Media Manager, MSF UK, London

Department: Communications, MSF UK

Hours: Full-time, 40 hours per week

Reports to: Head of Communications

Responsible for: Press Officers, Press Intern

Location: London

Duration: permanent contract

Salary: £40,265


The Communications department’s purpose is to raise the profile of the organisation and its concerns amongst British and international audiences via increasingly diverse media to support MSF’s advocacy, recruitment and fundraising activities.

The media has long been essential to MSF’s advocacy and fundraising, so our policy is one of openness and cooperation with the press. Increasingly we also communicate directly with the public through digital and public engagement activities. New technology involving web, audio-visual and other multimedia are central to our strategic vision. Communications staff are highly valued within the organisation and are expected to contribute actively to strategic and communication decisions.

The UK is a hub for communications internationally and MSF UK is expected to play a significant role in supporting communications ambitions for the whole of MSF.


The Media Manager will also work very closely with other positions across the organisation that have direct media contact, including the Features and Documentaries Coordinator.


To lead the press office team, liaising with other teams within Communications and departments in support of MSF UK’s work including fundraising and advocacy.

In close collaboration with the Head of Communications, to lead development and implementation of media strategies to raise awareness of the work and concerns of MSF with target national and international audiences.

To develop and maintain effective and sustainable/workable out-of-hours 24/7 ‘on call’ rota and media monitoring.

To manage the diary for the communications department and liaise closely with other departments to ensure the media strategy is supportive of other areas of MSF UK’s work including fundraising and advocacy.

This role is likely to include opportunities for travel and overseas work, often for extended periods and sometimes at very short notice.


Planning and Organising

  • In close collaboration with the Head of Communications, leads, plans and implements MSF UK’s media, including media relations, strategy and policies.
  • In collaboration with the Head of Communications and other members of the UK press team, leads the development of a media plan to maximise positive coverage of MSF’s work and values, and related humanitarian and medical issues. Then takes responsibility for delivering this plan.
  • Ensures the prompt handling of all UK-based media enquiries, including managing a 24/7 on-call service for media.
  • In close collaboration with international colleagues ensures optimal global media work including formulating cohesive messages and strategies and managing communications resources.
  • Support the development and refining of MSF’s global communications strategy.
  • Where appropriate, travels to project sites overseas to assist field teams with the development of communications strategies and delivery.

Analysis and initiative

  • Develops and ensures maintenance of effective press office systems and structures, ensuring:
    • daily media monitoring activity (of MSF’s media coverage in the UK, and also of wider media interests and reporting);
    • preparation and dissemination of weekly media planning information, both for the UK press office and for the wider MSF network;
    • recording of updated press contacts lists and any other press office systems and structures.
  • Uses initiative and judgement to identify potentially problematic communications issues and brings them to the prompt attention of the Head of Communications and, if required, other relevant senior staff.
  • Participates in MSF UK critical incidence response team in the absence of the Head of Communications, or as assigned.
  • Leads on the media management around MSF’s emergency response.
  • Oversees the briefing and debriefing of field staff by the communications teams to give basic media guidance and maximise the generation of media coverage from the field.
  • Ensures facilitation of interviews with spokespeople from the UK or the field, and gathering of operational information from the field/operational centres to fulfil media enquiries.
  • Sources appropriate content from within MSF through building relationships and planning/carrying out field visits in order to generate media opportunities and support journalists who wish to cover our work.
  • Coordinates dissemination of resulting materials within the movement for use internally or externally.


  • Maintains and pro-actively develops journalist contacts with UK (national, regional and local) and international media, including identifying opportunities to build new relationships with key journalist contacts based in the UK in order to secure regular coverage of MSF’s work and related issues, particularly through the placement of personal testimonies from MSF field staff.
  • Regularly represents MSF to journalists and other external contacts, including senior representatives of the media regarding complex and/or sensitive subjects.
  • Drafts and/or edits, and externally disseminates, relevant press releases and briefing papers for the UK and London-based international press.
  • Provides support and consultancy services on communications issues to the international MSF movement and disseminates relevant media coverage/information within the movement.
  • Attends regularly scheduled meetings to share information, brainstorm solutions and coordinate priorities, with the communications team and the UK office.
  • Works very closely with other members of the communications team and the other departments in the office such as fundraising, HR, programmes and the Manson Unit
  • Maintains regular contact with other media and communications hubs around the world ensuring coordination of media management with international correspondents.


