Senior Media Officer

We are looking to recruit a confident and motivated media professional to help amplify our voice and influence. This role is central to our objective of securing good mental health for all.

You should be an excellent writer, a self-starter and someone who can communicate with a wide range of audiences through different media channels.  This is an opportunity for the right person to help influence change and you should be ambitious to build our media coverage. Most importantly you should be a team player – our success has been built on co-operation and shared goals.

About the Mental Health Foundation

Our vision is for a world with good mental health for all. Our mission is to help people understand, protect and sustain their mental health.

Prevention is at the heart of what we do, because the best way to deal with a crisis is to prevent it from happening in the first place. We inform and influence the development of evidence-based mental health policy at national and local government level. In tandem, we help people to access information about the steps they can take to reduce their mental health risks and increase their resilience.

Find out more about us and our work

How to apply

To apply please complete an application form and an equal opportunities form and email them to: vacancies@mentalhealth.org.uk by midnight on Sunday 8 July 2018. Interviews will be held on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 July 2018.

Job description

Main purpose of the job

This is an exciting time to be joining the Foundation. There is growing public interest in mental health and our organisation is making a significant impact. Each year we run Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year saw the participation of the public, celebrities, businesses, politicians and members of the Royal Family.

The Senior Media Officer will promote the work of the Foundation across all external media channels including print, digital and broadcast outlets.

The post-holder will be responsible for reacting rapidly and accurately to media enquiries and building our reputation as an organisation which journalists trust.

The Senior Media Officer will also be responsible for proactively launching our reports and new data – identifying key news lines and turning complex information into simple and easy-to-understand news releases.

We are looking for someone who is a self-starter who can independently identify and implement media opportunities and bring their own creative thinking to the post.  The person suited for this role will also understand the importance of accuracy and balance in publicising our research.

The post-holder will have excellent news sense and can also deliver features and PR if required. They will need to be comfortable working across a range of output including comment pieces, blogs, video and social media. A key part of this role will also be to identify supporters with lived experience, celebrities and others who are willing to advocate on behalf of the Foundation.

Above all, this is a role for someone who is a team player. Our success has been built on working together across different specialisms and ensuring that we all contribute to shared goals.

Principle tasks and responsibilities

Media support
  • Working with the Head of Media and Communications to deliver a strategy that will build and sustain a high media profile for the Mental Health Foundation.
  • Work with departments across the Foundation to maximise opportunities to promote their work and activities in the media.
  • Provide expert advice and recommendations to colleagues, including the Senior Management Team, regarding media activities, and be confident liaising with external contacts including journalists.
  • Field and promptly action media requests and enquiries, providing accurate information and quotes, or access to relevant case studies and/or spokespeople. 
  • Draft excellent written copy for corporate communications including articles, blogs, comment pieces and press releases.
  • Manage the Foundation’s media monitoring service, and to update colleagues on relevant coverage.
  • Spot opportunities to secure proactive media coverage and/or promote the work of the Foundation in print and broadcast media, and through external online articles and blogs. 
  • Spot opportunities to secure features with bloggers and digital and media magazines and titles.
  • Develop excellent working relations with national print and broadcast journalists, and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Brief case studies and spokespeople on key messaging and lines to take, identifying risks and opportunities, and, where necessary, providing training and guidance to colleagues on how to communicate with journalists and other media professionals.
  • Represent the Foundation in the media as and when appropriate.
  • In liaison with the Digital team, provide engaging copy for the Foundation’s social media channels (predominately Twitter and Facebook) with a specific focus on promoting relevant print or broadcast media to our supporters and followers.
Case study liaison
  • Identify, approach and recruit appropriate people with lived experience of mental health problems (directly or indirectly), empowering them to promote the Foundation’s work directly via, and through the Foundation’s communication channels online and off.
  • Champion the voice of those with lived experience in the work of the Mental Health Foundation - utilising their voice in our communications using your experience of media communication to recognise the appropriate method to do this to best utilise the coverage and exposure of the story.
  • Ensure that there is a systematic process of acknowledging reactive submissions of people’s stories and offers of help, and that there is a uniform process of recording case studies details for future use.
Celebrity liaison
  • In liaison with the Fundraising team, identify, approach and recruit appropriate celebrity supporters, empowering them to promote the Foundation’s work directly and through the Foundation’s communication channels.
  • Keep celebrity supporters updated on the work of the Foundation and wider developments in mental health with a focus on encouraging ongoing involvement. 
  • Keep case studies updated on the work of the Foundation and wider developments in mental health.

General

  • Support the Head of Media and Communications in providing out-of-hours cover for media enquiries.
  • Deputise for the Head of Media and Communications on issues relating to the media in their absence.
  • Help recruit, manage and support interns and volunteers.
  • Understand and comply with data protection legislation, and the principles of confidentiality where appropriate.
  • Promote and support the achievement of the Foundation’s mission, goals and values.
  • Act as a positive ambassador for the Foundation in all opportunities.
  • Maintain a high standard of probity in professional, personnel and financial matters, maintaining good relations with colleagues and external partners and to act in accordance with the Foundation’s code of conduct.
  • Uphold and promote the Foundation’s commitment to equality and diversity and the value of lived experience.
  • Have due regard to safeguarding and health and safety issues.
  • Undertake any other duties as may reasonably be required. 

