Public Relations Specialist

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently seeking a Public Relations Specialist to join the Communications Department. This is a regular full-time exempt position and is eligible for benefits.


Reporting to the Director of Public Relations, the Public Relations Specialist is responsible for supporting and helping to advance WHOI’s public and media relations efforts with the goals of maintaining a positive image of the WHOI brand, increasing brand awareness and engagement, raising broad awareness of the importance of the ocean and ocean research, and supporting Institutional and departmental initiatives, as necessary. The Public Relations Specialist is a major contributor to WHOI’s earned media strategy and supports crisis communications, community relations, content development, and other related communications tasks as directed. The candidate will also have a strong knowledge of social media tactics and channels as they relate to the communications function.  


The internal working title for this position is Public Relations Specialist


Essential Functions


  • Foster and grow WHOI press and media operations including actively building and maintaining relationships with reporters and editors, researching, writing, and editing press releases, pitching stories, and developing talking points and media statements.
  • Respond to and coordinate media requests including identifying appropriate WHOI expert, spokesperson, or source of information, scheduling interviews, coordinating site visits and press events, and managing image and visual media requests.
  • Develop and implement new strategies for increasing the reach and impact of WHOI news releases and pitches across the different types of media outlets, including print, broadcast, digital, and social media. 
  • Manage and maintain media resources and material on website, including posting of news releases, media mentions, and media kits.
  • Perform ongoing reporting and analysis of media efforts including publicity clip monitoring, valuation, and reporting.
  • Manage and coordinate the Ocean Science Journalism Fellowship, a residential experience for professional science writers, producers, and editors working for print, broadcast, radio, and Internet media. 
  • Support crisis and institutional communications, reinforcing the mission and purpose of WHOI and protecting the brand of the over 90-year-old world class institution.
  • Support the Director of Public Relations in developing and implementing a public relations strategy and contribute to special projects larger communications efforts as directed.
  • Manage outside contractors and vendors as necessary.
  • The candidate must be within reasonable driving distance and able to come to the WHOI campus weekly, including as needed to manage media visits.



  • May be expected to assist other Advancement and Communications efforts as Institutional priorities mandate.
  • Willingness to work nights and weekends to support staff public engagement efforts or to respond to an Institutional crisis or media event.
  • Performs such other duties as the supervisor may deem necessary.

Education & Experience

  • Related college degree with 3-4 years with increasingly responsible, directly related experience or combined equivalent education/experience.
  • Must have demonstrated results in the following areas: excellent written and verbal communication skills, understanding of the local, regional, and national media landscape, and an established network of contacts in print and broadcast media.
  • Experience with producing and editing video and other imaging skills a plus.
  • Demonstrated ability to use independent judgement, show initiative, and proven ability to meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Knowledge of emerging public engagement tools and monitoring systems.
  • Strong analytic, technical, and computer skills required.
  • Organized with a strong attention to details, project management experience a plus.
  • Strong interpersonal skills essential along with demonstrated ability to work with a team.
  • Strong work ethic, highly responsive and dedicated to results; ability to work independently and take ownership of special projects.
  • Excellent research skills and resourceful approach.
  • Previous experience science public relations related to science or research a plus.

Special Requirements

Must be a US Citizen


WHOI has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy in effect, where you must register your full vaccination status [vaccination plus booster] in order to begin your employment. The registration process is confidential and entails submitting your official vaccination records, or requesting to engage in the interactive exemption process for either a medical or religious reason. Evidence of full vaccination or request for an exemption process can be sent to our confidential email of All questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccination mandate must be emailed to

Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs. 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.

Sea Duty

WHOI is a member of the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC). We are sensitive to the issues of dual career candidates and we will work with applicants to address them. Please visit HERC - for more information.


WHOI is committed to supporting a diverse and inclusive environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.  WHOI believes diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential components that support our academic excellence.   We strive for a diverse and inclusive workforce, and encourage women, minorities, veterans, and those with disabilities to apply. WHOI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.  Applicants that require accommodation in the job application process are encouraged to contact the EEO Officer at or at 508-289-2705 for assistance.



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