White House Correspondents Ask for Openness Ground Rules

July 15, 2015

Environmental journalists aren't the only ones complaining about access to officials being constrained by flacks. White House reporters recently declared their own standards for openness from the Obama administration or any other.

The White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) on July 4, 2015, released a set of "Practices and Principles" to promote "the broadest possible access by the press to cover the full range of activities that the President and his or her administration undertake in performing the public's business."

The WHCA calls for full press conferences once a month and for the President to take media questions at least once a week.

One principle: "The press has regular access to the President’s aides, beyond those in the White House Press Office."

Another expectation: "Briefings are on the record, as a general practice. Background briefings, in which speakers are not identified, are reserved for subjects of special sensitivity."

On-record briefings are something the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) has asked for, especially from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which sometimes holds briefings "on background."

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