Obama creates new position, appoints White House Chief Digital Officer

In what he calls the “fourth quarter” of his presidency, President Barack Obama is adding some new members to his White House team.

In a statement released Tuesday, Obama appointed Shailagh Murray as Senior Advisor to the President, replacing Dan Pfeiffer.

Murray, a former Washington Post reporter, previously served as the Vice President’s Communications Director and will now be responsible for advising the President on a range of topics.

“For four years, I’ve relied on Shailagh Murray’s strategic advice and keen ability to cut through the Washington noise to focus on what matters to everyday Americans, and I’m proud to have her as a Senior Advisor,” Obama wrote. “She’s been an invaluable asset to Vice President Biden, but fortunately for him — and the country — she’ll still be down the hall.”

The President also announced the creation of a new role, White House Chief Digital Officer.

As the first Chief Digital Officer, Jason Goldman will harness digital platforms to “amplify” White House communications to the American people and lead the White House Office of Digital Strategy. Goldman was the first head of product at Twitter, and also worked at Blogger, Google, and Branch.

Goldman harnessed digital platforms Tuesday when he outlined his new role on Medium, a blog-publishing platform that he helped create with Twitter’s co-founders.

“We the People, Big Block of Cheese Day, and Reddit AMAs are just a few examples of the innovative things the White House team has done over the years to engage directly with the American people,” Goldman wrote of his new employer.

“I’m looking to expand those conversations and find ways for you —- the people, us, we —- to help define them.”

A senior White House official notes that Goldman first met the President when he came to work on a two-week project on White House engagement.

“Jason Goldman brings new energy and coveted expertise as someone who’s helped shape the digital age. Our mission is to use every single tool available to ensure that all Americans can contribute to and benefit from our American resurgence,” Obama wrote.

The White House has long focused on shifting its media strategy to use non-traditional platforms to reach its target audience.

In 2015 alone, the President has appeared in interviews with Vox, Re/code, BuzzFeed, and a live-streaming interview with YouTube stars.

Younger Americans — an essential element to the coalition that elected Obama president — have been seeking out news about the White House increasingly through social media, according to data highlighted by White House officials. Reaching those audiences, Obama aides have said, remains a priority, even as the President grants the bulk of his interviews to traditional outlets like CNN or The New York Times.

In addition to the recent departure of Pfeiffer, White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri and Counselor to the President Jon Podesta have both left their posts on the White House team. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki is replacing Palmieri, while current Senior Adviser Brian Deese is filling Podesta’s role.

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