This job description is not contractual and is liable to change over time

Person specification

Essential

Skills and Abilities
  • Excellent written communication skills - including superb editing and proofing skills and the ability to prepare attractive and impactful copy for online and media audiences.
  • Ability to identify the most effective ways of communicating with specific audiences, and able to tailor communications so that key messages resonate.
  • Excellent verbal communications skills - including the ability to pitch stories successfully to the media and to act as a spokesperson when required.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills for the media, supporters, colleagues and wider members of the public displaying a personable, confident and efficient manner.
  • Excellent organisational skills with the ability to meet deadlines and prioritise work.
  • Team player with a flexible approach to work.
  • Familiarity of working with a variety of different media, including video, audio, graphics and photography.
  • An ability to come up with creative ways of telling stories.
  • Understanding of the importance of accuracy and balance when publicising research.
Experience
  • Experience of working in a communications environment, preferably in the third sector, providing copy, comment and spokespeople at short notice.
  • Experience of successfully, and consistently, placing proactive media stories in the national media.
  • Experience of managing organisational risks, taking proactive action when appropriate.  
  • Experience of working with and developing the trust and confidence of journalists and high-profile supporters.
  • Experience of working with potentially vulnerable people and supporting them to convey their stories via the media.
  • Experience of managing volunteers and interns (desirable)
Knowledge
  • An excellent knowledge of the UK media environment with the willingness to keep updated on current events in the media by various forms of print and broadcast media.
  • An excellent knowledge of how to secure both reactive and proactive media coverage.
  • An awareness of the importance and role of celebrities and case studies in promoting the work of third sector organisations and how they should be effectively supported.

Desirable

  • A good understanding of the mental health sector.
  • Experience of managing volunteers and interns.

Requirements of all roles at the Mental Health Foundation

  • Willingness to work flexibly to meet the reasonable needs of the Foundation.
  • Commitment to working in accordance with the Foundation’s values.
  • Prepared on occasions to work unsocial hours.
  • Prepared to travel within the UK and abroad, occasionally staying away from home overnight.
  • Self-sufficient in use of information and communications technology.
  • Ability to self-manage a full and varied workload.

Competencies for working at the Mental Health Foundation

We expect all employees to be able to use these competences to a high level in their roles. During the recruitment process, at interview stage, we look for evidence of all these competencies.

  • Expertise, knowledge and analysis.
  • Communication, influencing and promotion.
  • Relationships and partnership working.
  • Service focused.
  • Business aware.
  • Strategic thinking and decision making.
  • Leadership.
  • Adaptability and personal responsibility. Innovative and creative.
  • Committed to personal development.

Equal opportunities information

As an equal opportunities employer, we encourage applications from all sections of the community, whatever your background.

We value each and every person in our team and are very good at working with people. Our workforce is made up of talented individuals from all sections of the community and we are committed to providing a working environment that encourages, and is supportive of, workers with mental health problems. We therefore welcome applications from anyone with personal experience of mental distress or learning disabilities, and positively encourage people with experience of using mental health services to apply.

We believe the way in which we effectively work together will enable our charity to fulfil its mission.

This commitment to equality and diversity means that we benefit from the widest range of experience and talent, and are fully representative of the world in which we live. We aim to create a working environment in which everyone is treated in a non-discriminatory manner.

Recruitment agencies may be employed as appropriate. We ensure that all such agencies operate an equal opportunities policy comparable to that used by us.

Benefits of working for us

The Mental Health Foundation is a great place to work and offers generous benefits.

All our members of staff are entitled to the following benefits. Please note that some of the benefits are available after a qualifying probation period.

Pension

We consider it important to encourage people to save for their retirement and therefore we provide staff (after successful completion of a probation period) with a 10% pension contribution paid into an Age on Personal Pension. Contributions can be invested in a variety of funds according to your investment preference, or alternatively a default fund is available. Staff will also receive death in service life cover at four times salary.

Annual leave

Staff receive 25 days annual leave plus bank holidays.

Maternity/parental leave

Enhanced maternity/parenthood leave entitlements are in place, including extended maternity leave and benefits. Available after a qualifying period.

Flexible working/work life balance

The right to request flexible working is available to all employees. There are a number of different flexible working arrangements available throughout the organisation, which can be arranged by mutual consent.

Child Care Vouchers

This is a flexible way to meet the costs of your childcare. Part of your salary can be given up or ‘sacrificed’ in exchange for Childcare Vouchers. Within specified limits, these vouchers are non-taxable and exempt from National Insurance contributions and therefore present a saving for employees who receive them as part of their total employment package. The Childcare Vouchers received are then exchanged, in whole or part, for the approved and registered childcare services you use.

Sickness/absence

We are required to make statutory sickness payments (SSP) where staff qualify. We also have our own sick pay scheme, including full pay for a period subject to certain conditions.

Employee Assistance Service

At times staff members may face and need help with a variety of issues throughout their lives. As part of our commitment to staff members we provide a 24/7 independent and confidential counselling and information telephone service, free of charge. Support is available on a range of issues including legal, financial, emotional, health issues and work-related concerns.

Season ticket loan

Interest free loans are available to purchase season tickets for the journey between home and work.

Cycle to Work Scheme

The Cycle to Work scheme is a UK Government tax exemption initiative introduced in the Finance Act 1999 to promote healthier journeys to work and to reduce environmental pollution. It allows employers to loan cycles and cyclists' safety equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit.

Through the scheme, employees will be able to purchase a bike of a value of up to £1,111, repaid over 18 months through deductions from your gross monthly salary. The loan will be interest free and the benefit will be offered after successful completion of the probationary period.