White House correspondents and news organizations are grumbling over the barring of photojournalists from many presidential events, observes Grumpy Editor.
Among those calling for better access to President Barack Obama and the White House: The White House Correspondents Association, the Associated Press, Reuters, The Washington Post plus broadcast and cable networks. They'd rather not rely on events’ handouts provided by the White House.
"Journalists are routinely being denied the right to photograph or videotape the President while he is performing his official duties,” the journalists mention in a letter to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
“As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the executive branch of government.”
The journalists also point out, “The apparent reason for closing certain events to photographers is that these events have been deemed 'private.' That rationale, however, is undermined when the White House contemporaneously releases its own photograph of a so-called private event through social media."
They add restrictions on access to such events interfere with legitimate newsgathering, raise constitutional freedom-of-the-press questions and set a dangerous precedent.
“Freezing out reporters from events is not healthy,” sums up Ron Fournier --- National Journal editorial director and national correspondent who earlier worked at AP for 20 years --- in a CNN interview on Friday.
In case you missed these…
TRIBUNE CO. PLANS ANOTHER ROUND OF STAFF CUTS. Chicago-based Tribune Co., second largest U.S. newspaper publisher, plans to cut nearly 700 jobs or about 6 percent of its total workforce over the next year, mainly at its newspaper division that includes the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and six other newspapers. The company, which exited bankruptcy in January, cut 360 jobs companywide in the first nine months of the fiscal year. That followed eliminating 800 publishing positions last year.
BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK FOCUSES ON GLOBAL WARMING. Rather than devoting more editorial space to top business developments as year-end nears, the weekly spreads its Nov. 25 cover story over a vast 17 full adless pages of text and photos (out of 80 pages in the issue) relating to what it sees as future higher sea levels affecting Kiribati, north of Fiji. The central Pacific nation spans 33 small islands with a population of 103,000. Cover headline for the story: This entire country is about to be wiped out by climate change.
PRESIDENT TARDY FOR LIVE WALL STREET JOURNAL INTERVIEW ON THE WEB. President Obama kept Web viewers around the country waiting 30 minutes beyond the 3 p.m. (Eastern) scheduled time Tuesday for the start of a live stream interview, via the WSJ’s website, led by Gerald Seib, the newspaper’s Washington Bureau chief.
FEDS BYPASS LAS VEGAS THIS TIME, GATHER IN CARIBBEAN. Phillip Swarts reports in The Washington Times that “a group of federal officials skipped chilly Washington this month for a taxpayer-funded trip to the Virgin Islands in the name of protecting the world’s coral reef.” The organizer, Swarts adds, is the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force which “isn’t saying much about the total cost or reasons for the trip or why officials chose the St. Croix beachfront resort Buccaneer Hotel (made famous by an episode of TV’s 'The Bachelor') as their destination.”
Media bits: Look for Maria Bartiromo, who departed CNBC (after 20 years at the cable network) on Friday, to host a live Sunday show early next year on Fox News Channel in addition to activities on the Fox Business Network…CNN's Jake Tapper will fill in for three weeks on the network's primetime lineup next month as Erin Burnett takes maternity leave. Along with that added duty, Tapper will continue to host his 4 p.m. (Eastern) “The Lead”…Recently launched Al Jazeera America cable news channel’s ratings averaged around 13,000 viewers in its first few months, reports the New York Post…The Minneapolis Star Tribune in February will take over printing of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The saga of confusing magazine subscriptions continues.
Fast Company, via an insert in its December issue, pitches readers a “3-for-1 holiday gift giveaway” for “only $12.99” as the one-year rate.
At the same time, subscribers, in a magazine wraparound, are offered a “2-for-1 holiday offer” for $10.
Meanwhile, a mailed pitch to subscribers also dangles a 2-for-1 holiday offer, citing “regular cost of 2 subscriptions: $99.80” and “you pay only $10 for “10 more issues (one year)" plus a gift card to send “to announce your valuable gift.”