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Jeff Mason

Jef Mason

White House Correspondents win DW Freedom of Speech Award

May 3, 2017: The journalists of the White House Correspondents' Association have been awarded DW's 2017 Freedom of Speech Award. DW said the WHCA had established a new benchmark in holding US leadership accountable. Deutsche Welle announced the award Wednesday, saying the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) had maintained high standards in its reporting, despite facing allegations of "fake news" by the US president himself. "The White House Correspondents' Association is a guarantor for the control of those in power," DW Director General Peter Limbourg said. "We have complete trust in the democracy in the United States of America. This entails that we are reliant on a strong media." READ MORE ON DW.COM

WHCA statement on press briefings 5/12/17

White House briefings and press conferences provide substantive and symbolic opportunities for journalists to pose questions to officials at the highest levels of the U.S. government. That exercise, conducted in full view of our republic's citizens, is clearly in line with the spirit of the First Amendment. Doing away with briefings would reduce accountability, transparency, and the opportunity for Americans to see that, in the U.S. system, no political figure is above being questioned. The White House Correspondents' Association would object to any move that would threaten those constitutionally-protected principles.

-Jeff Mason, WHCA president

White House Correspondents' Association Announces 2017 Scholars

The White House Correspondents' Association is pleased to announce its 2017 scholarship winners in partnership with Columbia University, the George Washington University, Howard University, Northwestern University, Ohio University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Maryland and the University of Missouri.

The 23 winners will be recognized at the association's annual dinner on April 29.

"We are thrilled to recognize these outstanding scholarship winners, who represent the future of our profession and illustrate the importance of fighting for First Amendment freedoms," said Jeff Mason, WHCA president and White House Correspondent for Reuters. "We look forward to celebrating them at the White House Correspondents' Dinner and watching them as they progress in their careers."

The scholarship winners are:

Columbia University

Riham Alkousaa of Damascus, Syria, is the recipient of a $5,000 tuition grant.

She is a Palestinian Syrian journalist who most recently worked in Berlin for Cicero, a monthly German magazine. She was previously a fellow at ARA (Associated Reporters Abroad) and has been published in USA Today, Global Post, and Alfanar Media. Following graduation from Damascus University in 2012, Riham worked for several Arab and Syrian media outlets such as Sham FM, Barakabits, Aliqtisadi and the SOS Children's Villages website. Riham earned a BA and a first Master's Degree in media and mass communications at Damascus University. She is attending Columbia's Journalism School for a second MA.

The George Washington University

Teniola Ayomide Ayoola of Bowie, Maryland, is the recipient of a $2,500 scholarship as part of a partnership between WHCA and GW, where she is a senior in the School of Media and Public Affairs. She grew up in Lagos, Nigeria before moving to the United States. An interest in global news led to a year-long internship with the BBC News in Washington DC where she helped cover the 2016 election. She's had a summer internship with the BBC Bureau in Lagos, Nigeria and participated in a short-term study abroad program on Globalization and the Media at the American University of Paris. She hopes to work with the Immigrant Justice Corps in New York.

Howard University

Anthony B. Brown, Jr., of Alexandria, Virginia, is the winner of the Harry S. McAlpin, Jr. Scholarship, a one-time award of $7,000. Brown, a junior, has experience in television, high fashion, celebrity interviews, photography, restaurant reviews and marketing. He has written for numerous publications, worked in public relations, volunteered in the area of educational counseling and worked at the Democratic National Convention. A docent at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Anthony also worked as a volunteer during the Flint water crisis.

Beryl C. Kessio of Harvest, Alabama, and Merdie Nzanga of Seattle, Washington, each are winners of a White House Correspondents' Association scholarship with a one-time award of $7,000. Beryl Kessio was born in Kenya and moved to Alabama with her family when she was five. She has native proficiency in Swahili and is the recipient of multiple awards and honors. Beryl has worked as a staff writer at the Morocco World News in Rabat, as a mentor with young girls, advocated for student mental health programs and volunteered at Martha's Table in DC. Merdie is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, gaining experience in research, writing, video editing, reporting and interviewing. Merdie is fluent in French, aspiring to be a foreign news correspondent. Merdie has visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo and hopes her work will help to dispel misconceptions about the African continent.

