Global wildlife conservation charity, ZSL (Zoological Society of London) is looking for a new senior press officer to join its busy in-house media team to lead on media outreach for the Science, Conservation and Policy work of the world-renowned Society.

ZSL runs both ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos, and carries out ground-breaking research for wildlife in the Institute of Zoology and puts this research into action in conservation projects around the world. This global work is impossible without support from international conservation partners, collaborators and of course, donors.

The senior press officer will report into ZSL’s Media Manager, and work with the wider communications, science and conservation and policy teams at the Society, to deliver positive, inspiring and impactful news coverage to raise the profile of ZSL to key audiences.

In line with ZSL’s dynamic new strategy, ZSL 200, the individual in this role will seek to raise the awareness of the conservation and science work through sustained media coverage of ZSL and help ZSL to influence policy-makers through targeted news reports.

Working closely with ZSL’s Director of Science, Director of Conservation and Policy, and ZSL’s Head of Policy, this individual will seek out news stories from across the charity, to ensure ZSL maintains a high public profile, and its work to influence policy is recognised and understood by all stakeholders.

The press officer must be a self-starter with a sharp nose for news, a keen eye for detail, able to respond quickly to reactive opportunities and have a thorough understanding of the needs and workings of national, local and online media.

The ideal candidate will have an interest in conservation, a thorough understanding of the scientific peer-preview process, and experience in producing science-based communication.

A full-time position based primarily at ZSL London Zoo, in Regent’s Park, the role will may require occasional travel to ZSL’s field conservation sites, sister-site ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire, and occasional evening and weekend work.

Role Profile

Reporting into the ZSL Media Manager and working within the ZSL (Zoological Society of London) PR and publishing team, this post will play a key role in formulating and implementing an ongoing programme of media activity for ZSL, specifically targeting UK national mass media. 

In line with ZSL’s dynamic new strategy, ZSL 200, the individual in this role will seek to raise the awareness of the conservation and science work through sustained media coverage of ZSL and generate news reports on ZSL’s wider efforts to influence policy makers. 

Working closely with ZSL’s Director of Science, Director of Conservation and Policy, and ZSL’s Head of Policy, this individual will seek out news stories from across the charity, to ensure ZSL maintains a high public profile, and its work to influence policy is supported by media outreach, and recognised and understood by all stakeholders.

This senior press officer will support the ZSL Brand Manager in the marketing department to ensure the annual media strategy and objectives for ZSL’s science, conservation and policy are aligned with and support the ZSL brand marketing plans.

This role will work closely with the ZSL Specialist Media Press Officer who is responsible for generating media coverage in international media and across specialist targeted media including leading science publications and journals, trade publications and blogs.

They will work with the specialist media officer to identify opportunities to publicise ZSL science, conservation and policy related content to targeted international and specialist media titles – not only on key stories being released to UK media but also on niche content that may have a regional or specialist interest bias, globally.   

In addition to establishing a clear programme for media coverage they will develop a process for generating a consistent supply of hard-hitting news releases. They must be a resourceful self-starter, ideally with a thorough understanding of both the needs and workings of national and international media and political awareness.

A keen eye for potential news stories is a must and the ideal candidate will have a thorough understanding of scientific peer-review processes and had first-hand experience of working as a journalist themselves.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • To develop and implement a media plan for ZSL’s conservation and policy, and science work including an overarching annual schedule of activity.
  • To create programme of hard-hitting news stories for ZSL’s science and conservation and policy work specifically aimed at UK mass media covering all target demographics as defined by ZSL Media Manager and ZSL Brand Manager.
  • To supervise the Specialist Media Press Officer’s outputs when they are working on projects that fall with the science, conservation and policy remit.
  • To establish an effective process of identifying and creating media opportunities to raise the profile of our conservation and policy, and science work.
  • To act as an advocate within ZSL to ensure that the science and conservation and policy departments are represented across ZSL, and that they also understand and support the goals of other departments.
  • To ensure any negative coverage is swiftly and effectively responded to.
  • To develop relationships with broadcast production companies and develop a strategy for TV coverage for lifestyle and documentary programmes and channels for ZSL’s conservation and science work.
  • To support the media manager, colleagues in the media team and marketing managers with their respective goals
  • To work with ZSL’s Head of Science Resources and Meetings to enhance the impact of ZSL science via media channels, particularly where the science is aligned to ZSL’s strategic priorities.
  • To work with ZSL’s Head of Policy to ensure ZSL’s work to influence policy is covered in the media where appropriate.
  • Create a system for tracking ZSL’s Policy work, to ensure that the ZSL press team is equipped at all time with up to date information and responses for media queries.

Person Specification

The successful candidate will ideally: 

  • Be educated to degree level or equivalent. A demonstrable understanding of the peer review process for scientific research, and an understanding of science-based communication is essential.
  • Have an interest in conservation and will be able to demonstrate understanding of communicating policy and using media outreach to affect policy-change 
  • Have a strong track record in producing a programme of high impact media releases. It would ideally require experience of working as a journalist or similar in a busy news environment. Experience of communicating scientific information is extremely important.
  • Be able to demonstrate their ability to spot and shape a potential story but most importantly have the discipline and organisational skills to deliver work to agreed deadlines.
  • Be able to secure the confidence and trust of the full ZSL staff and demonstrates they are working collaboratively, operating a flexible but focused approach.
  • Have exceptional written and verbal communication skills are essential.
  • Have the ability to work with non-media focused departments across ZSL, and with external partners is crucial, motivating them to support the broader communication goals and understand the wider work of the ZSL press office.
  • Proven experience of be instrumental in shaping the a communication strategy and by so doing mould the external perception of the organisation. Considerable judgement is required in the recommendation of these strategies.
  • Have extensive understanding of the risks involved, and all activity needs to be mindful to safeguard ZSL’s reputation and position of authority in its subject.
  • Have demonstrable experience in not only developing strategies that meet ZSL’s communications objective but also identifying potential risks and threats, and mitigations.
  • Be experienced in the management of internal and external contacts
  • Hold a full driving licence (desirable).

Please note:  Flexibility is essential to this post. This is involved at a strategic level; where plans may need to be revised as event or opportunities arise. A duty phone rota is in operation within the Press Office to cover weekend press enquiries. This involves being on call on a work mobile phone one in every four or five weekends.

Benefit Package:

This role offers a competitive salary plus a comprehensive benefits package including 25 days holiday, stakeholder pension where the employer minimum contribution is 7%, complimentary zoo tickets and more.

To Apply

To proceed with your application please click the "Apply Online" button below

Closing date for applications: Midnight (23:59) Sunday 2nd December 2018

The Zoological Society of London is a charity registered in England and Wales: no. 208728.

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