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WHCA Throws Photos in Administration’s Face

A small thing, but a loud gesture. The White House Correspondents’ Association is stripping all official White House photographs from the WHCA website in support of news photographers getting shut out by this administration. They put the news in a letter to all their members this morning from President Steve Thomma of McClatchy. He wrote, “This symbolic gesture is a statement of our belief that journalists should be allowed to cover the president as often as possible and that journalists should not be excluded when the White House is covering the president with its own photographers or video crews.”

See the full letter…Greetings,

The new board of the White House Correspondents’ Association met this week for the first time.

As one of its first acts, the board voted unanimously to take down White House photos from our website and replace them with news photos of the president solicited from our members.

This symbolic gesture is a statement of our belief that journalists should be allowed to cover the president as often as possible and that journalists should not be excluded when the White House is covering the president with its own photographers or video crews.

It reflects the three broad principles I hope will guide us in the coming year: Members First, Scholarships, and the Centennial. These are my own goals, except where noted. The board has nine terrific members, we’ll sometimes disagree on details, and the majority will rule.

We’ll send along the minutes of the board meeting as usual. In the meantime, I wanted to let you know some of my priorities.

MEMBERS FIRST

The association was founded by and for the White House press corps. Building on that, I hope our work this coming year will always focus on helping all of our members do their work and celebrating their journalism.

To that end:

–We’ll resume regular meetings with the press secretary and tell our members about them;

–I’ll resume the Open Press newsletter that Mark Smith started when he was president. This is the first;

–We’ll make all of our announcements to our members first, such as scholarship winners, award winners, and details of the dinner;

– A majority of our members do not travel, do not get invited to background briefings, and seldom get called on. We will continue to spend a majority of our hours working on travel and pool logistics. But I’ll oppose any pay-to-play policy that would favor one group over another in who gets called on, who gets invited to briefings, who gets pool reports or pool assignments;

–We’ll explore possible changes in pool reports, including possible distribution of pool reports by the WHCA.

SCHOLARSHIPS

–We’ll continue to finance scholarships for aspiring journalists, largely through our spring dinner;

–We’ll examine whether to make the fundraising process more formal and more transparent.

CENTENNIAL

-We’ll honor the centennial of the association and celebrate 100 years of covering the presidency in forums outside the dinner and at the spring dinner.

Thanks. Please feel free to contact me anytime, as well as our eight other board members.

Steve Thomma, President. sthomma@mcclatchydc.com

Also on your board:

Christi Parsons, Vice Preisdent

Doug Mills, Treasurer

April Ryan, Secretary

Margaret Talev

Ari Shapiro, ashapiro@npr.org

Carol Lee, Carol.Lee@wsj.com

Olivier Knox, oknox@yahoo-inc.com

Major Garrett GarrettM@cbsnews.com

 

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