FishbowlDC has confirmed that National Journal’s Aamer Madhani is headed to USA Today. A homecoming of sorts, Madhani served as the paper’s Baghdad Bureau Chief from 2008-2010. Prior to that, he spent eight years with the Chicago Tribune as a national correspondent, Baghdad correspondent and metro reporter.
Posts Tagged ‘David Jackson’
Tonight the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a cocktail reception for their new class of senior fellows at the center on Eye Street. The BPC was recently hailed by NJ as “one of Washington’s most attractive destinations for former lawmakers, Cabinet officials and others.” Now we know why…honored tonight will be Sens. Bob Bennett, Byron Dorgan, Bill Frist and Trent Lott, in addition to General Jim Jones (ret.). Remarks are expected from BPC-co-founder and former Sen. Tom Daschle.
Also on the RSVP list are media bigwigs (some bigger than others and some not so big at all, you decide): John Roberts, FOX, Ed Henry, FNC, Peter Baker, NYT, David Jackson, USA Today, Ron Brownstein, NJ, Aaron Lobel, American Abroad Media, Charlie Cook, NJ, Emily Pierce, Roll Call and former CNNer Kathleen Koch. The BPC recently attracted former MPAA head Dan Glickman, now a BPC Fellow and head of a nutrition & physical activity initiative and former first lady Michelle Obama‘s, Robin Schepper, former executive director of Let’s Move! to join the nutrition project.
Wherever there are reporters and flacks lies the certainty of tension. While the flacks are busy barring the hen house windows and doors, reporters are busy clawing — sometimes unsuccessfully — their way inside.
Tonight the White House press office limited access to President Obama‘s address on Afghanistan to a single print pooler — no wires. Some journalists within the White House Press Corps are outraged. “You can’t keep the press out of something this important,” a correspondent told FishbowlDC anonymously.
But it’s no secret that the predominant feeling amongst some reporters is that this is yet another example of the ongoing erosion of access for press at the White House. “I think it’s very unfortunate and I think board agrees with me,” said White House Correspondence Association Board President David Jackson, White House correspondent for USA Today. “A full pool should always be with the president.” Jackson and other White House correspondents expressed their concerns throughout the day.
There are essentially two factions. TV and radio people hate it because only a print pooler gets in. Print reporters, meanwhile, aren’t as charged up about it. Usually, the rule exists because there isn’t space, or folks carrying heavy equipment would cause a distraction, like the living room of a house. Of course, the White House also doesn’t have to worry about b-roll if Obama says something he shouldn’t. Some believe there are two options for the White House: one print pooler or closed press. Most reporters think the Administration prefers the latter.
We wrote White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest for comment. He declined to comment.
“Gripes about access are nothing new, and for the most part, they’re legit,” said Mediaite‘s White House Correspondent Tommy Christopher, who, along with the rest of the back five rows, has had his own struggles with access as of late. “Several months ago, I did a quick perusal of the President’s schedule, and the number and nature of the events that were completely closed to the press was absurd. One of them was a meeting with the LPGA golf team. Having a single print pooler for the Afghanistan announcement is pretty ridiculous, and I’m sure the WHCA will make some noise about it.”
Some scribes have bigger fish to fry
While most say the arrangement isn’t fair, not all reporters are seething about it, not everyone is seething. “Better than nothing,” said one correspondent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But it seems pointless on something like this not to let the pool in.”
Even CBS White House Radio Correspondent Mark Knoller, who’s never afraid to speak up, isn’t dying to take this one on.
“Happens all the time,” he wrote to FishbowlDC. “Sixteen of the 30 fundraising events President Obama has done so far this year are ‘print pool only.’ More important to expand coverage of his political events than a straightforward address to the nation we all see and hear. There are bigger battles to be fought.”
Say hello to USA Today‘s David Jackson and the guy responsible for this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. He’s the president. He’s the one who had to field all the irate phone calls from media organizations that didn’t get the number of tables they wanted. There were 100 more requests for tables than were possible to accommodate. He said he wasn’t cussed at, but assured us it wasn’t pleasant. “We did what we could,” he told me. This year’s entertainment, SNL’s Seth Meyers, was his first choice. (So if Meyers bombs be sure to email, call and tweet.) Jackson, a pleasant curmudgeon of an interview, wouldn’t bother telling me who was on the short list in case Meyers declined. He claimed not to have watched Lifetime’s “William and Kate” movie of the week, though suspiciously he knew exactly what I was talking about. He was also tight-lipped about saying who those angry callers were. Read on.
