Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is an independent and international medical humanitarian organisation. In over 60 countries worldwide, we provide life-saving emergency relief, including epidemic control, war surgery, nutritional assistance and primary healthcare.
MSF offers impartial assistance, based on need alone, regardless of ethnic origin, gender, creed or political affiliation. To maintain its independence from political interference, MSF relies on donations from private individuals for the majority of its income. This private funding gives us the freedom to respond to the greatest needs as quickly and independently as possible.
MSF UK/IE is one of 24 offices in Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Australasia, pooling funding, expertise and staff for field operations. MSF UK works predominantly as part of Operational Centre Amsterdam (OCA), a partnership between MSF Holland, MSF UK and MSF Germany. Around 3,000 people volunteer their skills every year to work as international staff and the organisation also employs around 27,000 locally in the project locations. MSF UK/IE’s mandate is to provide technical, medical, human resources, financial and communications support to field
- The department’s purpose is to raise the profile of the organisation and its causes amongst British and international audiences to support MSF’s advocacy, recruitment and fundraising activities.
- The press officer sits within MSF UK’s press office, and reports to the media manager. The press office is one of four teams within MSF UK’s Communication Department– along with the digital, editorial/AV, and public engagement teams. The press officer will work very closely with all members of the Communications department, particularly the other press officers and media manager. The press office share duties and press management, including an out-of-hours on-call rota, and often cover for each other during holidays or when one member of the team is travelling.
- The UK is a hub for communications internationally and MSF UK is expected to play a significant role in supporting communications ambitions for the whole of MSF.
To raise awareness of the work and priorities of MSF with core target audiences via coverage in UK and international radio, print, TV and online media.
Position in the organisation
- Reports to the media manager, and works closely with fellow press officer, as well as members of the Communications team and other departments in the UK office, such as Fundraising, HR, Programmes and the Manson Unit; and the wider MSF movement
- Alternates supervision of communications intern with the other press officers
MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES AND TASKS
- Maintains and pro-actively develops journalist contacts within UK and international media, including identifying opportunities to build new relationships with key journalist and producer contacts based in the UK
- Acts as one of the first points of contact for UK-based media enquiries, including through the provision of a 24- hour on-call service for media in conjunction with the head of communications, the other press officer and the broadcast relations manager
- Edits and drafts press releases/Op-eds/other media content and disseminated
- Identifies target audiences and the correct outlets to reach them
- Facilitates interviews with spokespeople from the UK or the field, and gathers operational information from the field/operational centres to fulfil media enquiries
- Proactively pitches story ideas to appropriate broadcast, online and print media, with a view to increasing news, features and documentary coverage of MSF stories from international and UK media outlets
International Coordination, Support and Representation
- Researches story ideas for public communications use across the MSF teams
- Maintains an up-to-date list of suitable feature stories, including identifying key protagonists and newsworthy angles.
- Sources appropriate content from within MSF through building relationships and planning field visits in order to generate media opportunities and support journalists who wish to cover our work
- Disseminates resulting materials within the movement for use internally or externally
Press office management and administration
- Attends regularly scheduled meetings to share information, brainstorm solutions and coordinate priorities, with the communications team and the UK office
- Maintains a database of active documentary and feature pitches
- Contributes to and updates media contacts database of relevant documentary and feature producer/editor contacts for print, TV, online and radio
- Maintains, in conjunction with the rest of the press team, press office systems and structures, including: daily media monitoring activity (of MSF’s media coverage in the UK, and also of wider media interests and reporting); preparation and dissemination of weekly media planning information, both for the UK press office and for the wider MSF network; recording of updated press contacts lists and any other press office systems and structures
Knowledge, skills and experience
- Demonstrable experience in press office work or journalism, including substantial understanding of, and contacts in, UK media.
- Experience in pitching stories and features to print, radio, TV and online
- Good knowledge of world affairs and a demonstrable understanding of and commitment to humanitarian issues
- Understanding of how to identify and target key audiences
- Excellent verbal and written communications skills; ability to adapt style to suit a wide range of audiences; accessible, friendly telephone manner
- Fluent spoken and written English
- Flexible, can-do attitude and good team player – this role involves working very closely and collaboratively with colleagues in the UK and overseas
- Ability to cope with stress, retain good humour and make sound ethical and personal judgements in order to deal with ambiguities and conflict
- Project management skills
- Demonstrable network of contacts within the broadcast arena, including production houses, broadcast channels, online outlets and distribution agencies
- Experience in a role which involves pitching and delivering on features and/or the production or distribution of broadcast footage
- Previous work experience with MSF or a similar medical or humanitarian organisation
- Previous work experience in developing countries or unstable environments an advantage
- Ability to speak other languages, such as French and/or Arabic