ID# 001925

Public Affairs Specialist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
60 Garden St Observatory Building E
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
(Mobile Phone)
Ad Type


The Public Affairs Specialist is responsible for managing the public engagement and reputation of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory with particular emphasis on media relations and external communication. This includes crafting and executing media strategies to win high-profile favorable coverage of SAO projects and personnel, writing and editing news and informational material about SAO science, coordinating all interview and filming requests, training scientists and engineers for media engagement, and proactively developing and leveraging relationships with key media stakeholders.

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is one part of a close collaboration with Harvard, collectively called the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Develops, manages and measures the success of media plans, press releases, and press conferences for all SAO science, working with scientists and partner organizations as necessary. They will maintain and develop relationships with top-tier media outlets and proactively seek out new media partnership opportunities.

Manages and coordinate all media and public affairs requests, including interviews and filming inquiries. Develops and executes reactive crisis communication plans and serves as spokesperson for SAO, including serving as public face for SAO at relevant events.

Works with scientists, engineers, designers, animators, videographers and image specialists to research and develop comprehensive written content packages as well as visual content. Packages must be scientifically accurate but tailored for key media and public audiences to be used on web pages, in social media, and the like. Serves as the final-edit for all public-facing written material.

Manages the public face of SAO and its partnership with Harvard, ensuring that our name and brand is represented consistently and correctly across all media, tracking and reviewing all media coverage to identify opportunities for enhancement, and ensuring that all media mentions are scientifically accurate.

Basic Qualifications:

1. Media relations experience

2. Ability to develop, execute and measure communications plans

3. Knowledge of astrophysics or related field

4. Skill in science writing

5. Skill in conceptualizing and directing photorealistic science illustrations, visual and video assets and multimedia

For the complete job announcement and qualification requirements, visit USAJOBS at:

About this Advertiser

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is part of what is arguably the largest and most diverse astrophysical institution in the world, where the combined staff now numbering more than 300 scientists carries out a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, and earth and space sciences.

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