The Syria crisis is often described as the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the end of the Cold War. Inside Syria, 6.2 million people are internally displaced and 11.7 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. There are 5.6 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries. This is no short-term humanitarian episode. The devastating human consequences to huge numbers of people will endure for decades. The destruction of relationships, communities, livelihoods, homes and infrastructure will take years to repair and has a profound impact on the neighbouring countries which are hosting the overwhelming majority of Syrian refugees and find themselves under increasing strain. At the same time, the situation in Syria has had long lasting ramifications for Iraq, which has already been facing chronic instability and fragility.
IRC is providing a robust humanitarian response to the Syria crisis and Iraq. With an annual budget in excess of $125 million and supported by more than 1,250 staff in the region, IRC is undertaking programs in Iraq and Syria and the neighboring countries of Lebanon and Jordan in the fields of health, child protection, education, women’s protection and empowerment, cash assistance, and livelihood programming. Our work in these challenging settings gives rise to some of the most pressing issues facing contemporary humanitarian action, including questions of access, security, funding and coordination.
This position offers an exciting opportunity to provide strategic, skilled and dynamic leadership to planning and execution of media relations to give a voice to those who are suffering from the Syria conflict, both inside the country and as refugees in neighboring countries, as well as those caught up in crises in Iraq. The Regional Media Manager is a key position to ensure quality and timely media materials are produced for media organizations, other partners, and HQ, and to ensure visibility of issues affecting women and children in humanitarian crises as well as IRC’s work. A key part of this role is to secure international and regional media coverage on the Syria crisis and Iraq, ensuring media is an integral part of our emergency response.
Appropriate and strategic media engagement is pivotal for the IRC’s advocacy and fundraising. This includes the development of emergency response media strategies, the regular development of press releases, web site and social media content, building a network of regional media contacts, facilitating media and high profile IRC and celeb visits and interviews, pitching stories that highlight IRC’s work and humanitarian needs.
The Media Manager reports to the Director of Policy, Advocacy and Communications in Amman and collaborates closely with IRC’s Director of Communications in New York via dotted line reporting, and communications colleagues in the UK and Europe. S/he will also work closely with IRC’s Middle East Regional Vice President and with Advocacy and Communications colleagues, particularly with the Regional Content and Information Officer, as well as with Country Directors for Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon . This position can be based in Amman or Beirut and requires travel throughout the region and occasionally to Europe and the US, estimated at 30%.
• Main point of contact for media issues between IRC regional, country programs, field staff and HQ media and comms teams
• Writing newsworthy press releases and generating information/story angles for circulation to the international news media (in accordance with usual sign-off procedures)
• Support risk mitigation approaches during sensitive moments for media outreach
• Facilitate international news media spokespersoning, liaising with HQ and country office teams and act as a spokesperson when needed
• Lead the development and implementation of communications strategies for IRC in the region, linked to global comms and regional advocacy objectives.
• Partner with Global Communications to develop an annual regional communications plan that delivers on IRC priorities, i.e., demonstrates how IRC is expanding its reach and increasing its impact in the region.
• Responsible for working with Regional Vice President, Policy, Advocacy and Comms Director, regional security director and relevant global comms colleagues on reputational risk comms and issues relating to disruption of IRCs work in the region (attacks etc).
• Lead rapid, real-time Communications response for emergency/crisis situations in the region and be willing to deploy into emergencies at short notice, and able to execute on digital content asset collection (eg iphone) as needed for IRC channels
• Provide matrixed technical supervision to country-level communications staff and work and create quarterly workplans for Middle East communications outputs in align with regional and global priorities.
• Create emergency specific communications strategies to ensure extensive media coverage and the creation of creative content for crises as they develop.
• Network with international and national media to proactively pitch stories about the humanitarian impact on civilians, IRC’s programs, advocacy priorities and partnerships that results in high-quality, top-tier coverage.
• Closely follow top-tier media coverage from the region to seek opportunities to align messaging
• Create and maintain up-to-date and accurate media lists for journalists covering both the Syria crisis and Iraq crises.
• Build links with programme staff to allow the dissemination of press releases/quotes during times of crisis and other moments of significance.
• Respond to information requests from news media; assess and evaluate media requests, including research as necessary; give and arrange interviews; and assist journalists and photographers in coordinating coverage of IRC programs.
• Create and maintain Master Communications documents, which set out key messages, top facts and essential programmatic info on the both the need and work of the IRC inside Syria and Iraq and our regional refugee response, emergency responses and individual country programmes.
• Create and maintain story lists that summaries the impact of the IRC’s work in individual country programmes and cross border hubs.
• Coordinate with appropriate personnel in partner NGOs for joint media/advocacy initiatives.
• Work closely with the NY-based Global Communications Director and other communications and advocacy colleagues in New York, Washington, London, Brussels and Geneva. Act as a liaison to and vital member of a global media team.
• Work with Country Offices to arrange reporters’ field visits, and accompany as required.
• Serve as external relations resource for field staff, including to train IRC staff on media relations.
• Monitor and evaluate media coverage generated and draw lessons to improve coverage.
• Seek thought leadership and media opportunities for IRC’s thought leaders / senior staff.
KEY WORKING RELATIONSHIPS
Internal: Director of Policy, Advocacy and Comms; Regional Vice President; Regional Content and Information Officer and other Middle East regional team; Middle East Country Directors and staff; Global Communications Director; communications, policy and advocacy colleagues in other IRC offices
External: Media representatives, partner organizations