Deputy Policy Director

09 Jul, 2022


Deputy Policy Director

Free Press
Washington, D.C.

Free Press works to amplify the voices of people and communities in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what’s actually happening in their communities. We work at the intersection of media and technology to strengthen our democracy.

We’re looking for a deputy policy director to manage and promote Free Press’ media and technology policy agenda. They will work closely with the vice president of policy to oversee the policy team, supervising Free Press attorneys and government affairs staffers. We seek an experienced advocate with lobbying experience in Congress and at regulatory agencies like the FTC and FCC. Strong legal analysis, legal writing and editing skills are a necessity. Candidates should also have management and strategic-planning experience. This job requires flexibility, creativity, and a desire to work in the public interest.

The deputy policy director will provide strategic guidance internally and externally to ensure that Free Press’ public interest priorities are understood and well executed in Congress, before regulatory agencies, and in public. The ideal candidate will excel in quick-hitting rapid response as well as long-term strategy. This position requires solid knowledge of U.S. media and technology policy, key allies and adversaries in the space, and legislative and regulatory processes.

The deputy policy director works closely with members of the policy team and other senior leaders of the organization to shape Free Press’ policy agenda and priorities, analyzing emerging regulations and legislation and crafting timely and insightful responses to policymakers, allies, journalists, funders and staff seeking Free Press’ expertise. The deputy policy director also authors and edits Free Press comments submitted to regulatory agencies, original research papers, op-eds, fact sheets and other materials.

The deputy policy director reports to the vice president of policy. This job requires flexibility in work schedule, generally aligning to the U.S. East Coast hours. The position requires availability on evenings and weekends on a regular basis to respond to emergent situations. It may include frequent domestic and occasional international travel, including multi-day trips.

Free Press is composed of two separate organizations, Free Press and Free Press Action Fund. Both entities share the same overall mission, and employees will have time assigned to one or both entities. This job description refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “Free Press.”

Primary Responsibilities:

Policy Analysis and Development:

  • Advise the vice president of policy and other senior leaders on policy positions; provide both rapid response and in-depth analysis to shape goals, priorities and policy proposals for the organization.
  • Work across the organization to provide policy strategy direction, constructive feedback, and real-time analysis of emerging issues and opportunities.
  • Provide a critical eye and constructive feedback on internal and external policy ideas and proposals.
  • Issue-spot and stay informed of emerging industry trends, as well as regulatory and legislative progress and proposals.
  • Develop and maintain detailed knowledge of public interest and industry positions and goals, both current and historical, on key media and telecommunications issues.
  • Work with the vice president of policy, senior advisor, economic and policy analysis, policy counsel(s), government relations manager, other staff and outside stakeholders to prioritize and advance Free Press’ policy agenda.

Congressional and Agency Advocacy:

  • Work with Free Press lobbyists and attorneys to maintain and expand our relationships on Capitol Hill, and within the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission
  • Guide strategy internally and with external allies and coalitions to persuade and influence policymakers.
  • Participate in policy briefings, prepare and deliver written and oral testimony, and shape Free Press’ public comments and filings.

Supervision and Coordination:

  • Supervise policy team staff in tiers 2 (managers) and 3 (directors). Coordinate regular team meetings and 1:1 meetings with policy team members to achieve team objectives and key results.
  • Provide regular briefings to colleagues and ensure that policy priorities are understood and well executed.
  • Liaise with other public interest organizations, industry groups, civic leaders and others, managing coalitions and working to identify common ground, develop shared goals, and foster coordination and collaboration.

Media and Public Outreach:

  • Work with the communications team to ensure accurate, timely response to media inquiries.
  • Serve as spokesperson for Free Press when needed and requested.
  • Attend conferences, events, meetings with funders and allies, and engage in other activities to expand awareness of Free Press’ mission, goals and priorities.
  • Research, write and publish white papers, reports, Op-eds, articles, blogs and other communications for internal and external use.

Advancing Race Equity:

  • Clearly and consistently articulate an understanding of racial equity and structural racism and the centrality of this analysis to the policy work Free Press does and how we operate. Integrate that knowledge into work projects and interactions by addressing structural implications and disproportionate impacts of policies, activities and decisions on race, class, gender and other group identities within the context of job responsibilities and projects.

