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Posts Tagged ‘State Department’

Time‘s Rick Stengel Named America’s New Publicist

Time magazine managing editor Rick Stengel is leaving journalism for a job at the State Department. The very likely title is Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, one we’ve characterized before as “America’s Publicist“. Stengel, the oft-face of magazine on shows such as Morning Joe, and nominee of many National Magazine Awards (including a win for Magazine of the Year in 2012)  has the following job description:

The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs leads America’s public diplomacy outreach, which includes communications with international audiences, cultural programming, academic grants, educational exchanges, international visitor programs, and U.S. Government efforts to confront ideological support for terrorism. The Under Secretary oversees the bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs, and International Information Programs, well as the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, and participates in foreign policy development.

Stengel replaces Tara Sonenshine, who served under both Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. The position has been occupied by a number of big names in recent history including James K. Glassman, Karen Hughes, and Judith McHale.

[h/t Capital New York]

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Kris Balderston Moves from State Department to Fleishman-Hillard

Fleishman Hillard In another sign of the very close proximity of PR to politics, international communications firm Fleishman-Hillard just announced the appointment of State Department official Kris Balderston to the role of senior partner and general manager of the company’s Washington, D.C. office.

Balderston most recently worked within the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; during his time there, he “conceptualized and led” the Global Partnership Initiative, a program designed to “strengthen and deepen U.S. diplomacy and development around the world” and address international humanitarian challenges by pairing government organizations with private businesses and non-profit groups.

Balderston has held a number of roles in government over the past 30+ years; he worked as deputy secretary to the cabinet and deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton and served as legislative director and deputy chief of staff for then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The firm’s release did not elaborate on the specifics of Balderston’s new role beyond president and senior partner Martha Boudreau’s assertion that his experience leaves him “uniquely able to help lead our global public affairs practice in a time of globalization, great change and innovation.”

For Foreign Diplomats, Social Media’s Benefits Outweigh Its Risks

“Social media is about taking smart risks,” observed Victoria Esser, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Digital Strategy at the U.S. State Department. Unfortunately, the recent tragedy in Libya has reminded us that being stationed overseas can be a very dangerous occupation.

Esser appeared on a panel at the Social Good Summit on Saturday along with other foreign diplomats in order to provide attendees with a snapshot of their digital media experiences. The three-day conference takes place at New York’s 92nd Street Y during UN Week and concludes today.

The State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has embraced internal and external digital platforms as tools to interact with employees and the public. As Esser said, “nothing replaces face-to-face diplomacy, but social media cuts away time barriers.” She noted that the State Department had recently hosted a “Google hangout in Persian to engage in dialogue with Iran, where the U.S. doesn’t have an on-the-ground presence.” They invited a few journalists to join in.

Charles Ray, former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, pointed to another well-documented advantage of using social platforms. “Social media is not a magic wand, but it’s an effective tool to have ongoing conversations with people who are hard to reach with other methods.” He was referring to those who are under 30 years old; in developing countries, members of this demographic primarily use cell phones since they have only limited access to the internet.

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