Northwestern University - Deborah Orin Scholarship

Nia Prater of Abington, Pennsylvania, and Maryam Salah of Tampa, Florida, are the winners of Deborah Orin Scholarship, named for the late White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for the New York Post. Each will receive $5,000. Nia has reported on the 2017 inauguration, the Women's March, and President Trump's address to a joint session of Congress. Upon graduation, Nia hopes to report on national politics. She is currently an intern at Roll Call, conducting research and writing short political articles for online publication. Maryam has reported on Syrian conflicts, Chicago's Syrian refugee population and community perspectives on the 2016 political campaigns. She is currently based in the District of Columbia where her reporting focuses on immigration, national security and President Trump. She looks forward to a career as a long-form journalist.

Northwestern University

Alejandro (Alex) Ortiz of Romeoville, Illinois, is the recipient of a $5,000 WHCA tuition grant toward a post-graduate degree in the government and public affairs reporting track. Alex is interested in social justice and investigative reporting. Alex graduated with High Honors in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, making the Dean's List for four years. Alex has experience in sports broadcasting, reporting, editing, photography, video and social media platforms. He earned a Public Relations Certificate and is the recipient of multiple academic scholarships, awards and grants.

Ohio University

Megan Henry of Toledo, Ohio; Catherine (Cat) Hofacker of Fremont, Ohio; and Marisa Fernandez of Canton, Ohio, are each the recipient of a $4,000 scholarship.

Since freshman year Megan has been a stringer or staff member of Ohio's independent newspaper, The Post. Her peers voted her "Best Rookie of the Year" in 2014-15. This summer she will intern with the Columbus Dispatch. Megan is particularly interested in covering issues of higher education. Cat has worked for a variety of local media, including OU's Compass and Ohio Today publications. She interned at The Athens NEWS, a twice-weekly newspaper in Athens, Ohio. She is now the editor-in-chief of The New Political, a student-run digital publication that covers campus, local, state and national politics. Marisa is now a senior writer and editor of the culture section of The Post. She was instrumental in helping create the Scripps Hispanic Network, a professional organization for Hispanic students in communications and journalism. This summer she will intern in New York at CBS. In the future, Marisa hopes to cover foreign affairs and tech news.

University of California, Berkeley

Sawsan Morrar of Sacramento, California, is the recipient of a $5,000 grant toward a post-graduate degree in the government and public affairs reporting track. Sawsan has been interested in public policy and its impact on diverse communities since covering the state capitol in Sacramento for the online publication, Capitol Weekly. She has since been a producer with Sacramento's NPR affiliate, Capital Public Radio and is currently freelancing, reporting on local politics and legislation. She also hosts youth workshops aimed at correcting misrepresentations of Muslim-Americans in the media.

University of Maryland

Becca King of Baltimore, Maryland, is representing the winners of the Frank Cormier scholarship, a $20,000 award that is divided among 4 students at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Becca is pursuing a double degree in broadcast journalism and government & politics. She works as a general production intern for WJLA-TV in Washington as well as production crew chief and director for Capitol News Service's Maryland Newsline. Among several awards for her work, one from the Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recognized a piece called "Growing Together" highlighting a local farm that employs adults with intellectual disabilities. Becca plans a career in broadcast news production.

University of Missouri

The following graduate students are each recipients of $3,000 grant to study in Washington for a semester: Adam Aton of Alpharetta, Georgia; Jinghong Chen of Tianjin, China; Brittany Crocker of Knoxville, Tennessee; Ye Han (Jasmine) of Suzhou, China; Kasia Kovacs of Mountain Grove, Missouri; Molly Olmstead of Gulf Shores, Alabama; Jill Ornitz of Trumbull, Connecticut; Kouichi Shirayanagi of San Mateo, California; Francisco Vara-Orta of San Antonio, Texas; Xuejiao Wang of Qinhuangdao, China.

Adam Aton works at the DC bureau of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where he covers Missouri and Illinois congressional delegations and the impact of national events on the St. Louis region. He has worked as a producer for the Global Journalist radio program and covered the European Parliament in Brussels. He worked as an assistant city editor at the Columbia Missourian and is a Missouri School of Journalism Walter Williams Scholar.

Jinghong Chen spent a semester in Washington with Al Jazeera English where she worked for a social media-oriented program called "The Stream." She researched both national and international issues and helped cover the recent presidential election. She has previous experience working for The New York Times Chinese and Global Journalist.

