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Media Specialist

Posted: Aug 4, 2021
The Media Specialist is part of the Communications Department, a group with four other individu-als devoted to public communications on behalf of liberty and The Heartland Institute.
To apply: Please send your resume and related materials to
  • The Position

    The Media Specialist is responsible for assisting with the daily management of all Heartland Institute websites; updating Heartland’s social media accounts; producing podcasts, videos, and memes; booking Heartland experts on radio and TV programs; producing and sending out press releases; pitching op-eds to print and online publications; helping with the planning and execution of public events (both at the office and “off campus”); and producing regular marketing emails sent to Heartland’s in-house email lists for various departments.

    The Media Specialist is part of the Communications Department, a group with four other individuals devoted to public communications on behalf of liberty and The Heartland Institute.

    The position reports to the Communications Director and the Deputy Director.


  • Background

    The Heartland Institute is a free-market think tank founded in 1984 that focuses on informing and influencing state and local elected officials on free-market principles and policy. A big part of that mission includes getting the research and opinions of Heartland staff and fellows into the public conversation. In 2020, Heartland earned more than 5,000 media hits; attracted 3 million unique visitors to our websites; got more than 6 million hits on our podcasts; and the videos on our YouTube and Facebook pages were viewed more than 10 million times.

    The media world continues to change dramatically, almost year-by-year. Fewer Americans consume traditional newspapers and magazines – though tracking Heartland’s presence there is essential – most media consumption is digital, with mobile being an ever-growing component. So devoting staff to maintaining Heartland’s digital presence is a must. An organization must also continually interact with its allies and enemies in social media, especially with images.

    Heartland’s podcasts have grown from just a few thousand monthly hits in late 2012 to more than 500,000 each month by the end of 2020. Producing these podcasts in a consistent, professional manner is essential to keeping and growing this audience. We expect Heartland’s Media Specialist to become proficient in the skills of media creation and editing in the digital space across many areas so he or she can grow in the position and help grow Heartland’s impact.

  • Objectives

    The goal of the Media Specialist is to increase public awareness of free-market ideas – frequently but not always using Heartland spokespersons – by expanding and upgrading our use of the internet and audio/video technology; producing and promoting podcasts and videos; managing and presenting excellent websites; and engaging with allies, enemies, and the general public on social media. The measures of success for this position are substantial growth in traffic on Heartland’s websites, increased social media engagement, and production and distribution of new audio/video products. Measurable outputs include:

    §  visits and page views on websites

    §  activity/posts on Heartland’s blog, FreedomPub

    §  activity/posts on (supporting role)

    §  podcasts produced and audience growth

    §  monthly listens/downloads of podcasts

    §  popularity and engagement with memes on social media

    §  followers, likes, and retweets on Twitter

    §  fans, engagement, etc. on Facebook

    §  subscribers to Heartland’s “general audience” emails

  • Required Skills

    Principal activities of the Media Specialist involve executing or supporting the execution of the following projects:


    Heartland has established a great reputation among allies and the public for its execution of events — both in-house at our Andrew Breitbart Freedom Center and when we go “off campus.” That organizational reputation was earned over many years because the Communications Department oversees the organization and execution of all Heartland public events.

    As part of that Communications Team, the Media Specialist needs to do all that is required to maintain that stellar reputation by displaying for all Heartlanders and the public the following traits:

    §  professionalism in dress and a welcoming nature with guests

    §  positive attitude, even under stress, with members of the Heartland team

    §  personal initiative “without being asked” so the events shine

    §  flexibility about “assigned” duties

    §  problem-solving skills

    §  attention to detail, and then more details, to improve the experience for our guests

    The Communications team is not alone among Heartland staff during a public event, but the whole organization looks to us for leadership, direction, and the example to follow.


    Heartland was on the vanguard of live-streaming events by think tanks, and we have “the standard” that we must be always looking to improve upon. Duties of the Media Specialist on the Communications Team include:

    §  Setting the stage for and producing live-streamed events in Heartland’s Andrew Breitbart Freedom Center.

    §  Recording and posting videos from Heartland events – including events from remote locations and videos produced in-house – and adding annotations and cards to the videos when published on YouTube.

    §  Exploring and mastering other live-streaming services, such as StreamYard, FacebookLive, Rumble, BitChute, Instagram, and any other video streaming and recording services that are gaining traction with the public.

    Email Marketing

    Many of our peers insist that email marketing is all a “numbers game.” It doesn’t matter how the email looks, just get it out to enough people and you’ll get results. But Heartland treats everyone on its email list with respect — because all of them have subscribed to use by choice. We don’t just throw emails out to a huge audience hoping for a few fish among the boots and spare tires. Our lists are largely self-selected, so we have to respect their choice to be a part of our communications. That’s why we are dedicated to producing visually appealing, impactful, and relevant emails for our audiences. That’s why Heartland’s emails exceed the “nonprofit standards” in almost every category — especially clicks to content — and we need to keep it that way. Duties for the Media Specialist in the realm of email production include:

    §  Selecting items for, producing, and sending out the Heartland Weekly Email. This is our “flagship” email sent on Saturdays that highlights our best opinion writing, news stories, podcasts, videos, events, and media hits.

    §  Selecting items for, producing, and sending out the emails for Heartland’s newspapers (every two weeks in a logical rotation)

    §  Selecting items for, producing, and sending out the emails for Heartland’s Stopping Socialism Center (every two weeks in a logical rotation)

    §  Selecting items for, producing, and sending out the emails for events as they arise.

