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Time’s Stengel latest in long line of reporters who jumped to jobs in Obama administration

Jay Carney says it was a simple calculation. He could continue as a reporter and writer for the rest of his working life, or he could try something new and different.

He chose something different. After 20 years as a reporter at Time magazine, Carney accepted an offer to become communications director for Joe Biden, the newly elected vice president, in late 2008. Carney would go on to become President Obama’s press secretary two years later. “I had a great job” at Time, Carney says. “I’d also been doing it for 20 years. Doing something completely new has an appeal.”

As it happens, Carney was an early adopter. He was among the first of what has turned out to be a parade of journalists who’ve turned in their press badges for work in the Obama administration. In a trend that has raised some eyebrows among Obama’s critics, at least 20 reporters and editors from mainstream news organizations have taken high-profile positions in the administration within the past five years.

The latest hire: Richard Stengel, Time magazine’s managing editor (and Carney’s former boss). Obama nominated Stengel last week to be the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, a top communications post. Stengel will succeed Tara Sonenshine, another journalist (ABC News, Newsweek) who became part of the government she once covered.

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