Brittany Crocker participated in Missouri's Washington program in the fall of 2016, working in the Investigative Reporting workshop of NPR member station WAMU. She investigated and reported on prosecutorial misconduct in the District of Columbia. She is now a reporter for the Knoxville News Sentinel, part of the USA Today Network. Brittany has been a podcast host for NPR member station WUOT and reported on local government, crime and public safety for the Columbia Missourian.

Jasmine Han earned a Bachelor of Art degree in English from Sun Yat-sen University in China and a Master's Degree from the University of Missouri in 2016. She participated in Missouri's Washington program last fall at the Investigative Reporting Workshop. Her work included data analysis and an investigative story about a state environmental agency. She has been an assistant data analyst at the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) based at the Missouri School of Journalism. Jasmine is now a data journalist at Bloomberg BNA.

Kasia Kovacs is a reporter at the International Business Times in New York. She covers the labor beat, breaking news and Donald Trump. Kasia received her Master's Degree in Journalism from Missouri this past December, emphasizing investigative reporting. She covered the Mizzou campus protests as a projects reporter for the Columbian Missourian and has written for Inside Higher Ed and The Kansas City Star.

Molly Olmstead expects to receive her Master's Degree in Journalism from Missouri this May, majoring in magazine journalism. She participated in Missouri's Washington program working at Slate Magazine, writing blog posts and assisting with various editorial tasks. While an undergrad at the University of Alabama and in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Molly wrote for several local newspapers and magazines.

Jill Ornitz is a DC-based public policy reporter who covers healthcare and financial policies. While participating in Missouri's Washington program, Jill worked for the Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau where she covered the presidential election and handled digital production responsibilities. Her work also appeared in other Tronc newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun. She has also reported for ABC News and CBS St. Louis Radio, KMOX.

Kouichi Shirayanagi completed a Master's Degree at the Missouri School of Journalism in December, following fall participation in Missouri's Washington program as an intern at Reuters. He is now a reporter in New York for the commercial real estate portal Bisnow. Kouichi has also completed an internship with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Francisco Vara-Orta is presently in DC participating in Missouri's Washington program, working at Education Week as a general assignment reporter on data and investigative projects. Francisco has 15 years' prior experience in professional newsrooms and has published by the LA Times, Austin Business Journal, Houston Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman, San Antonio Express-News, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, Nieman Storyboard, Education Week and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Xuejiao Wang earned a Bachelor's Degree in English from Nanjing Tech University and a first Master's Degree in International Journalism at the Communication University of China. She moved to the US in 2015. Xuejiao is in DC as part of Missouri's Washington program where she works on a data-driven investigative project at the Investigative Reporting Workshop (IRW.) Her responsibilities include researching, data analysis, interviewing and data reporting.

For more information, contact Steve Thomma


White House Correspondents' Association ANNOUNCES ENTERTAINER FOR THE 2017 DINNER
April 11, 2017

WASHINGTON - The White House Correspondents' Association is delighted to announce that Hasan Minhaj, a brilliant comedian and Senior Correspondent on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah," will be the entertainer at our annual dinner on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

"I am thrilled that Hasan will serve as our featured entertainer at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner," said Jeff Mason, WHCA president and White House Correspondent for Reuters. "Hasan's smarts, big heart and passion for press freedom make him the perfect fit for our event, which will be focused on the First Amendment and the importance of a robust and independent media.

"The White House Correspondents' Dinner, which U.S. presidents have attended for decades, supports the work of the WHCA. Proceeds fund the organization and go toward scholarships and awards aimed at promoting aspiring journalists and recognizing excellence in the journalism profession.

"It is a tremendous honor to be a part of such a historic event even though the president has chosen not to attend this year. SAD! Now more than ever, it is vital that we honor the First Amendment and the freedom of the press," said Minhaj.

The WHCA represents the White House press corps in its dealings with the administration and advocates for journalists' ability to see and report on the president and his staff.

CONTACT For more information, please contact Jeff Mason at jeff.mason@thomsonreuters.com.


White House Correspondents’ Association Announces 2017 Award winners

Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein to speak and present awards at White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 29.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE The White House Correspondents' Association is pleased to announce that Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post, Edward Isaac-Dovere of Politico, and David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post are the winners of our 2017 journalism awards.

