Communications Strategist, First Amendment

28 Aug, 2022


Communications Strategist, First Amendment

New York, NY/Washington, DC


The ACLU seeks to fill a two-year contract position of Communications Strategist, First Amendment in the Communications Department of the ACLU’s National office in New York, NY or Washington, D.C. 

The ACLU Communications Department creates, maintains, and expands message narratives to engage our supporters and other target audiences, to help protect and expand civil liberties and civil rights, and also illustrate the value and impact of the ACLU’s transformational work. Through our messaging, engagement with newsmakers, our written content, creative branding, and visual identity, we encourage support for the ACLU and help to build a more perfect union. 

Reporting to the Director of Strategic Communications, the Communications Strategist, First Amendment will play a critical role in developing and executing communications strategies that advance the ACLU’s First Amendment work and brand. The strategist will execute strategies through collaboration with communications colleagues, digital team members, organizers, lawyers, lobbyists, state advocates, vendors, and partner organizations.  The strategist will engage target audiences about ACLU litigation and advocacy; secure news coverage about ACLU efforts; create content for publications and the website; and, plan events such as mobilization activations, and issue teleconferences.


  • Create multi-faceted communications strategies on civil liberties and free speech issues
  • Develop and implement organizational communications strategies to further the ACLU’s brand recognition among target audiences
  • Actively monitor the news and social media channels to identify emerging stories and rapid response moments
  • Proactively propose messaging and communications strategies to address emerging issues and insert the ACLU when appropriate
  • Strategize to determine the most effective spokespeople for disseminating the ACLU messages and brand
  • Develop multi-faceted communications plans, which include goals, audience definitions, messaging, media relations strategies,  use of ACLU digital platforms, and nationwide advocacy, to change hearts, minds, and laws
  • Participate and help lead cross-functional teams (legal, advocacy, digital content) to shape messaging and programming for ACLU initiatives to maximize their communications value and effectiveness, as well as the visibility of the ACLU
  • Increase coverage of ACLU issues and ACLU messages by cultivating and maintaining relationships with key reporters, editors, producers, and bookers
  • Identify needs for digital content and written materials, and work with the digital team,  program staff, and relevant working groups to have them produced in line with agreed strategies
  • Identify and lead response to breaking news events and/or crises, often making sensitive judgment calls in emerging civil liberty and civil rights crises
  • Create and refine communications content, including talking points, news releases, op-eds, letters to the editor, blog posts, backgrounders, social media content, comics, videos, infographics, interactive web features, and social media copy for ACLU National and affiliate teams
  • Be able to accurately and swiftly engage in rapid response moments across platforms
  • Develop and pitch feature stories
  • Prepare clients, organizers, litigators, state advocates, and other spokespeople for media appearances
  • Provide guidance to affiliates in the development of communications materials and strategy, when necessary
  • Engage in special projects and other duties as assigned
  • Center principles of equity, inclusion, and belonging in all work, embedding the values in program development, policy application, and organizational practices and processes
  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability and socio-economic circumstance
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts


  • Demonstrated professional experience in a combination of the following areas: media, strategic communications, journalism, content creation, digital communications, and public relations        
  • Experience working on issue-based advocacy and public awareness campaigns, and in communicating complex issues to a variety of targeted audiences  
  • Must possess strong organizational skills, be detail-oriented and possess the ability to follow projects through to completion
  • Ability to communicate persuasively and professionally, in writing through media relations materials, op-eds and blog posts, and to communicate verbally to a wide variety of media, political, stakeholder, and influencer audiences
  • Experience working with the media and cultivating relationships with print, radio, television and online journalists
  • Proven experience in exercising judgment in breaking news and rapid response environments
  • Experience in online publishing and production, especially video and graphics
  • Experience crafting social media messages, and promoting issues through social media and other digital platforms
  • Experience with online news, social media and digital advocacy tactics
  • Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work collaboratively with others including cross departmentally as part of a team
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and Associated Press style required
  • A demonstrated interest in civil liberties and passion for the work of the ACLU is essential


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Communications or a related field is preferred
  • At least 5 years of professional experience in a combination of the following areas: media, strategic communications, journalism, content creation, digital communications, and public relations is preferred
  • Familiarity with Cision media relations software a plus
  • Basic proficiency with HTML; experience using a CMS to publish and update website content, preferred
  • Understanding of trends and best practices for online campaigning, and best practices for communicating via email, Facebook and Twitter, preferred
  • Experience using Photoshop to edit basic graphics is a plus


The annual salary for this position is $96,711 (Level H). This salary is reflective of a position based in New York, NY. This salary will be subject to a locality adjustment (according to a specific city and state), if an authorization is granted to work outside of the location listed in this posting. Note that most of the salaries listed on our job postings reflect New York, NY salaries, where our National offices are headquartered.


The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union – beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.

For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBTQ+ community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to our work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. We are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency and accountability. We believe in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference; treats everyone equitably; and empowers our colleagues to do the best work possible. We are as committed to anti-oppression and anti-racism internally as we are externally. Because whether we’re in the courts or in the office, we believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; people with disabilities, protected veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals are all strongly encouraged to apply.

The ACLU makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions.

The ACLU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2022-08-28