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Chief of News and Media Section


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Country: Switzerland
Organization: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Closing date: 7 Dec 2020

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

The Chief of News and Media Section reports to the Head of Service and directly supervises staff in the Section. S/he works closely with the Chief of Crisis Communications, Chief of Multimedia Content Section and the Chief of Social Media Section. S/he is the lead focal point at headquarters for UNHCR's global network of communications professionals and has extensive contact with a wide variety of internal and external audiences ranging from media personnel, public-at-large, diplomats, scholars as well as well as staff from other UN organizations in the context of disseminating information and gathering support for UNHCR¿s activities.

All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR¿s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.


  • Ensure UNHCR has an effective and credible global-level news-driven communications operation that advances the organization's broader communications goals and messaging in a strategic manner.
  • Maintain media relationships and engagement for UNHCR with global broadcasters, digital news agencies and newspapers, hybrid media organizations, and other influential regional and national external news channels.
  • Reinforce UNHCR's leadership, authority and positioning relating to matters under its mandate and enhance through regular high quality, high impact news outputs.
  • Ensure UNHCR has capacity to plan and launch major news-campaigns and event, and to react at short notice to developments in the public domain that relate to people of concern, including developments that can have a bearing on UNHCR's operations and reputation.
  • Act as UNHCR spokesperson and a prime liaison to the global news media.
  • Lead 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, digital papers, wire agencies, and hybrid media, and including on news-diary announcements, pitching, providing information, seeking feedback and agreeing embargo times etc.
  • Lead media relations work and other direct day-to-day engagement with broadcast, 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 prime news editor, working to ensure strategically 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 Multimedia Content team, including its heads of video, photos, editors, and the Social Media Team.
  • Clear content destined for release to news media, including press releases, briefing notes, statements to ensure accuracy, consistency and messaging in conjunction with relevant divisions and offices.
  • Ensure the production of 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.
  • Act as the key focal point at headquarters for UNHCR's global network of communications and public information officers, working closely with UNHCR's Regional Bureau External Engagement Pillars, senior regional public information officers and senior country public information officers in particular, doing regular coordination, facilitating or co-facilitating major regional workshops, making recommendations to the Head of Service, Bureau Directors, and Representatives on recruitment, emergency deployments, and training, providing instructions and guidance on news launches and messaging, and travelling as needed on mission to ensure as needed to develop news/PI strategic plans.
  • Work with other Units in DER regularly and as needed on communications-related matters including the communications work done by UNHCR's Private Sector Fundraising Service, Donor Relations and Resource Mobilization Service, and the Branding work led by the Corporate Communications Unit, and on reputational and other issues.
  • 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, news-handling etc, with a view to maximizing desired impact.
  • Deputise for the Head of Service when needed, and provide communications-related advice to Representatives, Bureau Directors, the Executive Office as required.
  • Decide on resources and staffing matters in consultation with the Head of Service.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Years of Experience / Degree Level
For P5 - 12 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 11 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 10 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education
Communication; Journalism; Public Information;
International Relations; Public Relations; Political Science or other relevant field.
(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Certificates and/or Licenses
Not specified.
(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Relevant Job Experience
Minimum 12 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 experience and strong judgement. Experience in preparing key messages, speeches, 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.

Not specified.

Functional Skills
CO-Public Information
CO-Publication skills
CO-Experience reporting, writing, editing for magazines, newspapers and websites
CO-Strategic Communication
CO-Spokesperson skills
CO-Public Speaking
CO-Media relations
(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Language Requirements
For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.

How to apply:

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

Interested candidates are requested to apply on the UNHCR career page at www.unhcr.org/careers by clicking on the 'Vacancies' tab and entering job ID 23298.

Closing date: 7 December 2020 (midnight Geneva time).

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