Hilary Rosen, who was once chief of the Recording Industry Association of American, has been named political director and Washington editor at large of the Huffington Post, according to a press release. "I’m delighted to welcome Hilary to the team," Arianna Huffington is quoted as saying. "With her experience in the power corridors of Washington, D.C., and her extensive network of contacts, Hilary will be a driving force in taking HuffPost’s political coverage to the next level." Ms. Rosen is touted for her connections and knowledge of Washington politics; she is not a journalist.
Ms. Rosen’s name has been synonymous with record labels’ struggles with so-called digital piracy. When she stepped down from the RIAA in 2003, CNet’s John Borland wrote, "Hilary Rosen has presided over a transformation of the organization that has matched the turmoil of the music industry since her ascension in 1998. Once a trade organization little known outside music and policy circles, the RIAA has become a household word known for its vigorous prosecution of online piracy, and its role as the nemesis of file-swapping services from Napster to Kazaa."
In 2003, Ms. Rosen was profiled by Matt Bai in Wired in a piece called "Hating Hilary," in which he wrote that Ms. Rosen is:
In the same piece, former chief of staff for Bill Clinton John Podesta is quoted as saying of Ms. Rosen, "She can punch you in the face, and you’re still smiling after she does it." That same year, a boingboing post quoted a list of the "Top 11 Signs your ISP has given you up to the RIAA," which included "8. Recording Industry Association of America president Hillary [sic.] Rosen sends you e-mail messages with embedded .wav files of heavy breathing." (The original can be found here.) Her resignation from the RIAA was met with a chorus of cheers on SlashDot, the Internet nerd haunt.
Post-RIAA, Rosen launched a consulting group to "advise companies on piracy and licensing issues" according Digital Media Wire.
In the Huffington Post release, Ms. Rosen is quoted as saying, "The Huffington Post has established itself as both a credible and diverse news organization as well as the pre-eminent home for progressive opinion. I am really excited to help expand our voice during this critical election period."
But will Internet users be excited to see Ms. Rosen in her new role?
Updated 4:15 PM EST: Ms. Rosen e-mailed Media Mob to offer this statement:
Full press release follows:
THE HUFFINGTON POST NAMES HILARY ROSEN
POLITICAL DIRECTOR AND WASHINGTON EDITOR-AT-LARGE
Political and Media Consultant Joins Leading News and Opinion Site
New York, NY, May 20, 2008 — The Huffington Post, a leading news and opinion site, announced today that Hilary Rosen, noted political and media consultant, has been named Political Director and Washington Editor-at-Large. The Huffington Post co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington made the announcement. In this new role, Ms. Rosen will liaise with elected officials and Congressional leaders, coordinate coverage of the upcoming national conventions, and assist in the recruiting of political, business and cultural bloggers.
"I’m delighted to welcome Hilary to the team," said Ms. Huffington. "With her experience in the power corridors of Washington DC, and her extensive network of contacts, Hilary will be a driving force in taking HuffPost’s political coverage to the next level. Her seasoned perspective, judgment and relationships will be of enormous value as our political reporting continues to expand."
Said Ms. Rosen: "The Huffington Post has established itself as both a credible and diverse news organization as well as the pre-eminent home for progressive opinion. I am really excited to help expand our voice during this critical election period."
Ms. Rosen is a veteran of Washington and Capitol Hill, where she is well-known for her expertise on the political, legislative and public affairs process. She is the former Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the trade group representing the U.S. sound recording industry, where she served for 17 years before retiring in June 2003. She is an advisor to many Democratic candidates for federal and local offices. Rosen also has a 25-year history of pro-bono lobbying for LGBT civil rights laws and responsible AIDS policy. She has been instrumental in the passage of numerous public laws.
She is a respected communications expert and serves as a frequent on-air political commentator. Rosen maintains her involvement and influence within the media industry as an advisor to various companies on digital distribution and consumer branding strategies for entertainment and media properties. Rosen is also a Partner in Berman Rosen Global Strategies, a consulting firm with expertise in intellectual property policy development.