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Career Development: Job Postings

Job type: Full-time Position
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Position: Public Communications Specialist (Medical Research)
Organization: University of Southern California
Date posted: 06/13/18

Public Communications Specialist (Medical Research)

Reporting to the Manager of Research Communications, this Public Communications Specialist is a media relations position that promotes basic research from USC’s Keck School of Medicine that is published in leading peer-reviewed journals.

The Public Communications Specialist works with researchers on published research from assigned academic areas in an effort to find, write and place stories in mainstream media that exemplify the university’s leadership in medical research for societal impact. The specialist works with colleagues around USC to advance the university's reputation in basic and applied research.

The Public Communications Specialist is responsible for cultivating and maintaining effective working relationships with writers, editors and producers in the print and electronic media, especially those who cover science, medical research, healthcare, and academic study.

The Public Communications Specialist also responds to general media requests for information about the university and its subject matter experts, and cultivates effective relationships with writers, editors and producers in the print and electronic media, focusing particularly on national media. This includes on-call duties as a public information officer for the university.

The Public Communications Specialist is considered a first-responder and is required to contribute to USC’s emergency communications efforts during emergencies.

The position requires intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for the mission of a university. Previous PR experience in an agency, corporate or higher education setting preferred.

Job Accountabilities:

• Advances university’s reputation by promoting primary research through the development of support materials and pitching media to place stories about findings;

• Consults with faculty and administrators on media relations and publicity strategies, especially as it relates to promoting research at the university; and

• Collaborates with other departments and schools to share ideas and resources to achieve the best possible outcome for the university.

Preferred Job Qualifications:

• Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as a science, engineering or journalism; Master’s degree preferred.

• Experience successfully developing and pitching stories to media, preferably with strong contacts in medicine, science and tech fields.

• Experience writing on deadline, especially about topics in medicine, science, and/or technology. Strong background in covering academic research preferred.

• Experience promoting content, including creating social media videos. Knowledge of writing for search engine optimization considered a bonus.

•  Adept with visual communications and digital/social media.

• Proficient command of English, ability to also speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi or Spanish a plus.

• Ability to work collaboratively across a large organization to develop messages that resonate

Required Documents

Please submit resume and cover letter that includes well-considered, succinct responses to the following questions:

• Do you have a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree?

• Have you worked in a scientific industry (pharma, biomed, engineering, or other)?

• Do you have experience in journalism, public relations, communications or a related field?

• Are you able to write quickly and accurately on tight deadlines?

• Do you have experience writing about academic research and technological innovation?

• Have you worked at a university or in an educational setting?

Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree, Combined experience/education as substitute for minimum education

Minimum Experience: 3 years, Combined education/experience as substitute for minimum experience

Minimum Field of Expertise: Public relations or journalism


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