As a Media Relations Specialist within Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB), parent company of COUNTRY Financial, this role will be responsible for IFB media relations (print, radio, television and other electronic media), including the creation of news releases and media communication for the Association. In addition, responsible for developing and building working relationships with print, broadcast, Internet and social media outlets. While working with leaders and across divisions to support the public policy initiatives and positions of Illinois Farm Bureau and various issue management and communication functions of the IFB News & Communications Division.
- Develops and maintains relationships with external (local, state and national) print, broadcast, Internet and social media and serves as the first point of contact for external media inquiries. Monitors and tracks news coverage of food and agricultural issues.
- Creates and executes multi-media action plans to influence news coverage on behalf of the Association.
- Writes and distributes news releases, stories and commentaries that advance Farm Bureau positions for use in earned media.
- Arranges news conferences, interviews and feature story opportunities.
- Provides news releases, media advisories, op-ed pieces, columns, letters to the editor and other media relations materials to county Farm Bureaus as requested and in support of IFB’s priority issues. Advises county Farm Bureaus on local media relations.
- Conducts media skills training as requested.
- Manages budget for Issue Management department. Provides estimated expenditures according to finance department deadlines. Reviews monthly financial statements and trial balances for accuracy.
- Manages newsroom at IAA annual meeting. Works with administrative assistant to invite and register news media; determines room set-ups and meal service; arranges news conferences and media availability with IFB leaders.
- Assists the Director of Issues Management in working across divisions to coordinate communication activities to influence policy on Farm Bureau’s behalf.
- Collaborates with Director of Issues Management to identify materials to support CFB’s work on issues.
- Provides input on opportunities for media relations and A/V functions to support each other in furthering organizational priorities.
- Compiles and distributes the daily Leader Page. Records weekly a Best of Leader Page.
- Performs other related work as required or requested.
- Bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations or related discipline.
- Communications experience in an agriculture or farming or related business or organization.
- Fluency in issues that impact Illinois agriculture and proven ability to simplify them.
- Existing working relationships with members of mainstream news media.
- Fluency in current mass media communication trends and strong familiarity with social media.
- Typically requires:
- Bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of journalism or communications experience OR,
- Master’s degree and at least 3 years of journalism or communications experience OR at least 7 years of journalism or communications experience.
- Interest in public policy process or politics.
- Working knowledge of current issues in agriculture.
- Understanding of Farm Bureau system.
- Strong written, verbal and interpersonal communications skills.
- Strategic thinker, resourceful and persuasive enough to successfully pitch news story ideas to reporters and editors in all media.
- Ability to simultaneously work on multiple projects.
- Customer service focus.
- Ability to meet frequent, tight deadlines.
- Basic computer skills including word processing and database management.
- Able to comprehend, analyze and synthesize public policy issues and daily news events and determine their impact on Farm Bureau.
- Able to quickly recognize and take advantage of earned media opportunities in all mediums.
- Normal office environment.
- Minor physical demands (sitting at a desk, prolonged periods of time at a computer, speaking on the phone, walking around the building.)