Earlier today, the White House Correspondents Association met to decide what to do with that empty front row seat in the briefing room. Now Michael Calderone from Yahoo! News reports that the seat, which became available when Helen Thomas retired earlier this year, will go the Associated Press.
However, the AP’s old front row seat will go to Fox News, confirming a report from Calderone last week.
According to a statement from the WHCA, the decision was “very difficult,” citing requests from Bloomberg and NPR to receive a front row seat.
“[A]ll three made compelling cases. But the board ultimately was persuaded by Fox’s length of service and commitment to the White House television pool.”
NPR will now move into FNC’s old second row seat, next to Bloomberg.
There were also a number of other changes to the seating chart, including the addition of a seat for the foreign press pool.
The full statement from the WHCA is after the jump.
The board of the White House Correspondents Association has agreed, by consensus, to move the Associated Press to the front row, center seat in the James S. Brady Briefing Room.
The board further agreed to move Fox News to the front row seat previously occupied by AP, and relocate NPR into the second row seat previously held by Fox, next to Bloomberg News.
It was a very difficult decision. The board received requests from Bloomberg and NPR in addition to Fox for relocation to the front row and felt all three made compelling cases. But the board ultimately was persuaded by Fox’s length of service and commitment to the White House television pool.
The board also made a series of adjustments to the larger seating chart, including the addition of a new seat for the foreign press pool.
These deliberations mark the third time in four years the board has tackled this issue, and we urge members to view seating room changes as an ongoing process that will be revisited again as our industry evolves.
The changes are effective Monday, August 2. In addition, the board member from NPR abstained from debate of seating assignments for the first two rows.