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Public Relations Specialist

Location:Baltimore, MD
Benefits:An excellent benefit package is offered.
Employment Type:Full Time

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is a national faith-based organization with a 75-year history, a budget of approximately $58 million per year, and over 100 headquarters staff. For several decades the organization has received the vast majority of its funding from the federal government and has developed a widely-recognized expertise in implementing federal programs on behalf of refugees and migrants living within the borders of the United States. Working with and through partners across the country, LIRS resettles refugees, reunites children with their families or provides loving homes for them, conducts policy advocacy, and pursues humanitarian alternatives to the immigration detention system.

Position Summary:

Reporting to the Director for Communications, the Public Relations Specialist will serve as the lead for all media relations intended to strengthen the organization's influence in the court of public opinion; build brand awareness; and position LIRS as a thought leader. S/he will develop, implement, and evaluate public relations strategies and contribute strategic input to overall corporate communications.

The Public Relations Specialist will work with the CEO, Director for Communications, and Leadership Team on messaging, crisis response, and external events. S/he will be responsible for managing the process of drafting and disseminating news releases, statements, and media advisories targeting mainstream, faith-based, and language-specific media; cultivating a communications network for collaboration on stories, messaging campaigns, and crisis response; and serving as the point person on media relations, working directly with journalists by responding to queries, making pitches, coaching colleagues for interviews with journalists, conducting interviews, and arranging news conferences. S/he will also ensure best practices on media protocols, crisis communications, and brand-consistent messaging.


  • Implement and evaluate public relations strategies to advance brand and thought leadership, including creating and maintaining related press resources.
  • Identify opportunities to publicize expertise of CEO, senior leadership, and key program staff, coaching and supporting these persons for interviews, press conferences, speaking engagements, and other opportunities.
  • Cultivate and coach staff and non-staff experts for opportunities to publicly promote LIRS and its mission; provide ongoing media training to colleagues as needed.
  • Collaborate closely with communications staff to align efforts and identify opportunities to further leverage messaging and development staff to publicly highlight special events, grants, and other strategically-appropriate items.
  • Manage the press pages on the LIRS website, posting and curating content.
  • Develop and implement media campaigns for specific initiatives and events.
  • Develop and leverage positive, proactive working relationships with key members of the national, regional, and local media and other third party influencers including but not limited to bloggers, social media outlets, and church media partners.
  • Manage media at on-the-record events.
  • Manage media contact database and develop/implement system for press release tracking and analytics.
  • Draft and disseminate external press releases, statements, op-eds, articles, and media briefs consistent with LIRS messaging priorities and thought leadership goals, ensuring they are appropriate for target audiences.
  • In coordination with Director for Communications, manage media inquiries, discerning when to pursue/accept and when to decline, leveraging staff and non-staff expertise to fulfill requests.
  • Cultivate relationships with members of mainstream, Lutheran, and language-specific media.
  • Develop media strategies to garner earned media and make pitches.
  • Cultivate relationships with relevant staff of service partners, church bodies, government partners, and peer organizations.
  • Collaborate on issues management and communication strategy, including crisis information.
  • Monitor and distribute relevant news stories to senior leadership and other key staff.
  • Maintain media protocols, crisis communications protocols, and best practices on messaging.
  • Provide occasional support for service partners on crisis communications.
  • Undergraduate degree in communications, journalism, or related field required; graduate degree preferred.
  • At least three years of experience in journalism and/or public relations, preferably with a focus on issues related to immigration, refugees, international issues or related fields.
  • Exemplary writing and editing skills, including the ability to draft and edit text from different sources or brief notes. Demonstrated ability to write and pitch persuasively for different audiences and for different forms of media.
  • Familiarity with journalistic priorities and protocols and with editorial processes at print, broadcast and news media outlets; demonstrated professional relationships with members of the local, regional and national working press.
  • Experience advising senior leadership on media strategy, pitfalls, and opportunities.
  • Experience in advocacy-based communications.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft Office and other web-based applications related to media management.
  • Ability to conceptualize, oversee, and analyze market research and trends.
  • Demonstrated ability to assess priorities, manage many activities simultaneously and meet deadlines with particular attention to detail and quality.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team with strong problem-solving skills, as well as commitment to timely achievement of deliverables and outcomes.
  • Experience with and commitment to working in a very diverse workforce.
  • Commitment to LIRS's core mission and values and an ability to model those values in relationship with colleagues and partners; commitment to refugees and immigrants.

Application Instructions:

To be considered, please submit resume and cover letter. 


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