If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Classic Coke.
How often do you Google yourself? Never (I sometimes Yahoo myself to retrieve a story I have written).
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? Both answers are unprintable.
Who is your favorite working journalist? I have one, but naming that person would annoy the dozens who finished in a tie for second place.
Do you have a favorite word? Not one, no.
Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? Both at the same time.
What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Vibrate. Vibrate
When did you last cry and why? When David Broder passed away.
What word do you routinely misspell? Judgement.
What swear word do you use most often? The f one, I’m afraid.
What word or phrase do you overuse? I’ll be interested to see …
What TV show do you have to watch? Mad Men
Where do you shop most often for your clothes? Joseph A. Bank
Whom do you prefer for daytime talk, Dr. Phil, Ellen, Oprah, Tyra or the women of The View? With all due respect: None.
Pick one: Leno, Letterman or Conan? Letterman.
Who is your mentor? Carl Leubsdorf
What’s the best advice you ever received in the course of your career? “Just work your ass off” — Dick Schaap told me that when I was in grad school; I don’t want to reveal the year.
Find out why Jackson last lost his temper? It involves FishbowlDC…
From L to R: Budding Fashion Reporters Jocelyn Luddy and Reilly Folsom.
WHCA President David Jackson (USA Today) and NYT’s Mark Leibovich
What’s a party with Washington’s media elite without bourbon, beer, wine, Food Truck quality mac ‘n cheese and 11-year-old fashionistas to put guests in the hot seat?
The view from the American Gas Association offered guests a perfect shot of the Capitol. The crowd at last night’s WHCD party thrown by QGA and FD blended White House correspondents like CNN’s Ed Henry, Ebony‘s Kevin Chappell, The Hill‘s Sam Youngman and USA Today‘s David Jackson , USA Radio Network’s Connie Lawn, and Politico’s Julie Mason with Fortune‘s Tory Newmyer, Politico‘s Amie Parnes, RealClearPolitics‘ Erin McPike, Roll Call‘s John Stanton and NYT‘s Carl Hulse. Let’s just get one thing straight: NYT‘s Mark Leibovich has heard all the “bcc” jokes out there. And yours will not be special. Welcome to the first party leading into WHCD weekend.
The food was catered by D.C. food trucks of lore CapMac and Sauca and guests were dying over the mac ‘n cheese. Dessert was Good Humor ice cream bars from a cart complete with an umbrella. One partygoer remarked that the party could have been held on an outside corner. But a party outside wouldn’t have allowed for the two-station open bar, where bartenders made unsolicited repeat drinks for many of the journos. One guest called one of the bartenders “the motherf*cking man.”
Other guests in the crowd: QGA’s Jack Quinn and wife, Susanna, FD’s Jackson Dunn, Stacey Bowlin, Jared Allen and Mary Kathryn Cover, Terry McAuliffe, QGA and FBDC’s Matt Dornic, WaPo‘s Amy Argetsinger, SELF’s Marc Adelman, Pamela Sorensen of Pamela’s Punch, The Hill‘s Christina Wilkie and Emily Goodin, CNN Publicist Edie Emery and Megan Grant and TWT’s Emily Miller.
Miller said WHCD week makes her feel like an awkward teenager. “It brings out the worst 16-year-old in me,” Miller said, explaining that her worries go like this: ‘”Why wasn’t I invited to that party?’ or ‘Was I too fat for this dress?’” She adds, “At least I was invited to the pre-pre-pre-pre-pre party.”
The fashionistas at the party were Jocelyn Luddy (daughter to Jack and Susanna) and her friend, Reilly Folsom, who were testing out their journalistic skills by interviewing female party guests and Adelman. They’re trying out for a fashion blog out of San Fran called StyleBistro.com. They asked their subjects questions about what uniform they’d want for work if they had to have one and what styles they missed and didn’t.
