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Rospars and Slaby Rejoin Obama, But in New Roles for New Media '12

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, April 29 2011

Note: This post has been updated with details on Rospars and Slaby's roles on the campaign.

Joe Rospars in a 2009 photo; photo credit: gooliver

The Obama campaign staffed up its new media operation today by hiring on two key veterans from the 2008 race. Joe Rospars is coming onto the Chicago-based campaign as "chief digital strategist" and Michael Slaby will serve as "chief integration and innovation officer." National Journal's Marc Ambinder seems to have tweeted the news first.

But according to a Democratic official, Rospars and Slaby's roles at hiring don't exactly replicate anything that existed on the 2008 Obama campaign. For the 2012 operation, Rospars will serve as a strategist, a position somewhat different than the managerial role that he had as new media director in '08. Slaby is being officially tasked with weaving new media into every area of the campaign; thus the inclusion of "integration" in his title.

Michael Slaby; photo credit: Edelman

Just counting the deep experience the two have between them in running an Obama presidential operation's digital wing, the pair are major gets for the campaign. Rospars is well known in these circles from his highly-regarded work in the '08 campaign and his role as co-founder and creative director of the firm Blue State Digital. According to the official, Rospars will remain on the team at Blue State while serving on the campaign.

Slaby is less well known, but veterans of the 2008 campaign say that he had a hand in all or most of what the new media team did. More formally, he handled the role of deputy new media directory during the primaries and chief technology officer during the general election. Last June, he joined the Chicago office of the global PR firm Edelman as an executive vice president and global practice chair of the firm's digital practice. Previously, according to Edelman, he'd served as chief technology strategist for TomorrowVentures, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt's venture capital firm.

Sources say that the hirings have been in the works for weeks. Rospars was a logical pick to rehash his 2008 role, though less so because Blue State Digital was acquired by the global giant WPP back in December, and Rospars continued involvement seemed a part of that deal. Tweeted Obama '12 campaign national field director Jeremy Bird, another 2008 vet, "Pumped to work w @rospars (chief digital strategist) & @michaelslaby (chief integration & innovation officer). Best in the biz."

Related: Can Obama 2012 Bring the New Media Band Back Together Again?