The awards will be presented by journalism icons Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday, April 29 at the Washington Hilton. "The WHCA congratulates our award winners and looks forward to honoring them at our annual dinner, which will be a celebration of the First Amendment and good journalism," said Jeff Mason, WHCA president and White House Correspondent for Reuters. "No one is better suited to speak about the importance of a free and independent press than Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. We are delighted they accepted our invitation to present these prestigious awards."

The WHCA represents the White House press corps in its dealings with the administration and advocates for journalists' ability to see and report on the president and his staff. Here are the details of the awards:

Aldo Beckman Memorial Award Winner: Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post. Remarks from the judges: "Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post chronicled the waning days of the Obama presidency with stories focused on his speeches and policies that contrasted the realities of 2016 with the hopes of 2008. In reflecting on President Obama's major themes, Jaffe struck an elegiac note. He showed how profound the political divide has become with the starkly different reactions of two Americans to Obama's final State of the Union address. He probed the uneasiness lying beneath the administration's drone program. Above all, Jaffe wrote about why a president's words can have an enormous impact." The prize, for presidential news coverage, recognizes a correspondent who personifies the journalistic excellence as well as the personal qualities exemplified by Aldo Beckman, the award-winning correspondent of the Chicago Tribune and former WHCA president. It includes an award of $1,000.

Merriman Smith Award for outstanding White House coverage under deadline

Print Winner: Edward-Isaac Dovere of Politico. There was no winner in broadcast journalism this year.

The judges found that Dovere's March 21, 2016, coverage of the historic press conference of President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro demonstrated the importance of having reporters on the ground. His up-close narrative -- the final posted 90 minutes after the conference wrapped -- offered the context and insight that comes from knowing your material. Judges also appreciated the journalist's wry take in a year when humor was appreciated. The award was conceived in memory of the late Merriman Smith of United Press International, a White House correspondent for more than 30 years and to promote the excellence he brought to his profession. It includes an award of $2,500.

Edgar A. Poe Award Winner: David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post. Remarks from the judges: "David Fahrenthold took the simple question of whether Donald Trump is the philanthropist he claims to be and told a story that showed more about the candidate's character than any campaign debate or rallies could ever do. His work was steady, thorough and factual -- and a display of investigative reporting at its best. His creative use of crowd-sourced information that he continued to gather made the story richer and showed the American people were paying attention." The prize of $2,500 is funded by the WHCA and the New Orleans Times-Picayune honor of their distinguished correspondent Edgar A. Poe. Mr. Poe is a former WHCA president.

Honorable Mentions:

CBS' 48 Hours

Remarks from the judges: "At a time when the American people were divided and raw over the gun debate, 48 Hours' 'Bringing A Nation Together' took on this polarizing subject and made headway in showing its audience a path forward. It was stunningly shot and produced and demonstrated that long-form television journalism is very much alive and important. It shows what television can do when time, focus and care are brought to bear on an emotional and searing issue and counters the narrative that the only thing media can do is divide and report through the most superficial of lenses."

International Consortium of Journalists and Center for Public Integrity - Panama Papers

Remarks from the judges: "Breathtaking in its scope, this project set a standard for international journalistic cooperation. We can only hope that the future brings more efforts like this."

CONTACT For more information, please contact Jeff Mason at jeff.mason@thomsonreuters.com.

April 3 , 2017 STATEMENT: Announcing the new WHCA executive director

Dear WHCA members,

I am pleased to share with you today that the White House Correspondents' Association has hired a new executive director to succeed Julia Whiston, who is stepping down in May after two decades of stellar service. After conducting a nationwide search, fielding over 100 applications and conducting interviews with more than 10 candidates, we are happy to announce that Steve Thomma, former White House Correspondent and former Politics and Government Editor at McClatchy, will be taking over as executive director of the WHCA next month. Like Julie, Steve will report to the WHCA board and help us carry out our mission of pushing for press access at the White House, administering our student scholarship and mentorship program, and planning our annual dinner.

Steve is uniquely qualified for this role. Having served both as a board member and as board president, he is intimately familiar with the work of the White House press corps and our association. He is an award-winning journalist, having received the Gerald R. Ford Foundation's Prize for Distinguished Reporting in 2010 and the Aldo Beckman Memorial Award in 2000. You would be hard-pressed to find someone more passionate about what we do.

Steve has a wealth of ideas about how to help the association move forward and is eager to support the board and our membership in as many ways as he can. He will start in the WHCA office this week, shadowing and assisting Julie as she helps to plan her final White House Correspondents' Dinner as executive director. I will have more to say about her phenomenal contributions to the association in the coming weeks. For now, please join me in welcoming Steve to this role and let us know if you have any questions.

