HR: Employment Opportunities
 Job posting 20-10
Opening date: December 18, 2019
Closing date: February 21, 2020

TITLE: Public Affairs Specialist, IS-1035, Grade 14; $116,240 - $151,115 Annually
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Fund, Indefinite
DIVISION: - Director's Office
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: Open to all qualified candidates who are eligible to work in the US. First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date.


The Public Affairs Specialist is responsible for managing the public engagement and reputation of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian with particular emphasis on media relations and external communication. This includes crafting and executing media strategies to win high-profile favorable coverage of CfA projects and personnel, coordinating all interview and filming requests, and proactively developing and leveraging relationships with key media stakeholders.


Develops, manages and measures the success of media plans, press releases, and press conferences for all CfA science, working with scientists and partner organizations as necessary. They will maintain and develop relationships with top-tier media outlets and proactively seek out new media partnership opportunities.

Evaluates the impact and effectiveness of communication plans and advises management of recommended changes.

Counsels CfA researchers regarding appropriate public relations strategies and effective communication methods, including speaker training for news conferences and other media coverage. Provides internal training and education for public speaking and presentations.

Proactively develops new and existing relationships with reporters and other media representatives from major media outlets, maintaining regular contact with science journalists in print, web, and broadcast media.

Writes, edits and disseminates news releases to local, regional, national and international media representatives.

Advises CfA Director and senior leadership on handling problems and incidents related to the organization's programs and research. Coordinates closely with Harvard and Smithsonian headquarters at times of heightened media attention.

Manages internal communications, serving as liaison with Office of Public Affairs for both Harvard and Smithsonian headquarters, and internal audiences at the CfA. This requires traveling to Washington, DC to attend meetings with colleagues across the Smithsonian, as well as occasional visits to other observatory locations, including Hawaii and Arizona.

Develops policy in coordination with Harvard and Smithsonian headquarters and contracting office for fielding filming and image permission requests.

Works with outside contractors and CfA staff, in conjunction with the Marketing Manager, to evaluate, create and expand organizational web and video presence.

Oversees outsourcing of artwork/illustration and video production services in concert with Marketing Manager.

Creates and manages a centralized, internal image and video media library from across the Center for Astrophysics, in conjunction with Marketing Manager.

Oversees the preparation and distribution of information in response to inquiries from the general public concerning CfA programs, astronomy and astrophysics with External Affairs Associate.

Performs other duties as assigned.


Your resume must demonstrate at least one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GS-13 grade level or pay band in the Federal service or equivalent experience in the private or public sector. Specialized experience must demonstrate the following:

Coordinating and implementing strategic communications, developing communication plans, assigning and proactively seeking out media coverage; preparing speeches and briefings, writing and disseminating articles and press releases; identifying and resolving a variety of complex public affairs issues and providing advice and guidance to senior leadership on all public affairs and communication issues.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: We will only accept applications on line for this position. To view the complete vacancy posting, requirements and the procedures to apply, please visit: USAJOBS

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.

Visit our SAO website.


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