Desired Skills and Attributes:

  • Must have a strong personal work ethic and ability to organize time, manage diverse activities, and meet critical deadlines
  • Must have demonstrated legal writing and analytical skills and be capable of producing concise and persuasive filings and other documents
  • Must have significant experience directly advocating before lawmakers and policymakers
  • Must have a commitment to racial equity and experience working with communities of color
  • Must be a creative self-starter, able to work independently and with limited oversight to accomplish agreed upon objectives and to evaluate results
  • Must be able to work under tight deadlines, navigate competing priorities and effectively adjust work plans to respond to emergent challenges or opportunities
  • Must be able to remain positive, tactful and composed under pressure
  • Must be a team player with a low-ego approach to collaboration with both internal and external colleagues
  • Must be able to develop and maintain relationships with a wide range of external organizations
  • Must demonstrate excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills
  • Fluency in Spanish and/or languages other than English is a plus
  • Must value and respect differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socioeconomic circumstance
  • Dedication to Free Press’ mission of fighting for everyone’s rights to connect and communicate, in addition to the overall success of the organization

Experience and Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of current media, technology and telecommunications issues is essential
  • Juris Doctorate degree strongly preferred. Advanced public policy degree paired with issue expertise and experience may also demonstrate qualifications for this position. Background in public policy, political science, communications or related fields will indicate aptitude for the daily work this job requires
  • Ten or more years of directly relevant experience in a nonprofit public interest organization or similar setting is required
  • At least five years of management and supervisory experience. Demonstrated ability to recruit, motivate and mentor staff
  • Demonstrated ability to manage details, solve problems, and follow-through on assignments with a minimum of direct supervision
  • ​​Ability to gather information from trusted and reliable sources and prepare analysis and strategic direction
  • Demonstrated ability to be entrusted with sensitive information and conduct daily activities with utmost professionalism and integrity
  • Strong writing skills and the ability to write for multiple audiences is a must. The ability to produce very succinct issue summaries is as important as the ability needed to produce long analytical reports
  • Experience working for or advocating before federal and/or state legislatures and agencies
  • Proficiency with setting strategy, marshaling resources, delegation, decision making, management and evaluation
  • Ability to effectively work with highly sensitive personnel, financial, operational and political information
  • Ability to represent Free Press and Free Press Action Fund to a wide and diverse range of external parties (e.g: allies, adversaries, elected officials, funders)
  • Capable of serving as “back-up” for essential staff functions below and above this position
  • Attention to detail, flexibility and demonstrated capacity to operate in a fast-paced environment
  • Must have ability to succeed in a predominately telework/remote office  environment, including working with an off-site manager, adopting and maintaining strong digital security practices, and fostering connection and community with colleagues located throughout the U.S.

Covid-19 Vaccination:

All Free Press employees must be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or have an approved medical or religious/ethical/moral accommodation.

Compensation: Free Press is committed to offering competitive pay and generous benefits, including group medical insurance, short- and long-term disability insurance, retirement benefits, health-reimbursement accounts and paid family leave. Annual paid time off is a total of nine weeks, including vacation, health-care leave and holidays.  All positions receive a cell phone stipend.

This position is categorized as a tier four senior director position, in the context of five possible functional classifications at Free Press, ranging from coordinator (tier one) to executive (tier five).

The starting salary at Free Press for a director position who meets the above qualifications is $110,000-$125,000. Starting salary is based on the selected candidate’s qualifications and experience. To counter pay inequality and uphold internal parity, we use a nonnegotiable starting salary system, while benchmarking our pay to highly competitive markets in the nonprofit sector.

How to apply:

Complete our online application at the link. Fully answering the application questions is an important part of the application process; 4-5 sentences in response to each question will help us understand your thinking.

Our hiring process includes an initial 20-30 minute interview with one staff person, and then one or two hour-long interviews with 3-4 staff members.  This position also requires uploading 2-3 writing samples.

Free Press Is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We value excellence and diversity in our workforce. People of color, women, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, gender-nonconforming and formerly incarcerated individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.

If you meet some of the qualifications above, we encourage you to apply or to reach out for more information. We know groups subjected to systemic oppression– including people of color, women, people from working class backgrounds, and people who identify as LGBTQ+ – are less likely to apply unless and until they meet every requirement for a job. Therefore, we strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other communities who are marginalized.

We provide reasonable accommodations for the application, interview, or any other aspect of the employee selection process to applicants with disabilities. Please email to request an accommodation.

Key dates:

This position was posted on June 8, 2022. We encourage early applications and will begin our screening process on June 27, 2022. This search will remain open until the position is filled. The ideal candidate will be available to begin work in August 2022.

Job posted: 2022-07-09