Chief of Section (News & Media)


Chief of Section (News & Media)

The Chief of Section (News and Media) reports to the Head of Service/Spokesperson to the High Commissioner and directly supervises staff including all members of the News & Media Section, comprising Communications Officers and other support staff. The team drives news coverage and responds to media queries from around the world. He/she works closely with the Head of Content Production, and maintains for the Service productive working relationships with other units of DER involved in communications and fundraising. He/she is the functional manager for UNHCR's global network of public information professionals and has extensive contact with a wide variety of internal and external audiences ranging from media, public-at-large, diplomats, scholars as well as communications heads from other UN organizations in the context of disseminating information and gathering support for UNHCR¿s activities.

- UNHCR has an effective and credible global-level news-driven media operation that advances the organization's broader communications goals and messaging in a strategic manner.
- Relationships are actively maintained and expanded with media including global broadcasters, news agencies and newspapers, hybrid media organizations, and other influential regional and national news channels.
- UNHCR's leadership, authority and positioning relating to matters under its mandate is underpinned and -   enhanced through regular high quality, high impact news outputs.
- UNHCR has capacity to plan and launch major news-campaigns around issues and events, and is positioned   to react at short notice to developments in the public domain, including circumstances that can have a bearing on UNHCR's operations and reputation.
- Professional standards among UNHCR¿s global network of field communications (PI & External Relations) staff are nurtured and strengthened through close oversight of recruitment, training, leadership, strategic direction and development.

- Direct the work of the News and Media Section at Headquarters in engagement with global media and publics, positioning UNHCR, managing reputational risk, developing public advocacy messaging, and advancing the causes of refugee, internally displaced, and stateless populations under UNHCR's mandate.
- Serve as Deputy to the Head of Service (Communications and Public Information Service)/ Spokesperson for the High Commissioner, including representing the Service with internal and external audiences.
- Act as the principal functional manager for UNHCR's global network of public information officers, working closely with UNHCR's senior regional public information officers and senior country public information officers in particular. This includes regular coordination, facilitating or co-facilitating major regional workshops, making strategic recommendations to the Head of Service (CPIS) and Representatives on recruitment, overseeing functional clearance, skills testing, and other recruitment matters, emergency deployments, and training, providing instructions and guidance on news launches and messaging, and travelling as needed to develop strategic plans.
- Ensure close working relationships and planning between CPIS and other Services and Sections of DER involved in communications.
- Act as UNHCR spokesperson, and a principal liaison to the global news media.
- Direct the work of Senior Communications Officers in regard to media relations work including their day-to-day engagement with broadcasters, wire agencies, online and other media, ensuring queries are answered, doing interviews, and engaging strategically in online and social media conversations and discussions.
- Act as UNHCR's principal news editor, working to ensure strategic coverage of major operations and emergencies and policy matters, and ensuring close coordination and messaging coherency between members of the News and Media team and with members the Content Production team, including its heads of video, social media, photos, and editors.
- In conjunction with relevant divisions and offices, clear and oversee clearing of content destined for release to news media, including press releases, briefing notes and statements to ensure accuracy, consistency and messaging.
- Oversee the work of the News and Media Section in producing timely/topical briefing notes for the twice-weekly Geneva Palais briefings, including ensuring that notes are accurate, cleared, and wherever possible supported by relevant multi-media content and social media promotion.
- Lead in planning and executing global media events and campaigns, working closely with news-planning and editorial desks and staff of news organizations including international and major national broadcasters, newspapers, wire agencies, and hybrid media, and including on news-diary announcements, pitching, providing information, seeking feedback and agreeing embargo times.
- Promote brand positioning and adherence across UNHCR communications to the media.
- Work with the Head of Service (CPIS), Directors of Bureaus and Divisions, the Offices of the Assistant High Commissioners, the Office of the Deputy High Commissioner, the SET, the High Commissioner and staff of the Executive Office, to advise on media positioning and reaction.

- Ensure that news outputs are properly considered and strategically aligned with UNHCR's wider priorities and goals.
- Decide on tactics and approaches for news launches, events, media outreach, etc., with a view to maximizing impact and reach.
- Provide communications-related advice to Representatives, Bureau Directors, and the Executive Office as required.
- Decide on resources, staffing and recruitment matters in consultation with the Head of Service (CPIS).

- An advanced university degree in Communications, Public Information, International Relations or related fields.
- Minimum 20 years of progressively responsible experience, of which 10 years should be at the international level, in communications, journalism, news editing, including video/TV production, graphic design, photojournalism, print and production methods as well as electronic media.
- Solid grasp of social media and proven experience in social media engagement.
- Sound management skills and strong judgement.
- Excellent communication skills both written and oral.
- Demonstrated Spokesperson experience working at a senior level.
- Experience in preparing key messages, press statements and talking points on tight deadlines and delivering them to a targeted audience.
- Experience in developing and implementing global media campaigns.
- Must be highly organized with ability to prioritize assignments.
- Proven multi-tasking skills and the ability to think creatively and analytically.
- Strong grasp of international issues and media landscape.
- Developed understanding of UNHCR¿s work and mandate and its challenges assisting, protecting and advocating on behalf of refugees, IDPs and the stateless.
- Experience leading communications operations in a global context.
- Fluency in English.

- Experience of working with UNHCR or other parts of the UN in field operations, plus experience working at UN or UNHCR headquarters.
- Familiarity with UNHCR operations and protection norms, gained through direct experience or UNHCR learning programmes study.
- Experience in conducting or facilitating communications training.
- Experience working in sensitive political or human rights contexts.
- Working knowledge of another UN language would be an asset.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Geneva
  • Grade: D-1, Director
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication
  • Closing Date: 2016-10-27

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