John Buntin is a GOVERNING staff writer. He covers health care, public safety and urban affairs.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Two years ago, freelance artist Adam Cooper made a $10 donation ("or possibly $5") to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. "I was soon getting phone calls around the clock asking if I wanted to volunteer," recalls Cooper, age 28. In short order, he was in Las Vegas working as a field organizer. Noting his art skills, the campaign sent him first to Chicago to work with Obama's fabled new media team and then to Virginia. ("I wanted to work in a red state that we had a chance of turning," Cooper says.)
Obama carried Virginia, and politicians across the nation took note, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. When Cooper drove home to Los Angeles, he found a job offer waiting. Villaraigosa, who had just been reelected, wanted Cooper's help building "the most accountable, transparent administration in L.A. history."
"The people in power can't talk to five people in a room representing the five biggest media outlets anymore," Cooper says. "Nobody can really control a story or keep it under wraps." As director of new media, Cooper's job is to make sure the Los Angeles mayor is telling his story too.
An avid foodie, Cooper tweets about the L.A. food scene as SirNoshAlot. He also draws the comic strip, Ted the Terrible Superhero (www.tedtheterrible.com).