View Vacancy - Head of Newsdesk, Grade – HEO, New Delhi
Note: All applicants are required to mandatorily fill the complete online application form including the employment and educational details, experience-based segment and the behaviours and technical/ professional skills-based questions. We will be thoroughly reviewing the application forms only for all the required details. Forms that are incomplete in any respect will not be considered while shortlisting for the next stage.
Main purpose of job:
To lead the British High Commission New Delhi’s media engagement strategy, in support of the UK’s work in and with India. Ensure that we are responding effectively to media enquiries and developing stories and help promote positive perceptions of the UK in Indian media. You will be responsible for building and maintaining strong working relationships with a broad range of Indian news organisations and journalists. As a senior communications resource, the role also provides strategic oversight and support for colleagues across the network, including the British Deputy High Commissions.
We reserve the right to review, revise or amend the roles and responsibilities from time to time reflecting the changing needs of business.
Roles and responsibilities / what will the jobholder be expected to achieve?:
You will join the ‘News and Digital’ team, within the wider Communications team in Delhi, which leads on all press and social media activity for the British High Commission. This role requires a strong attention to detail and an in-depth understanding of the benefits and limitations of different channels of communication – along with the ability to successfully leverage these to maximise our impact and outreach. Work is challenging, fun, and fast-paced and you will have an opportunity to get involved in the full range of activities relating to the UK’s work with and in India.
As Head of Newsdesk, you will own and implement our media calendar, including planning and organising press interactions for the High Commissioner and other members of the senior leadership team. A key part of your role is providing expert advice on the Indian media landscape and evaluating the effectiveness of our media engagement; you will be responsible for delivering media insights, recommendations, and high-quality briefing to a range of senior officials on their press engagements, including the High Commissioner, visiting Ministers and VIPs. You will also support media training and upskilling for senior colleagues and the wider communications team.
The jobholder works closely with policy and communications colleagues to design effective media engagement strategies and to develop creative and catchy stories for mainstream and specialist media, including vernacular outlets. You will monitor emerging media trends and developments, identify opportunities to promote the UK’s activities, and learn who is interested in the positive stories we have to share about UK Government priorities. You will know what makes a compelling story, and will work with colleagues to craft them and proactively pitch them to interested journalists.
The role requires a solid understanding of what makes effective written and verbal communication, an excellent grasp of the English language, and the ability to communicate with a wide range of audiences on diverse subjects. The Head of Newsdesk leads on the production of the full range of media products for the High Commission, including press releases, briefings, statements, op-eds, articles, and speeches.
The UK is often prominent in the news and as Head of Newsdesk you will need to react quickly to breaking stories and complex geopolitical issues. Knowing how and when to deploy appropriate media interventions will be key, including utilising conventional briefing mechanisms to inform reporting and reaching out to your network to correct inaccurate information. You will lead on activities that require a quick and responsive approach – for example, crisis communications and managing reputational risks. The role is varied and challenging; you will need to establish strong contacts throughout the High Commission, in London, and with journalists, to make sure you get the best results.
The role may require occasional travel within India to support high profile visits. You will line manage one Newsdesk Officer and report to the Head of News and Digital.
Resources managed (staff and expenditure):
- Staff: One EO Newsdesk Officer.
- Budgets: Support the Head of News and Digital in preparing an annual budget forecast for managing media subscriptions, and any other ad hoc expenditure.
Language: English and Hindi
Level of language required: The jobholder must have full professional fluency in English with good working knowledge of written and spoken Hindi. Knowledge of additional languages of India is also desirable.
A written test will be included as part of the recruitment process.
Learning and development opportunities (and any specific training courses to be completed):
The jobholder will be able to access a wide range of online and face-to-face training delivered for the UK Government in Britain and abroad. They will have opportunities to access specialist training for government communicators. Much of the learning is on the job, which will be diverse and varied.
The British High Commission network across India is committed to providing flexible work patterns. The use of mobile ICT and the nature of the job means that the jobholder will be able to work different hours according to their personal circumstances.
The High Commission is committed to ensuring employees enjoy a good work-life balance. It is a stimulating place to work where we value diversity and inclusion and care about the development of our people.
The nature of this particular role will require the successful candidate to work in the office for the majority of the time. In addition, the job holder will on occasion be required to work irregular hours, including (but not limited to):
- Early morning/late evening shift patterns for news monitoring around important developments.
- Weekend duty officer for urgent media requests and news monitoring on a rotational basis.
- Occasional evening and weekend working, as required, during high-level events and visits.
Any other information (or specific local Post requirements):
The work of a diplomatic mission can be unusual, and the subject matter can range from trade and investment, to defence and security to education and visas. The jobholder should be able to hit the ground running, learning quickly about a wide range of issues.
