How The White House Does P.R.: Forget The News Cycle, Face The Swirl

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I have a new piece in this week’s magazine about how the White House is handling the evolving media landscape:

The news cycle that once defined the day at the White House has given way to a more ferocious beast. Call it the news cyclone, a massive force without beginning or end that churns constantly and seems almost impervious to management. In response, Obama’s advisers have had to remake the rules of presidential p.r. “We have a theory of how the news media work in this Internet age,” explains Dan Pfeiffer, the buzz-cut 34-year-old who recently became the third person to serve as Obama’s communications director. “There is basically a constant swirl going on.”

This twister still includes the newspaper front pages, nightly news broadcasts and magazine covers that can often shape the national debate. But it also incorporates Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, the latest Internet attack videos and that e-mail your aunt just sent you. “There is a constant conversation that goes on all day long, through blogs, through cable TV, through Twitter, between reporter, subject and reader,” says Pfeiffer, who sits down the hall from the Oval Office. He says his new job is to “make sure we are not getting swallowed up by the swirl.”

Read the whole story here. Or get thee to a newsstand and buy a copy, printed on high-tech bendable paper. Also subscriptions can be purchased here–six issues, $1.99.