Communications Director

About us

The Knight First Amendment Institute defends the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. We aim to promote a system of free expression that is open and inclusive, that broadens and elevates public discourse, and that fosters creativity, accountability, and effective self-government.

Established in 2016, the Institute has an active litigation docket that includes cutting-edge cases relating to government transparency, surveillance, and social media. Through its research program, the Institute has published a series of influential essays focused on emerging threats to the system of free expression. It has also hosted public events on new technology and public discourse, the First Amendment and inequality, and whistleblowers and national-security journalism. Over the next several years, through its litigation, research, and public education programs, the Institute will tackle a wide range of issues including net neutrality, the free-speech implications of private surveillance, the free-press implications of technology companies’ terms of service, intermediary liability, the right of journalists to protect their sources, the right of citizens to record and broadcast police activity, encryption, and machine speech.

The Communications Director

The Institute seeks an experienced, dynamic Communications Director to develop and implement its media and communications strategy. The Institute is a growing organization that combines groundbreaking impact litigation with agenda-setting research and public education programs, and we are looking for a Communications Director who can guide and expand all aspects of our communications and public outreach efforts. The Communications Director reports to the Executive Director and is part of the senior management team.

Responsibilities include:

  1. Draft and issue press releases; pitch stories; coordinate media appearances by Institute staff; oversee the production of videos, podcasts, and other multimedia features;
  2. Oversee the Institute’s website, social media channels, and digital outreach;
  3. Expand the Institute’s reach in the press and on social media;
  4. Write op-eds, blog posts, and other pieces explaining and highlighting the Institute’s work for a general audience; edit the writing of outside contributors;
  5. Establish and analyze key metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives in achieving targeted communications goals.
  6. In coordination with the Research Director, support the editing, production, and launch of research materials and reports;
  7. In coordination with the Research Director, develop, publicize, and oversee public programs highlighting the Institute’s litigation and research priorities;
  8. Support the editing and production of annual report and other informational and promotional materials;
  9. Develop partnerships with advocacy and media organizations; manage the Institute’s relationships with key journalists;
  10. Cultivate and manage relationships with the Institute’s partners inside and outside the Columbia University community;
  11. Manage communications staff, contractors, and interns.


Minimum qualifications

B.A. and a minimum of 5 years of experience.

    Additional position-specific minimum qualifications

    Broad experience developing and implementing communications strategies for advocacy organizations. Exceptional interpersonal, oral, and written communications skills. Significant experience with developing and implementing social media and multimedia strategies.

    Preferred qualifications

    Advanced degree in relevant field. Experience working with media or legal organizations. Significant knowledge of issues relating to the freedoms of speech and the press. Understanding of or interest in the impact of new technologies on freedom of expression.

    How to apply

    Candidates must apply through the Jobs at Columbia site at

    Required application materials:

    1. Cover letter explaining your interest in the position, including a description of relevant experience
    2. Resume
    3. Two writing samples

    Additional information may be requested during the application process.