White House Communications Director

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The White House Director of Communications, also known as Assistant to the President for Communications, is part of the senior staff of the President of the United States, and is responsible for developing and promoting the agenda of the President and leading its media campaign. The director, along with his or her staff, works on speeches such as the inaugural address and the State of the Union Address. The Communications Director is usually given an office in the West Wing of the White House.

The current Director of Communications is Jennifer Palmieri,[1] who succeeded Daniel Pfeiffer in January 2013.

History[edit]

The White House Office of Communications was established by Herbert G. Klein in 1969 during the Nixon administration.[2] It was separate from the Office of the Press Secretary from 1969 to 1974.[3]

Role[edit]

Historically, the position of White House Communications Director is given to a senior public relations staff member of the candidate's campaign staff. Often this is either the Deputy Campaign Manager or the Campaign Communications Director. The Communications Director works closely with the White House Press Secretary, who was typically a co-worker in the president's campaign. For instance, during the 1992 Clinton Presidential Campaign, George Stephanopoulos was Deputy Campaign Manager, who became the Communications Director after Clinton's election.

Responsibilities[edit]

As the President's voice and vision must be clear, the Communications Director ensures that all aspects of communications are covered to ensure that the administration's message has been delivered successfully. A communications strategy must be devised to promote the President's agenda throughout all media outlets. This can include, but certainly are not limited to, the State of the Union address, televised press conferences, statements to the press, and radio addresses. The communications office also works closely with cabinet-level departments and other executive agencies in order to create a coherent strategy through which the President's message can be disseminated.

With the growing importance of the Internet and New Media in terms of Presidential communication, the Office of Communications is having to branch out, and this have been given an added impetus by the election of Barack Obama who made large use of the internet, and more specifically social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, to reach out to his supporters in order to solicit donations and spread his campaign message.

Key Staff[edit]

  • Assistant to the President for Communications and White House Communications Director: Jennifer Palmieri[4]
    • Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications: Amy Brundage[4]
      • Special Assistant to the President and Director of Broadcast Media: Dagoberto Vega[4]
      • Special Assistant to the President and Director of Progressive Media and Online Response: Jesse Lee[4]
      • Director of Specialty Media: Shin Inouye[4]
      • Director of Hispanic Media: Katherine Vargas[4]
      • Director of African American Media: Addie Whisenant[4]
    • Assistant to the President and Director of Speechwriting: Cody Keenan[4]

Directors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A Guide to Obama's Staff Reshuffling". National Journal. 
  2. ^ "White House Unit Takes on New Life", The Washington Post, Nov. 26, 1973, p. 9.
  3. ^ "Press Operations in White House Revised, With Politics Ruled Out", The New York Times, August 17, 1974, p. 15.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "2014 Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff". WhiteHouse.gov. Retrieved November 7, 2014.