Associate Director 2, Media Relations (Commentary Editor)

Southern Methodist University Published: June 28, 2018
Job Type


Salary Range:

 Low to mid $60's

Job Summary:

The Associate Director, Media Relations (Commentary Editor) supports the marketing plan for the University in alignment with Development and External Affairs goals and SMU’s strategic plan.

The Commentary Editor reports to the Director of Media & Community Relations, and is responsible for providing strategic guidance and writing / video support to faculty and administrative leaders on commentary pieces intended for publishing. Our goal is to create written or visual commentary that increases the University's reputation for leadership and engagement on important issues - informing, shaping and challenging the perspectives of our target audiences. The Commentary Editor is a lively wordsmith who can adapt their writing style to the voice of faculty and administrators, as well as guide talented, confident people to adapt their thoughts to fit the format and tone of a compelling opinion piece for multiple media platforms.

Essential Functions:

  • Co-create op-ed/opinion content with University president, provost, faculty, administrative leaders and community/business partners at the intersection of University marketing goals and current events to ensure that SMU is represented in signature conversations of our times. Develops high-quality written commentary, collaborates with team  to produce commentary in non-written formats such as video, podcasts and graphic arts. Production of final commentary to include fact-checking and editing content for context against rapidly-changing current events, completeness and journalistic style, as well as spelling, grammar, and organization or rewriting to conform to acceptable news standards.
  • Maintain extensive and diverse range of contacts, opinions & voices across the SMU community from whom to solicit commentary. Pitches SMU commentary for prominent placement; Develops and maintains productive working relationships and banks good will with media editorial boards, blog editors, other journalists who offer platforms for commentary.
  • Work with Marketing & Communications team to use SMU web & social  media resources to feed our commentaries to the widest possible audiences.
  • Combine timely knowledge of  major news, particularly in public policy, foreign affairs, research and higher education trends, with ability to work with media across platforms in accordance with the demands of the 24-hour news cycle.
  • Evaluate unsolicited op-ed ideas from faculty and other members of University community. Develops a strategy for moderating reader comments and integrating them into the conversation for any pieces that are published on SMU web platforms.
  • May support SMU events on an occasional evening or weekend.




Education and Experience:

A Bachelor's degree is required. Master's degree is preferred. Degree in Journalism, Communications, or related degree is desirable.

A minimum of five years of professional work experience in news media with research and explanatory writing skills is required. Will consider seasoned journalist with seven to ten years of experience writing about public policy, international affairs, broad national topics

Experience writing commentary, editorial opinions and letters to the editor is preferred. Previous experience writing a published column and/or editorials is desirable. Experience producing commentary in video and non-traditional formats is a plus.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Candidate must demonstrate strong verbal and interpersonal communication skills, as well as the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse community. Strong writing skills with the ability to produce error-free communications and other materials are required. Strong editing and proofreading skills are essential.

Candidate must possess strong organizational, planning and time-management skills with the ability to proactively manage multiple priorities. Must also demonstrate a strong attention to detail. A strong customer service orientation is essential.

Candidate must possess strong problem solving skills with the ability to be resourceful, proactive and seek assistance as needed. The ability to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a team is essential.

Candidate must have a strong working knowledge of Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. Video editing experience is preferred.

Physical/Environmental Demands:

  •  Sit for long periods of time

Deadline to Apply:

July 16, 2018

EEO Statement:

SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,

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