Jodi Kantor: Hachette Speakers Bureau

Jodi Kantor

Award-Winning Journalist and Author

Jodi Kantor is a New York Times correspondent and author of The Obamas, a fresh, intimate, surprising look at the president and first lady in the White House, published by Little Brown in January 2012. She is a recipient of the Columbia Young Alumni Achievement Award, was named to Crain’s “Forty Under Forty” list of New Yorkers, and appears regularly on television such as the Today Show and Charlie Rose.

When Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, he also won a long-running debate with his wife Michelle. Contrary to her fears, politics now seemed like a worthwhile, even noble pursuit. Together they planned a White House life that would be as normal and sane as possible. Then they moved in. In The Obamas, Kantor takes audiences deep inside the White House as they try to grapple with their new roles, change the country, raise children, maintain friendships, and figure out what it means to be the first black President and First Lady. Filled with riveting detail and insight into their partnership, emotions and personalities, and written with a keen eye for the ironies of public life, The Obamas is an intimate portrait that will surprise even audiences who thought they knew the President and First Lady.

Kantor graduated from Columbia University in 1996 and attended Harvard Law School for one semester, taking a leave to work at Slate, where she became an editor. After corresponding with New York Times columnist Frank Rich about how that paper could improve its arts coverage, she was brought on as editor of the Arts and Leisure section by Howell Raines, executive editor. Kantor was only 27 at the time (her predecessor, John Rockwell, had been in his late 50s when appointed to the post). She is thought to be the youngest person to edit a section of the New York Times. Under the guidance of Rich and others, she remade the section to include a more visual approach, new features and more ambitious reporting.

More recently, Kantor has been covering politics for the Times, most notably the 2008 presidential campaign and Barack Obama’s biography. Starting in 2007, she wrote some of the earliest articles about Michelle Obama, the role of the Obama daughters in their father’s career, the role of basketball in the president’s life, his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his career as a constitutional law professor. In autumn of 2009, she co-broke the story of Michelle Obama’s slave roots and authored a cover story in the New York Times Magazine about the first marriage, for which she interviewed the President and First Lady in the Oval Office. This reporting led her to begin writing The Obamas.

Though she is a Washington correspondent for the newspaper, Kantor lives in Brooklyn with her family.

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  • The Obamas: A Behind the Scenes Look at The White House
  • How Michelle Obama Conquered First Ladyhood

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