Politics editor Adam Lisberg jumps the fence to run press operations for the M.T.A.

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Adam Lisberg. (via 'City & State')
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Adam Lisberg, the editor of Manhattan Media's biweekly politics newspaper, City & State, and the former City Hall bureau chief of the Daily News, is, as reporters put it, going to the other side.

Starting March 30, his new title will be "director of external communications" for the Metropolitan Transit Authority, where he "will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the press office and for setting a communications agenda for the agency," according to a press release distributed this morning. "He will also serve as the chief spokesman for MTA Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Joseph J. Lhota, to whom he will report directly."

"I know there are plenty of situations where someone's tired of being a journalist because of the long hours and the low pay," Lisberg told Capital in a brief phone interview. "This is not a case of that."

Rather, after 19 years in the field, Lisberg got a call from Lhota, whose agency he has covered for years. The position had just opened up, and Lhota gave him "the hard sell," Lisberg said.

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"The MTA has a good story to tell and I see my role there as telling it," he said. "I know that I'm now going to be representing the views of an organization as opposed to purely being a critic from the outside, but I'm doing it for a cause and an organization I believe in, which makes it a lot easier.

"I was never looking for a public relations job per se, but it was sort of the right challange at the right now." (Can't hurt that his salary will be $150,000.)

The journalist-flack transition is already a hot topic this week. Yesterday, American Journalism Review published a piece about former Tampa Bay Times reporter Emily Nipps (creator of the popular "We Are Journalists" Tumblr), who recently left the paper for a communications job at a hospital.

“I’m going to be 35 this year. These are my earning years, and I feel like I can’t get ahead," Nipps told Poynter earlier this month. "I want to be able to buy groceries and fix the brakes on my car."

More on Lisberg's hire in the release below:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced today the appointment of Adam Lisberg to the position of Director of External Communications, effective March 30th. In his new job, Lisberg will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the press office and for setting a communications agenda for the agency. He will also serve as the chief spokesman for MTA Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Joseph J. Lhota, to whom he will report directly.

“Adam is an award-winning journalist who is joining us at an exciting time as we attempt to change both the operation and the image of the MTA. His talents and experience will be instrumental in shaping our message as we move forward,” Chairman Lhota said.

Lisberg's most recent assignment was editor of City & State, a newspaper and website covering New York government and politics. Known as an innovator with a keen editing eye, he revamped the look of the paper and beefed up its web presence, making City & State a must-read in political and government circles.

Immediately prior to that, he served as City Hall Bureau Chief for the New York Daily News, where he also wrote a weekly column. A newspaper veteran, Mr. Lisberg has also held reporting positions at The Record (Bergen County, NJ) and The Burlington Free Press in Vermont. Lisberg resides, with his wife, in Downtown Brooklyn. He grew up in a suburb of Chicago and graduated from the University of Chicago.

“I’m excited to join an agency that plays such a crucial role in the New York City region, and to help the MTA deliver its message to the millions of people it serves across a wide range of media,” Lisberg said. “Mass transit is the lifeblood of New York City and the surrounding counties. As the MTA tackles enormous construction projects at a time of financial strain, I’m looking forward to helping the agency explain its challenges and its achievements to the millions of people who rely on it.”

He replaces Jeremy Soffin, who recently left the MTA to pursue a position in the private sector.