Associate Press Secretary, Beyond Coal

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Associate Press Secretary, Beyond Coal
Job Type: 
Sierra Club
Washington, DC, USA
March 31, 2014



Job Title:    Associate Press Secretary, Beyond Coal

Department:   Communications

Reports to:   Regional Communication Manager

Context:  Develops relationships with regional and national reporters and producers, pitches and places stories, serves as a Sierra Club spokesperson. Responsible for creating materials to support campaign objectives. Oversees editorial production process for communication materials, including print, television, radio and web advertisements, reports, opinion pieces press releases, and other reporter outreach. Provides strategic communication planning and oversight for Sierra Club local, regional and national campaigns including major Climate Recovery Partnership campaigns (Beyond Coal) and all other programs.

Campaign:  The Beyond Coal campaign is a nationwide grassroots effort to eliminate coal's contribution to global warming no later than 2030 and replace the existing coal infrastructure with a clean energy economy fueled by wind, solar, and geothermal. The Beyond Coal campaign is working to stop the construction of new coal-fired power plants, retire and replace the existing fleet of coal plants, and keep the U.S. coal reserves underground and out of world markets. The Beyond Coal campaign is experiencing significant growth and is seeking passionate coal fighters to join our team. To learn more about our campaign visit:

Scope:    The Associate Press Secretary acts as a liaison between the media team and issue team staff to plan and carry out communication strategies.  Also serves as a liaison between the Sierra Club and key media contacts, to develop relationships that advance the Sierra Club’s media coverage, serving regularly as a spokesperson. Serves as Sierra Club representative to key partners.  Researches and prepares reports for release to media, writes media messages, op-eds, press releases, talking points and other materials, and coordinates media events as necessary.

Job Activities:

  1. Handles rapid response communication, developing messages and writing op-eds, letters to the editor, talking points and other media materials.  Creates strategic media responses to published comments regarding Sierra Club campaigns and to the positions of politicians, institutions or groups.
  2. Oversees strategy and messaging and materials development for the Beyond Coal campaign —serving as liaison across various teams and committees at the regional and local level.
  3. Serves as the media liaison for assigned priority campaignsWorks with internal staff and coalition partners to ensure strategic, timely and successful communications projects.
  4. Crafts long-term strategic vehicles for promoting Sierra Club messages and stories, including but not limited to writing letters to the editor, reports op-eds, radio actualities, press releases, fact sheets, and talking points.
  5. Collaborates with colleagues in various departments, including directors, managers, other press secretaries, web, magazine, online staff and outside consultants to provide assistance and strategic guidance to the issue team(s) and related volunteer committee(s) in developing and executing long-range media plans.
  6. Develops relationships with regional and national reporters and pitches stories to those reporters.
  7. Performs research and analysis using a variety of resources to craft appropriate media messages, write press releases, opinion editorials and other materials.
  8. Trains and coaches staff and volunteers in media skills.
  9. Contributes to staff strategy meetings, and stays current on substantive and political developments in major conservation campaigns by reading latest literature, attending meetings and maintaining contact with relevant sources.
  10. Advises and assists communication staff to pitch other Sierra Club messages, events and reactions to the working press as needed.
  11. Coordinates with campaign operations staff on all logistical and administrative matters, including vendor contracts and relations, time and expense reporting and budget planning.
  12. Performs miscellaneous duties as assigned. 


Knowledge and Skills:

-- B.A. degree in communication, journalism, or a closely related field, or the equivalent combination of education and experience.

-- 3 years prior experience as a journalist, media liaison or other position involving media/press relations.

-- Excellent writing and verbal communications skills

-- Demonstrated knowledge of environmental issues and national politics

-- Ability to interact cooperatively effectively with staff, volunteers and the public

-- Ability to meet strict deadlines and work under pressure


This position is represented by a collective bargaining unit and is subject to the terms and conditions of the contract between Sierra Club and John Muir Local.

The Sierra Club offers competitive salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan. This is a category 5 exempt position.

Sierra Club is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to a diverse workforce.

Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.

*If you are applying for more than one position with us, please attach your job-specific cover letters in the 'Attachments' section.