-Jeff Mason, WHCA president


March 28, 2017 STATEMENT

Dear members,

The White House informed the White House Correspondents' Association this evening that White House staff will not be attending this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner out of "solidarity" with President Trump, who has previously announced that he would skip the event. The WHCA board regrets this decision very much. We have worked hard to build a constructive relationship with the Trump White House and believe strongly that this goal is possible even with the natural tension between the press and administrations that is a hallmark of a healthy republic. We made clear in our meeting tonight that President Trump, Vice President Pence, and White House staff continue to be welcome to join us at this dinner. Only the White House can speak to the signal it wants to send with this decision. But our signal is clear: We will celebrate the First Amendment on April 29 and look forward to acknowledging the important work of our terrific members and awarding scholarships to students who represent the next generation of our profession.

Jeff Mason, WHCA president


Subject: WHCA statement on the 2017 White House Correspondents' dinner

The White House Correspondents' Association looks forward to having its annual dinner on April 29. The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump's announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic. We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession.

-Jeff Mason, WHCA president


The WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today's gaggle is being handled by the White House. We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.

-Jeff Mason, WHCA President


Subject: Note to members about this year's WHCA dinner

To our members: We've received some queries about the 2017 White House Correspondents' Dinner, which will be the first since the new administration took office. The White House Correspondents' Association will hold its annual dinner on April 29 at the Washington Hilton. This year, as we do every year, we will celebrate the First Amendment and the role an independent press plays in a healthy republic. We will also reward some of the finest political reporting of the past year while using our scholarship program to highlight and support up-and-coming journalists who are the future of our profession. In the meantime, the WHCA will pursue its core mission of advocating for journalists' ability to ask questions of government officials, push for transparency from the presidency, and help Americans hold the powerful to account. This is a responsibility that we have taken seriously for more than 100 years and will continue to uphold.

-Jeff Mason, WHCA president


Subject: WHCA statement on meeting with Sean Spicer

On behalf of the White House Correspondents' Association, I met with incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer today. We had a constructive, nearly 2-hour meeting. We discussed his interest in increasing participation in White House briefings when President-elect Donald Trump takes office. That has sparked his team to consider moving daily briefings out of the White House's James S. Brady Press Briefing Room to a larger facility on the White House complex.

The White House Correspondents' Association has always advocated for increasing access and transparency for the benefit of all news outlets and the public.

I emphasized the importance of the White House press briefing room and noted that it is open to all journalists who seek access now.

I made clear that the WHCA would view it as unacceptable if the incoming administration sought to move White House reporters out of the press work space behind the press briefing room. Access in the West Wing to senior administration officials, including the press secretary, is critical to transparency and to journalists' ability to do their jobs.

Sean agreed to discuss any additional changes that the incoming administration considers with the WHCA ahead of time.

Sean expressed concern that journalists adhere to a high level of decorum at press briefings and press conferences. I made clear that the WHCA would object, always, to a reporter being thrown out of a briefing or press conference.

The WHCA looks forward to having a constructive relationship with the president-elect's press team and to standing up for the rights of a free press to report vigorously on the new administration.

-Jeff Mason, WHCA president


JANUARY 11, 2017 - White House Correspondents' Association JOURNALISM AWARDS

The White House Correspondents' Association is presenting three major journalism awards at the annual dinner on April 29, 2017, to recognize distinguished reporting. The awards are among the most prestigious in our field. Prizes range from $1,000 to $2,500. You are encouraged to review your 2016 reporting and consider entering the competition. The three contests are open to print and broadcast journalists.

The Merriman Smith Award ($2,500) recognizes presidential news coverage under deadline pressure, with separate awards for print and broadcast journalists. Broadcast tapes also may be submitted with scripts.

The Aldo Beckman Award ($1,000) recognizes repeated excellence in White House coverage, with a single award for either a print or broadcast journalist. Entries may be in the form of clippings, original material, wire copy printouts, photocopies or broadcast scripts. Online entries must be original Web content. Broadcast tapes also may be submitted with scripts.

The Edgar A. Poe Award ($2,500) recognizes excellence in coverage of news of national or regional significance, with a single award for either a print or broadcast journalist. Entries may be in the form of clippings, original material, wire copy printouts, photocopies or online entries. Broadcast tapes also may be submitted. Online entries must be original Web content.