  • Develops budget for press office team for review by Head of Communications, and monitors and implements approved budget.
  • Assists the Head of Communications with quarterly departmental reporting by submitting reports on media activities and coverage.
  • Evaluates, hires and manages freelancers and/or vendors.

Developing Others

  • Leads the press office, currently composed of two press officers and a full-time intern, including their recruitment, coaching, regular performance appraisals and development support.
  • Provides professional guidance and support to the press officer in the Dublin office.
  • Delegates tasks, consults with and guides staff to achieve goals.
  • Directs and coordinates media training of MSF UK spokespeople as required.
  • Offers senior communications and media management advice or support in field/other MSF offices, as required.


  • Develops and participates in an out-of-hours 24/7 ‘on-call’ rota and media monitoring, as well as covering for other press office team members during holidays or when one member of the team is away on international assignments.
  • Maintains commitment to the aims and values of MSF through proactive involvement in and attendance at ongoing MSF UK activities and wider movement and operational activities.

This job description is not intended to be all-inclusive. Employee may perform other related duties to meet the ongoing needs of the organisation. This job description does not form part of the contract of employment.

PERSON SPECIFICATION (qualifications, experience and skills required):


  • Demonstrable senior experience in press office work, including substantial understanding of, and contacts in, UK media
  • Good knowledge of world affairs and a demonstrable understanding of and commitment to humanitarian issues
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills, with an accessible, friendly telephone manner and a proven ability to adapt style to suit a wide range of audiences
  • Strong organisational skills with experience of managing multiple tasks and ability to prioritise ongoing vs immediate needs appropriately
  • Fluent spoken and written English
  • Computer literate, including experience with media database
  • Proficient use of social media for professional communications purposes
  • Flexible, can-do attitude and good team player – this role involves working very closely and collaboratively with colleagues in the UK and overseas
  • Ability to cope with stress, retain good humour and make sound ethical and personal judgements in order to deal with ambiguities and conflict. Diplomatic approach.
  • Line management experience


  • Willingness and availability to travel to and work in programme locations internationally, often at short notice
  • Understanding of online media tools
  • MSF communications experience  
  • Knowledge of French, Spanish or Arabic language
  • Previous work experience overseas including in resource poor environment


For an informal discussion about the role, you can contact the Head of Communications, Polly Markandya, by email at:

Thank you for your interest in the role of Media Manager at Médecins Sans Frontières UK. As part of the application process we would like you to answer the questions below. Please note that there are not necessarily ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, but we are interested in your ideas, experience and approach. Brevity is encouraged! Certainly do not exceed the word count.

  1. What are your thoughts on MSF’s current media coverage/portrayal and how would you improve it? (max 250 words)
  2. Media work is more relentless than ever. How would you manage your press team to provide 24/7 availability for media work without burning out yourself or your team, given that you don’t have limitless resources. (max 250 words)
  3. How do you think MSF UK should position itself in relation to the UK government on migration and refugee issues (which we are heavily involved with operationally), especially in the lead up to the EU referendum. (max 400 words)
  4. What makes a good OpEd? (max 200 words)
  5. Are there media outlets you think MSF should NOT cooperate with? Give reasons for your answer. (max 300 words)


Interviews: Thursday, 14 April 2016 and Friday, 15 April 2016

Closing Date for Applications: Monday, 4 April 2016 11:59pm

Start date: ASAP


Candidates must hold an appropriate passport or permit to work in the UK (or Ireland, as relevant). Further information about eligibility to work in the UK can be found on our website here: to work in the UK.

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Please make sure to apply before the following deadline: 04/04/2016.

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