Senior Communications Associate

Location: New York, NY

Department: Communications

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Experienced

The Vera Institute of Justice is a justice reform change agent. Vera produces ideas, analysis, and research that inspire change in the systems people rely upon for safety and justice, and works in close partnership with government and civic leaders to implement it. Vera is a truly unique institution in the justice reform field in that it promotes fairness across a variety of substantive areas – bail reform, adult and youth confinement, access to justice for immigrants, services of victims of violence – and because it does so by working closely with national, state, and local leaders as a trusted partner. Vera is currently pursuing core priorities of ending the misuse of jails, transforming conditions of confinement, and ensuring that justice systems more effectively serve America’s increasingly diverse communities. For more information about Vera visit or visit our Facebook or Twitter.

The Communications Department plays a key strategic role at Vera in advancing its mission to stakeholders, policymakers, and the general public. It is responsible for all of the Institute’s external public affairs and communication efforts, including media relations, social media, producing publications and videos, and communicating the Institute’s work via its website, marketing, and email alerts. The Communications staff also works closely with the Development Department and key staff to plan events and coordinate internal communications. The Communications Department fields hundreds of media calls a year and has a strong track record of placing op-eds and securing editorial mentions. The Department also recently won a Webby Award for Vera’s newly redesigned website and brand, and a Telly Award for an animated explainer video about “reimagining prison.”

Vera seeks a Senior Communications Associate, Media Relations to join its busy Communications Department. This position is ideal for well-informed and socially committed candidates who have expertise in media strategy; a keen sense for news; an ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment; excellent writing skills; and are eager to make a contribution as part of a dynamic team.



The Senior Communications Associate will be responsible for managing daily media relations and developing and implementing long-term media relations plans to achieve strategic communications goals and advance the Institute’s mission, with a particular focus on targeting new audiences. The position requires op-ed and other writing and editing. The Senior Communications Associate will work closely with the Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, other Communications Department staff, and staff across the organization.

Core responsibilities include:

  • Managing the institute’s media relations, including:
    • fielding and vetting all media inquiries;
    • coordinating and preparing staff for interviews, including developing talking points;
    • pitching stories to local and national outlets
    • drafting and placing stories and op-eds for Vera’s leadership, including its president;
    • drafting and editing press releases, media advisories, blog posts, and other public-facing materials to ensure adherence to the institute’s voice and priorities; and
    • building and maintaining the media contact database.
  • In close collaboration with the Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, developing and implementing strategic plans for report releases, events, responses to news events, and public engagement campaigns in order to maximize impact and further the Institute’s strategic priorities;
  • Compiling and analyzing media analytics to demonstrate growth and inform future changes in approach;
  • Contributing to other departmental efforts as necessary.



Vera seeks a candidate with the following qualities and skills:

  • College degree; graduate degree preferred;
  • 3-5 years’ experience with media/public relations and communications campaigns, preferably in a government or nonprofit setting;
  • Ability to cultivate and build relationships with reporters, existing contacts with local and national media preferred;
  • Excellent writing and editing ability, especially in distilling complex issues and academic writing in a clear and concise way;
  • Social media savvy;
  • Strong organizational skills, ability to juggle and prioritize a variety of tasks, and attention to detail;
  • Experienced with PCs, Microsoft Office programs, and database management;
  • Interest in and knowledge of criminal and social justice issues is also desirable.



Commensurate with experience, plus excellent benefits.


How to apply

Please submit cover letter, resume, and short-form writing sample (blog post, op-ed, article, or similar). Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.


Online submission in PDF format is preferred. However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to

ATTN: Human Resources / Senior Communications Associate Recruitment

Vera Institute of Justice

233 Broadway, 12th Floor

New York, NY 10279

Fax: (212) 941-9407

Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.


Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment, or caregiver status. 

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.


For more information about Vera please visit

Forward this Position
Recipient email address (one)
Your name
Your email address
Enter a message (optional)
Human Check*
Apply for this Position
* Required fields
First name*
Last name*
Email address*
Phone number*

Attach resume as .pdf, .doc, or .docx (limit 2MB) or paste resume

Paste your resume here or attach resume file

Who referred you to this position?
Desired salary*
Please upload a cover letter as part of your application for this position.*
Please upload a writing sample as part of your application for this position.*
The following questions are entirely optional.
To comply with government Equal Employment Opportunity / Affirmative Action reporting regulations, we are requesting (but NOT requiring) that you enter this personal data. This information will not be used in connection with any employment decisions, and will be used solely as permitted by state and federal law. Your voluntary cooperation would be appreciated. Learn more.

Invitation for Job Applicants to Self-Identify as a U.S. Veteran
  • A “disabled veteran” is one of the following:
    • a veteran of the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service who is entitled to compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to compensation) under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; or
    • a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability.
  • A “recently separated veteran” means any veteran during the three-year period beginning on the date of such veteran's discharge or release from active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval, or air service.
  • An “active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran” means a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service during a war, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized under the laws administered by the Department of Defense.
  • An “Armed forces service medal veteran” means a veteran who, while serving on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985.
Veteran status

Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability
Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability Form CC-305
OMB Control Number 1250-0005
Expires 1/31/2020
Why are you being asked to complete this form?

Because we do business with the government, we must reach out to, hire, and provide equal opportunity to qualified people with disabilities.i To help us measure how well we are doing, we are asking you to tell us if you have a disability or if you ever had a disability. Completing this form is voluntary, but we hope that you will choose to fill it out. If you are applying for a job, any answer you give will be kept private and will not be used against you in any way.

If you already work for us, your answer will not be used against you in any way. Because a person may become disabled at any time, we are required to ask all of our employees to update their information every five years. You may voluntarily self-identify as having a disability on this form without fear of any punishment because you did not identify as having a disability earlier.

How do I know if I have a disability?

You are considered to have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits a major life activity, or if you have a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition.

Disabilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Schizophrenia
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depression
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Missing limbs or partially missing limbs
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair
  • Intellectual disability (previously called mental retardation)
Please check one of the boxes below:

YES, I HAVE A DISABILITY (or previously had a disability)

Your Name Today's Date
Reasonable Accommodation Notice

Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities. Please tell us if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for a job or to perform your job. Examples of reasonable accommodation include making a change to the application process or work procedures, providing documents in an alternate format, using a sign language interpreter, or using specialized equipment.

iSection 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. For more information about this form or the equal employment obligations of Federal contractors, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at

PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENT: According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. This survey should take about 5 minutes to complete.