December 22, 2016 - WHCA STATEMENT

Subject: [WHCA Supplemental] [WH Pool] Statement from the WHCA on President-elect Trump's communications team appointments

The White House Correspondents' Association congratulates Sean Spicer on his appointment today as President-elect Trump's White House press secretary. We also congratulate Hope Hicks, Jason Miller, and Dan Scavino on their appointments to the president-elect's communications team. We look forward to working with all of them in the months ahead.

-Jeff Mason, WHCA president

December 14, 2016 - WHCA STATEMENT

[WHCA Supplemental] [WH Pool] Statement by WHCA President Jeff Mason about Briefing Room seating

The White House Correspondents' Association notes with concern the comments President-elect Donald Trump's chief of staff-designate Reince Priebus made on today's Hugh Hewitt program. There was a notable factual inaccuracy in Mr Priebus's remarks: News organizations have had assigned seats in the briefing room since those seats were installed in 1981. That was not an Obama-era innovation as Mr. Priebus suggested. The WHCA assumed responsibility for assigning the seats in the briefing room over the last two decades at the request of both Republican and Democratic administrations, who were mindful of the potential appearance of playing favorites if they assigned the seats themselves. The WHCA looks forward to meeting with the incoming administration to address questions and concerns on both sides about exactly this sort of issue.

-Jeff Mason, WHCA President

November 16, 2016 - WHCA STATEMENT

On Tuesday President-elect Trump went out for dinner in New York without a pool of journalists in his motorcade and after reporters were advised that he was in for the night. One week after the election, it is unacceptable for the next president of the United States to travel without a regular pool to record his movements and inform the public about his whereabouts. The White House Correspondents' Association is pleased to hear reassurances by the Trump transition team that it will respect long-held traditions of press access at the White House and support a pool structure. But the time to act on that promise is now. Pool reporters are in place in New York to cover the president-elect as he assembles his new administration. It is critical that they be allowed to do their jobs.

–Jeff Mason, WHCA president

November 14, 2016 - WHCA STATEMENT

The White House Correspondents' Association is deeply concerned by President-elect Donald Trump's decision to reject the practice of traveling with a "protective pool" of reporters for his first visit to Washington since the election. In addition to breaking with decades of historical precedent and First Amendment principles, this decision could leave Americans blind about his whereabouts and well-being in the event of a national crisis. A pool of reporters is in place and ready to cover President-elect Trump. The WHCA urges President-elect Trump to allow it to do its job, including being present for motorcade movements, meetings, and other interactions. Not allowing a pool of journalists to travel with and cover the next president of the United States is unacceptable.

-Jeff Mason, WHCA president

Ballots were counted at the WHCA offices on July 14, 2016. A total of 217 ballots were cast; none were ruled invalid for failing to follow proper procedure and 217 were counted by President Jeff Mason, along with Carol Lee, president, 2015-16; Caren Bohan, president, 2011-12; and Carl Cannon, president 2003-04.
PRESIDENT 2018-2019
Olivier Knox, Yahoo News  

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News           

Zeke Miller, TIME                                       

Alicia Jennings, NBC News 

July 14, 2016

The White House Correspondentsí Association is alarmed by the treatment of the press in the 2016 presidential campaign. READ THE USATODAY OP-ED


July 13, 2016

We are seeking to partner with a major university with a record of presidential scholarship and/or an academic commitment to the teaching of journalism to assist us in both developing and expanding a searchable database of print pool reports. These reports document the day-to-day, and in some cases the hour-to-hour, activities of the President of the United States as witnessed by journalists covering the White House. They are the indispensable first page in the history of those that have served in the White House. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 31, 2016. For more details, DOWNLOAD THE RFP (pdf).


scholarship mentoring
photo/Gabriella Riccordi

The WHCA sponsors some $100,000 in scholarships that are awarded at our annual dinner every year. In 2016, to go beyond just awarding funds, the board started a mentorship program that paired up students with members of the association for career advice and counsel. The program was a big success.



June 14, 2016

The White House Correspondents' Association stands with the Washington Post and numerous other news outlets that Donald Trump has arbitrarily banned from his campaign events.

Any nominee for the highest office in the country must respect the role of a free and adversarial press, not disown the principles of the First Amendment just because he or she does not like the tone or content of their coverage.

