Yalie Jay Carney ’87, communications director for Vice President Joe Biden, was selected by President Barack Obama as the new Press Secretary Thursday afternoon.
Carney, a journalist by trade and former Washington bureau chief for Time magazine, was picked from a field of competitive candidates. Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton had been projected as a favorite for the position after current Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced his intention to leave the post in early January.
In an interview with the Washington Post after joining Biden’s staff in 2008, Carney suggested that his background in journalism and distance from the political sphere would be useful in his work as spokesperson.
“I think I bring the perspective of knowing a little bit more maybe about what motivates journalists,” he said. “I think I probably see pretty clearly that often when a negative story seems to be breaking that there’s not an ax to grind or an agenda or anything like that, but just a reporter chasing a story.”
Carney worked for Time magazine in Moscow and covered the Soviet Union before switching to American politics. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Carney briefly worked in Miami before Time sent him to Washington, D.C.
In D.C., Carney primarily covered the presidencies of Bill Clinton LAW ’73 and George W. Bush ’68. He was awarded the Gerald Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency in 2003 by the Gerald Ford Foundation for his work.
Gibbs announced his decision to take time away from the Obama administration on Jan. 5. During his leave, Gibbs plans to advise the President from afar, as well as prepare for his re-election campaign.
MSNBC Correspondent and Democratic Strategist Karen Finney, one of the possible candidates for the job, told the Associated Press that she is confident Carney is ready for the job.
“He has big shoes to fill with Robert’s departure, but given the many accomplishments in his career and the respect he’s earned in politics and media, Jay is more than up to the task,” she said. “I wish him all the best.”
During his time at Yale, Carney was a member of Timothy Dwight College and majored in Russian and Eastern European Studies.
In another White House personnel change on Thursday, Brian Deese LAW ’09 was formally named special assistant to the president and deputy director of the National Economic Council.