Operational Communications & Media Manager - Sydney

Location: Sydney (Broadway)
Reporting to:  Head of Communications
Travel: Domestic and international
Supervising: Medical Communications Officer, Media Coordinator
Status: Permanent / Full time
Closing date:  Friday January 30th

Overall Responsibility

The Operational Communications & Media Manager is responsible for management of MSF Australia’s operational/medical communications and media strategy development and implementation, in addition to the management of a team whose specific responsibility is generating knowledge of medico-operational activities and the medical and humanitarian action of the MSF movement in the media, the general public, institutions and key target audiences in Australian and New Zealand society.

Through direct supervision and oversight of the operational communications strategy in conjunction with media relations activities in Australia and abroad, the role will improve visibility and understanding of the medical-humanitarian priorities that MSF Australia is engaged in direct support to operations, and the crisis situations in which MSF is involved in internationally. The operational communications portfolio also covers the communications objectives surrounding the specific medical issues of paediatrics and women’s health affecting MSF operations in the field. This includes the definition of key messages and developing an implementation plan and ensuring activities respond to communications and advocacy objectives of the operations and medical department.

Main Tasks and Duties

Operational communications

  • Manage the development and implementation of the MSF Australia Operational Communications Strategy including regional emergency response communications, support to and implementation of the OCA PNG communications plan or other regional operational communications priorities as identified
  • Travel to the field and work in international media liaison or emergency communications officer roles as required by any MSF operational centre or as coordinated by the International Office
  • Develop, or commission the production of communication materials (written and multimedia) as required by any MSF operational centre and the international organisation
  • Maintain emergency response communications capacity for humanitarian crises that occur in the Asia Pacific region
  • Support the coordination and facilitation of field trips for Sydney Communications team members and staff from other departments when required
  • Investigate opportunities with all operational centres to develop mutually-beneficial communications projects based on operational and medical objectives
  • Build network and maintain relationships within MSF movement and operational centres as for operational and medical communications purposes

Media Management

Provide direction and support to the Media Coordinator in order to:

  • Establish and maintain direct lines of communication with the Australian and New Zealand media to increase coverage of MSF operations and messaging
  • Prepare, brief and debrief MSF Australia spokespeople for media interviews
  • Manage the MSF brief with the media monitoring provider
  • Coordinate the development of media field projects that support MSF Australia’s positioning, visibility and advocacy objectives
  • Manage the reactive and proactive facilitation of media visits to field projects
  • Manage the implementation of regular media training for all MSF Australia spokespeople
  • Manage the relationship with MSF Australia’s paid freelance journalists
  • Manage media for MSF Australia in support of the Crisis Management Cell (CMC) and act as backup for crisis communications coordination in support of the Head of Communications and the CMC

Medical communications

Provide direction and support to the medical communication officer in order to:

  • Manage the implementation of MSF Australia’s medical communications strategy together with the communications department and the Medical Unit
  • Ensure the definition of key public messages on a range of issues, including strategies reducing child mortality, and MSF’s approach to reduce maternal mortality
  • Manage MSF Australia’s contribution to the development of MSF international medical comms dossiers with other OCs
  • Ensure visibility to issues of maternal and child health for OCP (including internal publications ), and where relevant, the international movement
  • Coordinate regular meetings and team availability for medical communications purposes with the Head of the Medical Unit
  • Manage the production of high quality communications materials on relevant and identified medical issues, and coordinate related field trips
  • Produce communications materials and assist with messaging in support of the Medical Unit’s presence at external events when necessary
  • Maintain relationships with international operational working groups such as the Paediatric, and Sexual and Reproductive Health working groups

External Communications

Contribute to the production of communications materials for MSF Australia website and the international network following field trips to projects

Internal Communications

  • Share operational information and liaise with other departments ensuring that an adequate level of information is circulated to each audience
  • Make presentations to the Sydney office following field trips and emergency communications assignments
  • Ensure the maintenance of a database of MSF operational/field worker information
  • Share responsibility of briefing and debriefing field workers and identify potential candidates for internal and external communications activities


  • Manage the media relations and operational/medical communications budgets
  • Provide quarterly reviews of budget requirements to the Head of Communications

Staff Management

  • Effectively line manage the Media Coordinator  and the Medical Communications Officer ensuring that staff carry out their tasks and duties in line with their role requirements
  • Ensure that staff receive appropriate development and training to enable them to perform in their roles including the implementation of personnel evaluations and adequate provision for staff for personal development and training as relevant
  •  Review and monitor performance on a regular basis and provide input into the performance management and development program
  • Ensure effective, timely and open communication within and across departments
  • This role occasionally takes department management responsibilities including Management Team duties and closely collaborating with the Head on strategy directly affecting the role of communications in the OCP partnership


  • Reporting to the Head of Communications
  • Coordination and collaboration with the Management Team when required
  • Management of the Media Coordinator and the Medical Communications Officer
  • Strong collaboration with the National Communications Manager in relation to consistent positioning and dissemination strategies of operational/medical content
  • Coordination with the Head of the Medical Unit
  • Collaboration with the Manager of the Medical Unit
  • Collaboration with the Medical Unit Sydney medical advisors for women’s health and paediatrics
  • Coordination with the Communications Departments in OCP and other OCs where relevant
  • Coordination with MSF Japan  and MSF Hong Kong for communications on regional emergencies
  • Collaboration with the Medical Communications Officer in Paris
  • Coordination with the Heads of the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Paediatric Working Groups
  • Collaboration with the International Communications Coordinator in the International Office  (Geneva)

Selection criteria


  • Strong personnel management skills
  • Very high level of communication skills (written and spoken English)
  • Written and oral French language skills
  • Good level of understanding of the internal relationships of MSF
  • High level of media management skills
  • Commitment to aims and principles of MSF
  • Strong understanding of current medical-humanitarian issues and knowledge of MSF communications
  • Experience working in an operational or field communications role with MSF (including knowledge of Operational Centre Paris)
  • Significant experience in a communications department of a non-profit or public sector organisation including management experience
  • Capacity and willingness to work out-of-hours and weekends at short-notice
  • Experience or capacity to manage media and crisis communications (including critical incidents)


  • Relevant tertiary qualification
  • Experience in journalism, communications or public relations


Applications and enquiries to office.recruitment(at)sydney.msf.org by Friday January 30th.