The job holder may be called upon to support the wider communications team when necessary, so a degree of flexibility is required.
You will be an articulate, confident communicator who is a cool head in a crisis, works well under pressure, can shift quickly between issues and produce top quality content to tight deadlines (you will be drafting statements, press releases and lines often at short notice). You will need to be highly motivated with excellent judgement and be able to combine problem-solving with an acute awareness of the geopolitical context.
You must have an in-depth understanding of the Indian media landscape, and the key players within it – covering both English language and vernacular media. You will need to be familiar with the opportunities and challenges of all forms of media, including digital, print, and broadcast. You will be good at building relationships – with policy colleagues, other comms specialists and journalists alike – and be a real team player.
Qualifications: Graduate/Postgraduate from reputed University.
Essential on arrival:
- At least 8 years of experience working in media, either as a journalist or in media relations.
- Solid understanding of the Indian media landscape, including knowledge of latest media trends, and strong contacts in the Indian news industry.
- Exceptional written and verbal communication.
- A degree in journalism, mass communication, or public relations.
- Experience of building and managing media profiles for leadership teams.
- Prior experience of working in an international, multicultural organisation.
For other than BHC candidates, salary will be all-inclusive of INR 121,533 per month along with 12% Provident Fund and 6% Special Allowance.
Additionally, the BHC offers a great benefits package that includes annual domiciliary medical cover, plus a Group Hospitalisation Scheme with INR 500,000 floater cover for your immediate family.
No relocation or any other related costs or assistance will be provided.
Please note - BHC does not deduct tax at source and employees are required to ensure that any requirements of local income-tax law are complied with in full. Employees who are not liable to pay local income tax on their Mission salary, e.g., some non-local national staff and some spouses or partners of UK diplomatic staff, will have their salaries abated by an equivalent amount.
The BHC is recognised as a good employer, with a robust, fair and transparent performance management & appraisal system linked to increments and staff bonuses. We have a 5-day working week, plus annual leave, public holidays, maternity leave provision, special leave, paid sick leave provision; ample development opportunities, travel opportunities, a good organisational culture, and excellent work/life balance.
Around half of our work forces are women. We treat people with respect and equality and have a policy of zero tolerance for any form of discrimination, bullying, or harassment.
This is a good opportunity to be part of a strong, diverse team, working in the biggest network that FCO has anywhere across the globe. We are aiming to make it the best.
Note: All applicants are required to mandatorily fill the complete online application form including the employment and educational details, experience-based segment and the behaviours and technical/ professional skills-based questions. We will be thoroughly reviewing the application forms only for all the required details. Forms that are incomplete in any respect will not be considered while shortlisting for the next stage.’
Please note - Provident Fund Transfer in and out from EPFO is not possible as BHC PF is managed by a private PF trust governed by Indian Income Tax Act, 1961. The staff still has the option to transfer out and in from a privately held PF trust which are not governed by EPFO.
Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders will need have, or be able to obtain, a valid special work permit issued from Government of India (GOI) to work in the British High Commission (BHC). BHC will not be able to sponsor work visas or obtain/ assist with the special work permit from GOI. Offers of employment made to OCI card holders will be conditional upon candidates obtaining a special work permit.
Note: For requisite special permission to take up employment in any foreign Diplomatic Missions in India, OCI Cardholder must visit https://ociservices.gov.in
Please note – successful applicants will be offered employment on Country Based Staff (CBS) terms and conditions. This is not a permanent UK Civil Service position and does not attract diplomatic immunities and privileges (other than what an individual may already hold if they are a recognised partner/family member of a serving diplomat).
Please note applications without (a) and (b) will not be considered.
- Complete the Online Application Form
- Complete the Experience, Behaviour and Technical/ Professional skills-based questions segment in the Online Application Form
- Applicants needs to answer the questions based on their professional experience. Refrain use of AI based tools to avoid application from getting rejected.
Internal candidates applying for this position need to inform their current line managers, else the applications will not be considered.
We will accept only online applications by 01 January 2024 (latest by 23:55 hours IST).
Please note that all the applicants will be required to strictly adhere to the security guidelines for British High Commission
Applicants who do not have the required qualification & experience should kindly abstain from applying, as their applications will not be considered.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted, and no telephone enquires will be dealt with. Appointable candidates who were unsuccessful may be placed on a ‘reserve list’. If during the reserve period of 6 months the same or a largely similar role becomes available, that role may be offered to the second or subsequent candidate.
The appointment will be subject to Police Verification and other checks including references, medical, educational and professional.
We welcome all applications irrespective of age, race, colour, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, belief or creed. We are also open to applications from people who want to work flexibly.
This opportunity is closed to applications.