of local, regional, and national sources and actively participating in the morning pitch/story meetings with appropriate ideas from your client areas and elsewhere. Requires an understanding of how pitching and media relations can help achieve VCU’s strategic goals.

News Reporting and Production Duties

Uses professional journalism standards to research, write, and edit news releases, media advisories, or feature stories for external media, social media, and the VCU News Center. Develops sources within assigned unit areas to be aware of new research, events, or faculty expertise. Proofreads and edits for spelling, grammar, consistent formatting, and style, making sure the text follows AP style and university nomenclature. Must have strong news judgment, and the ability to juggle multiple assignments under tight deadlines, producing as-needed breaking news stories, news releases, Q&As, profiles, and in-depth feature articles.

Minimum requirements

Proven, comparable experience in developing and executing strategic public relations programs for local, regional, and national audiences.

Proven ability and creativity in organizing, planning, and implementing public relations programs and analyzing problems to propose effective public relations solutions. Strong initiative. Strong oral and written communication skills. Strong interpersonal skills. Ability to work independently at a consistently high level of productivity.

Proven public relations experience, particularly in strategic planning, media relations, and event management, and evidence of professional writing techniques and skills.

Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment or commitment to do so as a staff member at VCU.

Preferred Requirements

Preferred candidate will possess an undergraduate degree in journalism, public relations, advertising, or marketing.

Salary Range: 60,000 - 65,000

Position Details:

Department: EMC - Public Affairs
Employment Type: UF - University Employee FT
Restricted Status: No
FTE: 1
Exemption Status: Exempt

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