Joe Lockhart knows the White House through and through. His responses to my questions during our recent PR Masters Series podcast reflects that. Joe described to our listeners how an effective and experienced White House press secretary prepares for a press briefing and maintains trust, integrity and transparency.
Judging from my interview with Joe, it’s clear to me that President Clinton was well served during Joe’s tenure as White House press secretary. Being a White House press secretary isn’t for sissies. It’s a difficult job being in front of an information ravishing group of reporters. If you’re not good at your job you will be torn to shreds by the media. And if you engage in half-truths, innuendo, gossip, rumors and fake news, you’ll be overwhelmed.
Joe Lockhart is the epitome of what a White House press secretary ought to be. In fact, I would urge him to tutor all future White House press secretaries wanna be’s. If so, the American public would be served up with the truth, which is good for our country.
About the Podcast
The Stevens Group has been presenting the PR Masters Series Podcast for almost two years now. This series is part of the ongoing partnership between The Stevens Group and CommPRO to bring to PR, digital/interactive and marketing communications agencies the wisdom of those who have reached the top of the PR profession.
About Our Guest
Joe Lockhart, White House Press Secretary under President Bill Clinton
Joe Lockhart is perhaps best known for his service as White House Press Secretary under President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2000, during which time he managed daily press briefings, provided senior counsel to the President, and managed communications through the President’s impeachment proceedings. Long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas called him “a straight shooter,” and “one of the best it’s been my honor to work with;” Susan Page at USA Today found Lockhart “direct, well-informed and trusted;” and former CBS White House correspondent Peter Maer said “if Joe Lockhart knows anything, it’s how to control a narrative.”
Lockhart developed his knack for steering the conversation during his early career as an award-winning journalist, political strategist and public-relations consultant. Lockhart held posts as Assignment Editor at ABC News, Deputy Assignment Manager for CNN, and foreign producer reporting on the Gulf War for Skye News. He served as a press secretary for the presidential campaigns of Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, an aide to Senator Paul Simon, a senior advisor to the John Kerry campaign, and an Executive Vice President at Bozell Sawyer Miller, where he advised a range of high-profile corporations and institutions on media relations and political strategy.
Lockhart is the founding partner and managing director of the Glover Park Group (GPG), a Washington, D.C. communications strategy firm. Under Lockhart’s leadership, GPG earned a reputation for providing its wide range of corporate and non-profit clients (including Microsoft, Visa and the National Football League) with agile crisis management, astute public affairs, policy, advertising and marketing counsel, and cutting-edge opinion research.
In 2011 Lockhart was named Vice President of Global Communications at Facebook, just as the rapidly-expanding enterprise was preparing to go public. Lockhart helped the company mitigate initial public backlash to its IPO, take ownership of its story, and refortify its brand.
In 2013, Lockhart returned to GPG, where that vision payed immediate dividends, in the form of a major expansion and move to a new headquarters. At GPG, he spearheaded the National Football League’s response to a series of public challenges. In 2016 the NFL named Lockhart Executive Vice President overseeing Communications, Government Affairs, Social Responsibility and Philanthropy. A graduate of Georgetown University, Joe is a native of New York City, New York. Follow Joe on Twitter: @joelockhart
About Our Host
Art Stevens, Managing Partner, The Stevens Group
Art Stevens literally knows the PR industry at every level and in every aspect, from the inside out and from foundation to pinnacle. Art knows what makes a PR business successful, profitable and valuable. A prolific writer as well as a dynamic executive, Art is subtle, observant and quietly creative, yet not opposed to a good measure of “brandstanding” when appropriate.
He has been valuing agencies, brokering mergers and acquisitions, and providing strategic advice for ten years. Art is a former owner and CEO of LobsenzStevens, a Top-20 independent PR agency, which Publicis Groupe acquired.
Follow Art on Twitter: @ArtS1735