The girls in flowered skirts and white T-shirts weren’t amateurs. They had practiced their questions for days. They cajoled by saying funny things like, “Come on, I want all the deets.” As the pair interviewed USA Today‘s Jackie Kucinich, the whole scene became so focused that photographers like Roll Call‘s Tom Williams began snapping pictures of the interview. Afterwards, Kucinich and Argetsinger (also interviewed by the girls) second-guessed their answers that involved Pappagallo purses and culottes.
Alec Jacob contributed to this report.
More pictures and guests after the jump…
USA Today Bureau Chief Susan Page and president of this year’s Gridiron’s Dinner has sent a letter to WHCA President and colleague David Jackson this morning about a policy change. After complaints at last month’s Gridiron Dinner that the White House press pool wasn’t allowed to cover President Obama’s remarks, they’ve decided change is in order. The rule has been set in stone for 126 years.
Don’t get too excited C-SPAN (and ex-MSNBCer David Shuster): the ban on photos and video remains.
“This has been the practice of the Gridiron Club since, well, forever,” Page explained in an e-mail. “But we took another look at the issue and have decided to change our policy. We will now welcome the print pooler to cover speeches at the dinner by the President or Vice President (who sometimes acts as the evening’s final speaker, when the President can’t make it). Our ban on photos and video remains.”
See Page’s letter to Jackson…
TIPS FROM THE POOL…INTO THE DEEP END
This morning, USA TODAY’s White House Correspondent David Jackson did some weather reporting mid-Pool Report. They call this a “walk-over” Pool Report. He wrote:
In 25 degree temperature, your pool huddled on Pennsylvania Avenue at 9:21 a.m., just beyond the Northwest Gate for the walk over to Blair House.
En route, the pool encountered Valerie Jarrett and Austan Goolsbee walking down the circular driveway. When the subject of the weather came up, the coatless Goolsbee played the old ‘I’m-from-Chicago’ card. “This is like spring time,” he said.
Notes from a meeting of the White House Correspondents’ Association…
*Fewer tables will be available per news organization at next year’s dinner. (Watch out. This year’s numbers were contentious enough, just ask former WHCA President Ed Chen, who was threatened with a lawsuit that was filed and “caused a lot of headaches,” Chen asserted.).
*CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry, WHCA prez-elect, (USA Today’s David Jackson is currently president; Henry is a board member who will assume the presidency in August 2012.) gets members of the board to approve an increase of $25 for dinner ticket prices. Tickets now cost $250.
*The dinner will support a program that mentors inner city D.C. students.
A progressive group called CREDO Action is trying to persuade the White House Correspondents’ Association that Fox News is not a legitimate news organization and should not get former White House scribe Helen Thomas‘s front row seat. The board meets Sunday to decide.
Becky Bond, the group’s political director, wrote a scathing letter to members of the WHCA board – they want NPR to get the seat. Bond says that 189,000 people have signed a position saying that “Fox News is a right-wing propaganda operation.”
But Washington Examiner‘s White House correspondent Julie Mason, a WHCA board member, wasn’t impressed. “Smearing our colleagues like this isn’t terribly persuasive,” Mason told FishbowlDC. “The reporters, producers and photographers from Fox News assigned to the White House are some of the best and well-respected in the business. Bloomberg, Fox and NPR made strong cases for moving up in the briefing room, I’m sure the board will have a good debate.”
FishbowlDC has reached out to Fox News PR on this matter. Should we get a response we’ll bring it to you.
Read the anti-Fox News letter after the jump…
(And find out more on CREDO Action – as in, what is it?)
In a memo to the White House Correspondents Association this afternoon, David Jackson advised that the association’s board plans to make final decisions by August 2nd about the White House briefing room seat left vacant by Helen Thomas. You’ll remember that both Fox News and Bloomberg are lobbying for the front-row seat. Memo obtained by FishbowlDC below:
Sent: Monday, July 19, 2010 12:45 PM
Subject: Briefing Room Seating
The 2010-2011 Board of the White House Correspondents’ Association held its first meeting today and agreed to consider new seating requests for the James S. Brady Briefing Room.
After a brief evaluation period, the board hopes to make final seating decisions at a special meeting on Aug. 2.
David Jackson, President