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C-SPAN Goes After Gridiron’s No-Camera Rule Again

C-SPAN is once again trying to break through what some believe are the antiquated rules of the Gridiron Club. Last year the club changed their bylaws and allowed a White House Pool Reporter to cover their dinner. But C-SPAN wasn’t satisfied — they wanted their cameras to be allowed in. Gridiron’s answer was an adamant no. This year C-SPAN is getting fired up all over again.

Stay tuned…We’ve put a request into this year’s dinner president George Condon of NJ. UPDATE: Tradition stands. FBDC has learned that Gridiron has no plans to allow cameras into the dinner.

See the letter from C-SPAN’s Terry Murphy

Mr. George Condon
President
Grid Iron Club
Washington, DC

Dear President Condon:

As journalists, we all applaud when organizations move to become more transparent.  Therefore, it was welcome news last year when the Gridiron Club’s Executive Committee announced they would begin allowing a White House pool report to be distributed after the dinner, when the President was in attendance.

As we have done year after year, C-SPAN requests you go even further in those efforts to be transparent and allow our cameras to cover your dinner.  In her response to our request last year, then President Susan Page explained that the dinner is “ON THE RECORD” but you ask that “all reporters in attendance refrain from filing, blogging or tweeting during the dinner itself.  However, once it is over reporters are free to write about it.”

If the Executive Committee is still reluctant to allow the electronic media to cover your dinner live, why not allow us to operate under the same rules as print reporters and record your dinner for playback after it concludes? Having one set of rules for print organizations and another for television and radio journalists seems contradictory to what we all stand for – a free press.  Even the Supreme Court next week, by releasing the audio of the oral arguments in the health care case after they are heard, is allowing us to report on their work immediately.

The headline on Robert McCartney’s column in today’s Washington Post says it best – JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY IS ON THE LINE FOR GRIDIRON CLUB.  We request that the Gridiron Executive Committee, under your leadership, takes the historic step of allowing C-SPAN to cover your 2012 dinner under the same conditions as the print press.  If this request is granted, we’d agree to be the pool and share our video with other news organizations.  Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,

Terry Murphy
Vice President and Executive Producer
C-SPAN

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