    §  Producing any other emails for public consumption the situation calls for.

    §  Using social media to help increase the number of subscribers to the Heartland Weekly Email and all other email lists.

    Blog: the Freedom Pub

    Heartland’s blog, the Freedom Pub, is an “outside” spot for the work of Heartland staff and Heartland’s Policy Advisors. We promise our 500-plus members of our Board of Policy Advisors that we will re-publish any previous items they’ve posted elsewhere on that WordPress site. The blog is also open to any Heartlander or Policy Advisor for original work. Duties in the realm include:

    Re-posting submissions from Policy Advisors. NOTE: Most Policy Advisors send submissions to both the Media Specialist and the Director of Communications, but some just send to the Director of Communications. It is incumbent upon both the Media Specialist AND the Director of Communications to ensure that Policy Advisors learn to send submissions to BOTH emails. And it should then be a race (hitting “reply all”) that the Policy Advisor will be notified that Heartland will post their piece. The Media Specialist should win this race almost all the time.

    Work to expand number of contributors from Policy Advisors and their frequency with regular email communication.

    Monitor and re-post writings of fellows, policy advisors, and asking when it is appropriate to repost on Heartland’s sites.

    Find engaging links to add to Heartland’s “blog roll” at the Freedom Pub.

    Help promote blog via social media, emails to prominent bloggers.

    Develop reciprocating relationship with bloggers – linking to their material at Freedom Pub and asking that our material be posted and commented on.


    §  Produce and edit podcasts as needed and post on the Heartland website feed.

    §  Promote podcasts on Heartland’s social media accounts.

    Media Outreach and Tracking

    §  Enter all media hits – radio, TV, print, and online – into Heartland’s tracking Excel database. It is VITAL that the Media Specialist keeps this database up to date monthly.

    §  Enter descriptions of the most prominent hits into the monthly PR report, and assist Deputy Director with finalizing the quarterly reports of media hits.

    §  Pitch op-eds — with the cooperation of the Editorial Department — to print and online publications, maintaining Heartland’s current hit rate of about 100 percent

    §  Keep a table that tracks all op-ed pitches up to date daily.

    §  Be the first media contact for radio and TV producers, reporters, and opinion editors, and work to ensure Heartland experts get exposure.

    Required Skills (in addition of expectations outlined above)

    §  Experience with and a natural aptitude for working in the “back end” of various websites and digital programs. Heartland’s Media Specialist must have a natural aptitude for working in digital media programs. An eye to design to improve our digital presence is very valuable and must develop in the position.

    §  Familiarity with public policy issues and the ability to articulate free-market positions on those issues.

    §  Experience with contemporary social media platforms, and the planning and execution of successful social media campaigns.

  • Salary & Benefits


    Starting salary is negotiable and commensurate with skills and experience. Performance reviews are conducted semi-annually; salary reviews are conducted annually.     

    Hours and location of work

    This is a salaried full-time position requiring 40+ hours per week. Any “overtime” — outside of off-site major events in which staffers are expected to work longer hours — is routinely “banked” within that week and granted as “flex time” with permission of their supervisor. HOWEVER: This policy is not a given, but subject to communications with one’s supervisor. On “routine” days, the Media Specialist is expected to arrive in the office at 3939 N. Wilke Road, Arlington Heights, Illinois, by 9 a.m. and be “on the clock” a full eight hours for the day. Any digital responses to Heartland staff off hours is not considered “on the clock.”   


    Health insurance is provided by Aetna (subject to change in future years) and is available to all full-time employees of The Heartland Institute — including this position. Heartland pays 62 percent of health plan premiums and offers a choice of two plans — a low-deductible plan; and a high-deductible plan with health savings accounts (HSAs). Employees who choose high-deductible plans are also eligible to receive annual cash deposits into their HSAs of $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families.

    Heartland pays for life and disability insurance and fees for a 401(k)plan. Heartland does not currently match employee contributions to 401(k) plans.

    During the first year of employment, full-time employees earn 10 paid days off after their 90-day probationary period. During years 2 and 3, employees earn 12 paid days off each year. During years 4, 5 and 6 employees earn 15 paid days off. During years 7, 8 and 9 employees earn 17 paid days off. During year 10 and above employees earn 20 paid days off each year.

    To apply for this position, email

General Careers Information 

Join a full-time staff of 35 dedicated men and women discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems!

Please read our Reply to Critics for the truth about our funding, tactics, and positions on controversial issues.

This position requires adherence to The Heartland Institute's Quality Standards for Heartland Publications.

We actively recruit graduates of colleges and universities that receive a grade of “A” from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA).


For questions about applying for this opening, please contact 

2018 By the Numbers

See what sets Heartland apart:
82% of state elected officials read Heartland publications
of state elected officials read one or more Heartland newspapers "sometimes" or "always."
45% of elected officials say Heartland led to a change in policy
of state elected officials say a Heartland publication influenced their opinions or led to a change in public policy.
3.2 Million
the number of times Heartland's six podcasts were downloaded in 2018
184 issues
of weekly e-newsletters sent to subscribers across the country
158 events
that Heartland hosted, attended, or spoke at, reaching over 34,000 guests in 2018.
100,000 fans
on Facebook posting and reposting over 1 million times a week