The White House writing staff consisted of nine employees whose duty it was to study Mr. Obama's voice—mostly by listening to speeches—when producing personal responses or customizing template letters on popular issues like immigration, racial relations, and climate change. Two of these staff members were also asked to write drafts of some of these messages.
They are: Doug Band, who served as Mr. Obama's personal aide; Jon Favreau, who worked with him on both the presidential campaign and the presidency; Josh Earnest, who served as his press secretary; Eric Holder, who was attorney general under President Obama; Anita Dunn, who managed media affairs at the White House; Jon Favreau, again; Jay Carney, who succeeded Favreau as speechwriter and communications director; Stephanie Cutter, who handled political advertising for the president's 2012 re-election campaign; and John Podesta, who ran Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.
Mr. Obama also hired outside writers, including Peter Osnos, who covered business for The New Yorker; Daniel Schuman, a former Newsweek editor; and Jana Winter, a former Wall Street Journal reporter.
The writers' offices are located in the West Wing of the White House. Some authors claim that they are involved in policy making processes but this is not true. They can suggest changes to speeches or messages but cannot write legislation. All writings are released to the public through the president.
"I know no one will read this," they say in many of their letters. Despite the fact that those letters are read. And occasionally that person is Fiona Reeves, the White House's Director of Presidential Correspondence.
They will hardly never read a letter. However, they will only personally sign 10 out of ten thousand letters. The others are usually signed using an autopen or a Xeroxed response.
The majority of these correspondents are members of the White House Correspondents' Association. For more than a century, the organization has encouraged its members to properly report on the president and vice president, therefore increasing openness at the highest levels of American government.
These reporters are part of a larger group called "White House staff." The staff includes everyone who works within the executive branch but does not include people like teachers or nurses who work for the Department of Defense. There are several positions on the staff, including assistant press secretaries and special assistants to the president. They can hold any level job from intern to presidential appointee.
In addition to those who work directly for the White House, there are also journalists who cover the president at large. These reporters often have long-term relationships with particular newspapers or news organizations, so they do not necessarily work for the White House but instead report on it. Some examples include Washington reporters for newspaper chains such as the Denver Post or Chicago Tribune, who cover Congress and the presidency simultaneously. Other examples include reporters who cover politics for television networks like NBC News or CBS News, who also report on the president during election years when his or her job approval rating becomes important.
Finally, there are journalists who cover the president solely because he is president. They are usually assigned to cover the White House by a paper or news organization that has no other choice.
Clarence Lusane's The Black History of the White House examines the history of racial relations in America by chronicling the experiences of African-Americans who constructed, worked at, and visited the White House. Lusane provides detailed accounts of more than 70 individuals, including former slaves, free blacks, and their descendants.
Lusane was born on August 4, 1918 in Washington, D.C. He was raised by a single mother after his father died when he was young. He graduated from Dunbar High School in 1937 and then attended Howard University for two years before being drafted into the United States Army during World War II. After his military service, Lusane went to New York City where he worked as an elevator operator and also wrote articles for various newspapers about what it was like to be black in America during this time period. In 1949, he returned home to Washington D.C. and worked as an assistant editor for the Congressional Quarterly until he retired in 1994 at age 65.
The Black History of the White House book was first published in 1995 by Johns Hopkins University Press. Since its publication, there have been several other books written about the history of African-Americans in the White House. One such book is Robert K. Murray's Sworn to Honor: A Story of Blacks in the White House.