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Public Relations Specialist

State of Montana Helena, MT
  • Expired: September 07, 2019. Applications are no longer accepted.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for our Public Relations Specialist position.
At the Department of Agriculture, our mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. We manage more than 30 programs, from marketing and business development to licensing and regulating activities to protecting agricultural producers.
The Central Services Division (CSD) provides departmental services to help programs serve agriculture stakeholders including consumers, producers and businesses. CSD services include: fiscal management, budgeting, technology support, director's office, human resources, public information, records management, and legal support to all programs within the department. The Fiscal Office is responsible for providing accounting, budgeting, fiscal management, payroll and benefits, purchasing, and property control support to all programs within the department.
This position is the Public Relations Specialist (Communications Officer) and is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring the department's public information program. The position is the key point of contact for the media and represents the agency to governmental and legislative bodies, industry organizations, and other agencies; develops public relations strategies and programs to support and enhance the mission of the department; serves as quality control for all department communication products and efforts. The position reports to the Director.
A Spokesperson and Media Manager:

  • Provide direction and expert advice to the department in developing responses and stratagies for dealing with issues of high public interest including coordinating department responses to inquiries and serving as the main point of contract with the media.
  • Work with appropriate staff to develop press releases, statements or advisories as well as talking points and fact sheets regarding issues or events pertinent to the department and follow the appropriate approval channels prior to release.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with media contacts.
  • Serve as the agency contact and liaison with the appropriate media on sensitive and controversial issues and provide guidance and technical advice to department management and staff on their interactions with the media including reviewing and revising correspondence prepared by staff throughout the department.
  • Act as the key point of contact for interactions with the Governor's office regarding any issue related to communications with the public.
  • Perform a variety of communications activities such as planning and on occasion giving presentations and attending meetings to build public awareness of Department of Agriculture programs and increase support and local cooperation.
  • Prepare testimony and other information for presentation to legislative committees, boards, or other public councils as directed by the Director and Deputy Director.
  • Develop and maintain reference sources, standard position statements, information release formats, photo files, etc. for the department with general and specific information on subjects pertinent to the department.
  • Assist department programs with compiling reports/memorandums on operations, activities and situations in local communities, for use by the department in determining programmatic effectiveness and/or determining weather a proposed project should go forward.
Communication Planning and Implementation:
  • Work in coordination with all Department of Agriculture Divisions to develop through communication plans that recognize, articulate, advocate, and represent the agricultural needs and interste of the state, to ensure accurate and timely dissemination of information, and to encourage support and cooperation for department objectives with stakeholders, governmental and legislative bodies, industry organizations, and other local, state and federal agencies.
  • Establish short and long-term goals and objectives for the department's public information and outreach program with the Director, Deputy Director and in close coordination with Division Administrators.
  • Perform extensive research on issues affecting the department to gain a comprehensive understanding of each division, coordinate sensitive activities, and determine the department's public information strategy for ensuring accurate and timely information distribution.
  • Design and produce program informational and educational materials such as brochures, newsletters, magazine and newspaper articles, radio spots, online information services and videos to provide pertinent, current and technically accurate information to the public.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of agency public information activities to ensure consistent and accurate information is disseminated and to assess the degree of success in meeting department objectives.
  • Help plan and prepare presentations, meetings, conferences, and other special events to foster support and cooperation and ensure the dissemination of accurate information on behalf of the department and its constituents.
  • Plan and strategize public meetings, with technical support and participation by department staff with knowledge specific to a particular program/project.
  • Encourage related industry organizations to participate in cooperative public information campaigns.
Internal Communications Strategies and Procedures:
  • In addition to external communications, this position will identify and coordinate needs and systems for effectively communicating directives from the Director's office, information requests, policy changes, legislatiove summaries, personnel updates, and programmatic successes across all divisions of the department through the use of on-and-offline communication tactics. The positon is also the lead on providing communications training to department staff.
  • Develop, document and implement department-wide protocols and procedures for dealing with the media, special interest groups, other agencies, etc.
  • Identify, develop, arrange for or present training programs for department employees to improve skills in communications areas ranging from interviewing techniques for TV, radio and print to writing responsive letters to the public.
  • Advise the Director and Deputy Director on department communication issues to ensure effective and consistent communication.
  • Direct the development of the department web site to provide effective, timely and accurate informational materials and links to information sources.
Physical and Environmental Demands:
This position mainly works in a typical office environment, but travels often to public meetings or newsworthy events of the Agency. Expected to work odd hours and adapt quickly to changing circumstances in order to gather information for the Agency and the public. May carry camera, tripod, camcorder, recording equipment, or other items as needed. Occasionally will drive 4-wheel-drive vehicle or walk on rough terrain in order to observe conditions in the field.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (Behaviors):
This position requires: thorough knowledge of agriculture; knowledge and experience in effective public relations; social media, various forms of communications, especially writing, editing, and public speaking; understanding of mass media and relationships between citizens and public agencies. Knowledge of newspaper, radio, and television production procedures and evolving methods of communication including social media. Skills desired include use of word processing, graphic design and publications programs, as well as operation of standard equipment for photography, recording, audio editing and videotaping. Must have ability to quickly learn Agency programs and functions. Also required are effective public speaking, tact and respect for other points of view, along with the ability to persuade others of Agency's reasons for actions and decisions, and the ability to display poise and professionalism in confrontational situations.
Supervisory Responsibilities:
This position does not supervise others.
Minimum Qualifications (Education and Experience):
College degree (Bachelor's) or equivalent (*)
(*) Communications, education or journalism, or a degree in journalism, public relations, or mass media communication with an agricultural emphasis or interest preferred. Course work in agricultural economic development issues, is desired, but not required.
3 years job-related work experience (**)
(**) The agency will accept alternative methods of education and experience.
  • Please contactJen.downing@mt.govfor a complete Job Description.
Job: **Public Relations/Communication*
Title: Public Relations Specialist
Location: Helena
Requisition ID: 19142229

State of Montana


Helena, MT
59626 USA