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Job Posting: DWN Communications Director

July 12, 2012

Communications Director

Detention Watch Network

Deadline August 1st 2012

The Detention Watch Network (DWN) is anational member-led coalition that works locally and in national collaboration to educate the public, media and policy makers about the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and to advocate for humane reform. Working with DWN is a unique opportunity to interact with, and support the work of, immigrant rights advocates as we build our collective power and vision for reform.

Position Summary

The Communications Director is responsible for coordinating a core strategy of DWN – shaping the public discourse on immigration detention and deportation issues through education and media outreach.  The Director will: develop and manage a strategic communications plan for the Network and for specific campaigns that includes input from coalition members; oversee message development and dissemination, training and capacity building of member organizations; and develop and manage DWN media relations and communications. This is a full-time position based in Washington DC.

Specific responsibilities include:

Network Infrastructure:

  • In consultation with staff, members and consultants, develop and manage a strategic communications plan.
  • Draft press releases, sample Op-Eds, and letters-to-the-editor.
  • Write, edit and oversee the design of print materials such as newsletters and brochures.
  • Advance press events, develop relationships with reporters, and occasionally serve as a public spokesperson.
  • Manage use of online communication channels through the DWN website, blog, and various social media outlets.

Member Media Capacity and Skills

  • Develop strategies to engage member organizations in a coordinated communications plan.
  • Provide training and technical assistance in the area of communications and messaging.
  • Identify and implement opportunities for members to engage in media work to advance the Network’s collective goals.
  • Facilitate rapid response efforts for breaking news stories.

Message development

  • Help develop core messages and ensure consistent messaging throughout all DWN materials and communications including campaign materials.
  • Identify news hooks for expanding DWN’s communications work particularly in the context of selecting media event dates, coalition actions, and proactively placing media hits.
  • Create and refine talking points and templates for media outreach to be used by members and staff.



Ÿ  At least 3 years of in-house communications and/or public relations experience.

Ÿ  Previous work in coalitions and/or on winning campaigns; commitment to coalition work and consensus-based decision making.

Ÿ  A degree in journalism, communications or a related field preferred.

Ÿ  Documented skill and successful experience writing and editing publications, newsletters, and related communication materials for a wide range of audiences.


Ÿ  Familiarity with social justice issues, particularly related to human rights, immigrant rights, racial justice and/or criminal justice.

Skills and abilities

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Creativity in developing story lines; ability to translate complex policies into easily understood messages that reach a wide audience.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Proficiency in English, and the ability to work effectively and collaboratively with diverse populations. Proficiency in Spanish a plus.
  • Management skills including facilitation of groups, volunteer management, and program coordination.
  • Commitment to working in a social justice field.
  • A collaborative work style and a self-directed spirit.
  • Experience with advocacy and policy issues a strong plus.

DWN offers competitive salaries, excellent benefits and a collaborative work environment with colleagues who are dedicated to social justice reform.

Please submit a resume, cover letter and writing sample to Andrea Black, Detention Watch Network, via email:

Detention Watch Network, a project of Tides Center, is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage and seek applications from women, people of color, including bilingual and bicultural individuals, as well as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Applicants shall not be discriminated against because of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, medical condition (cancer-related) or conditions Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and AIDS-related conditions (ARC). Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.

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