s the official
spokesperson for the leader of our country, the Press Secretary has one of the
most important jobs at the White House. George Akerson was the first Press
Secretary to the President. He was appointed to this position by President
Herbert Hoover in 1929 and served until 1931. Under President Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, Stephen Early expanded the role of Press Secretary, and today the
position still reflects his ideas and influence.
Joe Lockhart serves as President Clinton's Press Secretary. Mr. Lockhart's
mornings begin very early. When he arrives at the White House, he must be ready
to face the media and answer their questions for the day. Mr. Lockhart usually
begins his workday with what is called a "press gaggle," an informal meeting in
his office with several key members of the White House Press Corps. There, Mr.
Lockhart briefs them on the President's schedule for the day and finds out what
questions they have. Throughout the rest of the morning, Mr. Lockhart may attend
meetings with Administration officials, confer with the President or his key
advisors, or research the answers to questions he is likely to receive later in
President Clinton's Press Secretary, Joe Lockhart, briefs the White House Press
In the early afternoon, Mr. Lockhart calls a formal press briefing in the Press
Room in the West Wing of the White House. There the Press Secretary faces the
media in a public, on-the-record forum. He responds to questions as accurately
and completely as possible. Mr. Lockhart's other duties include helping the
President prepare for press conferences, handling press arrangements for the
President's official trips, responding to reporters' individual requests for
interviews and information, and disseminating press releases and texts of
presidential speeches and messages.
Because Mr. Lockhart believes President Clinton is helping to move the country
in the right direction, he looks upon every press briefing as an opportunity to
communicate both information and enthusiasm about what the President is doing
for our country. When the lights in the Press Room dim for the evening and Mr.
Lockhart makes his way home, he often reflects on his experiences at the White
House and his role as Press Secretary for President Clinton "Working for
both is a rare opportunity and an unforgettable experience."
In traveling with the President, Mr. Lockhart has the opportunity to meet with
many young people, and he often encourages them to learn more about our
government and the rewards of public service. If you are interested in a
journalism career, he advises you to read newspapers and newsmagazines, use the
library for research, and work on your school newspaper. With knowledge,
experience, and opportunity, you might one day serve as the President's Press
George Akerson faces the press during President Hoover's Administration.
Photo courtesy the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library