The director of press advance at the White House has joined the press. The Los Angeles Times announced this morning the hiring of Johanna Maska, an aide to President Obama.
Maska reflects on the hard work it took to get Obama elected. "Major media outlets were saying we didn’t stand a chance — and I didn’t care. I believed in him. I drove more than 30,000 miles in eight months, to every corner of Iowa. I got less sleep than post childbirth. I was setting up events, arranging press outreach, anything to make sure my candidate had a chance to break through," Maska writes in a blog post for Medium describing her new career.
Since those start up days — eight years ago — I have traveled to 40 countries and more than 40 states. I have organized emergency briefings, international summits, traveled to war zones. I’ve seen first-hand how technology can transform and improve one of the oldest institutions we have: The Executive Office of the President."
Later, the former White House aide turned press-woman talks about the importance of an independent press. "Traveling with the President, I saw what countries without a vibrant free press look like. At our first Summit of Americas, in Trinidad and Tobago, I watched Hugh [Sic] Chavez lead a pack of paparazzi into a private setting so that he could shape his own image. At another summit, in L’Aquila, Italy I saw Muammar Gaddafi driving in an electric car with his own handlers, while media swarmed him — but never got an answer to a question," she writes.
"Without a robust press pushing the boundaries of power, absolute power will corrupt absolutely. And that is precisely why we need organizations like the LA Times to survive."
In a press release, the publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times, Austin Beutner, says, “Johanna is uniquely skilled to help us bring the stories in the LA Times and the story of the LA times to the world.”