RTDNA calls for White House press access, transparency

November 16, 2016 01:30

RTDNA has joined the White House Correspondents Association and more than a dozen other journalism organizations, calling on President-Elect Donald Trump to commit to a protective press pool and to instill a spirit of openness and transparency in the White House.

In a letter sent to the president-elect, the groups urged Trump to honor the tradition of the press pool as a mark of respect to his constituents, who should be able to know what their president is doing.

The letter goes on to call for regular press conferences by the president and key members of the administration, to set the tone for staff speaking on the record and for the sake of transparency. "We also hope your administration will improve response rates to FOIA requests as a way to show the American people, and the world, that the republic belongs to the people," the letter adds.

The full letter is below:
 
Dear President-elect Trump,
 
We, a group of diverse journalism associations representing thousands of journalists from the nation's capital to every corner of the country, begin this letter on a hopeful note. Your administration is a blank slate and we are eager to work with you to perpetuate one of this nation's great strengths: our freedom of the press. 
 
As the new leader of the free world, we expect that you will preserve longstanding traditions that ensure coverage of the Trump presidency. The idea of a press pool that covers all of the president's movements is one that dates back to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration. Every president of both parties has treated this important tradition with respect. The role of the press pool is critically important to our country, whose citizens depend on and deserve to know what the president is doing. This isn't about access for the press itself, it's about access for Americans in diverse communities across the country. Your constituents receive information from a variety of platforms to learn about what our president is doing.
 
Being president is an enormous responsibility and working with the White House Correspondents’ Association to ensure journalists' access is one small but important part of that. We call on you to commit to a protective press pool from now until the final day of your presidency. We respectfully ask you to instill a spirit of openness and transparency in your administration in many ways but first and foremost via the press pool. 
 
We also call for access to you via regular press conferences and pool sprays and to your key decision-makers. You have an opportunity as incoming president to set the tone for your staff speaking on the record for the sake of transparency. We also hope your administration will improve response rates to FOIA requests as a way to show the American people, and the world, that the republic belongs to the people.

A great America depends on having sunlight on its leaders. We expect the traditions of White House press coverage to be upheld whether in Washington or elsewhere. Again we, a joint group of diverse journalism associations, speak as one as we respectfully ask that you take these steps to ensure access to our members covering your administration.

Thomas Burr
President
The National Press Club
 
Barbara Cochran
President
National Press Club Journalism Institute
 
Lynn Walsh
President
Society of Professional Journalists
 
Mizell Stewart III
President
American Society of News Editors
                   
Mike Cavender
Executive Director
Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation
 
Delphine Halgand
US Director
Reporters Without Borders/RSF
 
Courtney Radsch
Advocacy Director
Committee to Protect Journalists

Sandy K. Johnson
President
National Press Foundation

Sarah Glover
President
National Association of Black Journalists
 
Brandon Benavides
President, Board of Directors
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
 
Bryan Pollard
President
Native American Journalists Association
 
Paul Cheung
President
Asian American Journalists Association
 
Jen Christensen
President
National Association of LGBTQ Journalists
 
Elisa Lees Munoz
Executive director
The International Women's Media Foundation
 
Allison Sherry
President
Regional Reporters Association