RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley, a Missouri native, on Thursday sent a letter to Missouri Governor Michael Parson reading, in part:
"During times of wide-spread emergency, particularly catastrophic public health crises, citizens have a critical need for timely, accurate information. Journalists play an essential role in that process, by asking questions on behalf of the people in the communities they serve."
Governor Parsons is one of many state and local officials across the country who have been conducting news conferences virtually – thereby limiting news media questions to those emailed prior to briefings and selected in advance by officials, with no opportunity to follow up and every opportunity to screen questions.
The letter asked Governor Parson to allow safe in person access to briefings by news media.
RTDNA is gratified that the governor announced Sunday two of five briefings this week will be conducted in person.
In response to the change, Shelley says, “Progress, but not enough, governor!”
RTDNA has issued standards for safe and accessible news briefings during coronavirus, available here.