Time managing editor Rick Stengel (pictured above) is leaving journalism to go work for the State Department, making him at least the
15th 21st 23rd 24th reporter to go to work for the Obama administration. Stengel will be the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Politico and Capital New York report. The last high-profile journalist to leave Time for the Obama administration is Jay Carney, who is currently White House press secretary (pictured at right). Update: Thanks to a few tipsters, we've updated with a bigger count. They're listed below.
A wave of reporters went to work for President Obama early in the administration, a time when many media organizations were going through layoffs and Obama's approval rating was sky-high. The flow has tapered off since then. The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe has semi-regularly kept tabs on the number of reporters working for Obama administration, counting 10 in May 2009, 14 in 2010, and 13 in 2011. The Washington Examiner's Paul Beddard counted 19 reporters working for "Team Obama" in February 2012, but he included liberal advocacy groups as part of the "team."
Keeping track of how many reporters went to work under President Obama is tricky. Do you count those who had some other job in between reporting and the Obama administration? (Former TV reporter Beverley Lumpkin worked for the Project on Government Oversight before joining the Justice Department in 2011.) What about someone who went to work for George W. Bush, and kept his job under Obama? (Former ABC reporter Geoff Morrell went to work for the Defense Department in 2007.) Here's a non-exhaustive list of journalists who switched to working for the government. Our updated count includes people like Lumpkin and Morrell, plus new additions:
- Earlier this month, Douglas Frantz went to work for the State Department, too, as assistant secretary of state for public affairs. Frantz took a couple spins through the revolving door between the media and the executive branch, the Huffington Post noted. For decades, Frantz reported for publications like The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times until 2009, when he got a job as an investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which was chaired by then-Sen. John Kerry. In May 2012, Frantz got a job as The Washington Post's national security editor.
- Boston Globe online politics editor Glen Johnson went to work for Secretary of State John Kerry in January as a senior adviser.
- In February 2012, Stephen Barr went to work for the Labor Department as senior managing director of the Office of Public Affairs. Barr had written the Federal Diary column for The Washington Post, which he retired from in 2008.
- The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray became Vice President Joe Biden's communications director in March 2011.
- Rosa Brooks, an author who was a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, was counselor to Michele Flournoy, the undersecretary of defense for policy, from April 2009 to July 2011. Brooks now writes for Foreign Policy.
- In February 2010, Desson Thomson went to work as a speechwriter for the U.S. ambassador to the U.K., Louis Susman. Thomson had been a film critic for The Washington Post until 2008.
- Roberta Baskin, who worked as a TV journalist and ran the Center for Public Integrity, went to work for the Department of Health and Human Services in August 2009 as a senior communications adviser.
- Washington Post Outlook section deputy editor Warren Bass went to work for then-UN ambassador Susan Rice in January 2009 as director of speechwriting and senior policy adviser. He now works for the RAND Corporation.
- Education Week reporter David Hoff went to work for the Education Department in May 2009.
- Sasha Johnson, who worked for CNN as a senior political producer, became a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation in May 2009, and, recently moved to be the chief of staff for the Federal Aviation Administration.
- The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman became the Department of Transportation's communications director in February 2009. She was a commentator on MSNBC last year.
- Rick Weiss left The Washington Post to work for the Center for American Progress, then in March 2009 moved to be the communications director and senior policy strategist in the White House Office of Science and Technology.
Update: A few people have written in with names we'd overlooked:
- Former CBS and ABC reporter Linda Doulglass started working for the Obama campaign in May 2008. She was then communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform until June 2010. She then worked for the Atlantic Media as communications chief until June of this year.
- New York Times reporter Eric Dash joined the Treasury Department's public affairs office in 2012.
- As did MSNBC producer Anthony Reyes.
- Aneesh Raman left CNN to work for Obama's 2008 campaign. He's now a speechwriter for Obama.
- CNN national security correspondent Jim Sciutto worked as chief of staff for U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke from 2011 to September 2013.
- San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kelly Zito, who covered the environment, went to work for the EPA's public affairs office in August 2011.
- We overlooked an obvious one: Samantha Power made her name as a journalist covering genocide before working for Obama when he was still a senator. She's now Obama's ambassador to the United Nations.