Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs
American Institutes for Research (AIR)


The American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a leader in behavioral and social science research and evidence-based technical assistance. A nonprofit established in 1946, AIR applies science to real-world issues on behalf of federal and state agencies, international development agencies, foundations, school districts, private businesses, and other clients. We are currently seeking a Director of Media Relations. This position reports to the VP of Communications and will be based in our main offices in Washington, D.C. near the Georgetown Harbor.

The Director of Media Relations develops and implements strategic public affairs and media relations activities based on AIR’s research, evaluation, assessment, and capacity-building work. The Director manages AIR’s relationships with the media and informs stakeholder relationships including current and potential clients and funders, policy makers and administrators, fellow social science researchers and practitioners, and current and prospective staff. 


• Develops strategic goals for public affairs in promoting AIR work and staff, boosting reputation and visibility, and supporting the mission of AIR.
• Reviews AIR work for promotion opportunities and determines media dissemination plans, creating media lists and coordinating with internal and external partners.
• Writes and reviews news releases, advisories and other external messaging, such as op-eds and commentaries.
• Develops and maintains relationships with key media contacts in national and local news organizations, journals, blogs, and other outlets. 
• Assesses and responds to potential risks or negative exposure for the organization, including crisis communications.
• Identifies potential presentations and speaking engagements for AIR staff and, as needed, helps draft speeches, testimonies and presentations.
• Pitches news stories to media, responds to media inquiries, and connects media to AIR experts.
• Coaches AIR senior leadership and staff on how to most effectively represent and serve AIR’s mission and work when talking to the media and in public forums.
• Monitors the reach and effectiveness of external communication channels; tracks media citations using Cision/Vocus, Google alerts, and other tools; and develops reporting for senior leadership.
• Works closely with the Communications team to identify ideas for videos, infographics, events and digital (web and social media) campaigns and projects.


• A Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, Communications, Public Relations, or a related field required. An advanced degree in a related field strongly preferred.
• A minimum of 10 years’ experience in journalism, public affairs, or media relations with experience working as a Journalist.
• Superior oral and written communication skills, including strong editing skills. 
• Experience as a spokesperson of an organization. 
• Familiarity with Vocus/Cision or news media databases.
• A working knowledge of content management systems and optimizing media resources for digital platforms. 
• Broad knowledge of research and policy topics, including education, health, and international affairs is preferred. 
• Experience communicating about research strongly preferred. 
• The ideal candidate is collaborative and diplomatic, comfortable working under pressure and tight deadlines with staff and external contacts from all organizational levels. 

AIR is an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to excellence through diversity. Minorities, women, individuals with disabilities and veterans are encouraged to apply. AIR offers an excellent compensation and benefits package, including a fully funded retirement plan, generous paid time off, commuter benefits, and tuition assistance. For more information, please visit our website at To apply, please go to  Candidates must apply online for consideration.  EOE.

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