-- Carol Lee, President, WHCA




Visit the DINNER, AWARDS, SCHOLARSHIPS, and the 2016 SLIDESHOW pages for in-depth coverage of this year's dinner.
© Mary F. Calvert Photography

White House Correspondents' Association™ Announces 2016 JOURNALISM AWARDS

The White House Correspondents' Association, founded in 1914 and dedicated to full coverage of the President of the United States, is proud to announce the winners of its annual awards for distinguished print and broadcast journalism.

The winner of the Aldo Beckman Memorial Award for excellence in White House coverage is Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal.

The winner of the Merriman Smith Award for outstanding White House coverage under deadline pressure is Matt Viser of the Boston Globe. The winner of the Merriman Smith award for broadcast journalism is Norah O'Donnell of CBS News.

The Edgar A. Poe awards, which recognizes excellence in coverage of events or investigative topics of regional or national interest, will be shared this year by Terrence McCoy of The Washington Post and Neela Banerjee, John Cushman Jr., David Hasemyer and Lisa Song of InsideClimate News.

The Edgar A. Poe Award

The Edgar A. Poe Award honors excellence in news coverage of subjects and events of significant national or regional importance, written with fairness and objectivity. A prize of $2,500 was established by the New Orleans Times-Picayune and Newhouse Newspapers in honor of their distinguished correspondent, Edgar A. Poe.

From the Judges on Terrence McCoy of The Washington Post: After African-American Freddie Gray died in police custody in Baltimore, McCoy investigated the fact overlooked by others that Gray ingested lead paint as a child, leaving him permanently disabled. McCoy learned Gray was among tens of thousands of poor black Baltimore residents similarly poisoned as children. Gray had received a settlement from a 2008 lead poisoning lawsuit, with the money distributed over years to assure that plaintiffs, often unsophisticated in financial matters, didn't spend all the money at once. But Gray sold the payouts to a company called Access Funding in return for a lump- sum payment that cost him several hundred thousand dollars in lost payouts. McCoy's investigation found access funding had struck similar deals with many other lead poisoning victims. His findings led to substantial reforms aimed at protecting these vulnerable citizens.

From the Judges on InsideClimate News: As early as 1977, scientists at energy and oil giant Exxon Corporation told top executives that fossil fuel emissions were warming the planet. Over time, however, Exxon became a leader in denying climate change and argued that the science was inclusive. Reporters Neela Banerjee, John Cushman, Jr., David Hasemyer and Lisa Song of InsideClimate News, used documents, interviews and the public record from four decades to reveal a deeply disturbing trail from climate change discovery to denial. The story prompted the New York Attorney General to issue a subpoena to force Exxon to disclose records in order to determine if it committed fraud under state law.

Honorable Mention to Michael Kranish of the Boston Globe: Michael Kranish"s 10-part "Divided Nation" series probed the impact of class, race and income inequality on voter sentiment. His strong characters and compelling writing made personal the vast and widening gap between rich and poor in America. Kranish's reporting linked the 2008 economic crisis, massive home foreclosure, escalating CEO compensation, corporate stock buy-back plans and centuries-old racial schisms to the voter anger, frustration and disillusionment.

Judges for the Poe Award:

Ellen Shearer: Director, Medill School of Journalism Washington Program, Co-Director, Medill National Security Journalism Initiative, Washington, DC

Indira Somani: Howard UniversityAsst. Professor/Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Scholar, Washington, DC
A'Lelia Bundles: National Archives Foundation Washington, DC

Frank Sesno: Director, The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, Washington, DC

The Merriman Smith Memorial Award

The Merriman Smith Memorial Award for excellence in presidential news coverage under deadline pressure originated in 1970 in memory of Merriman Smith of United Press International, a White House correspondent for more than thirty years. The award carries a cash prize of $2,500.

From the Judges on Matt Viser: In his July 14 piece, "An Inside Look at How the Iran Talks Unfolded," Viser made the judges feel like they were in the room with Secretary of State John Kerry, his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and the other negotiators in Vienna. Viser made the diplomatic language of a landmark international agreement accessible to average readers. His story skillfully wove in telling details and scene-setting color.

From the Judges on Norah O'Donnell: O'Donnell's "60 Minutes" interview with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, was insightful regarding the Vice President's announcement that he would not seek the presidency.

Honorable Mention for David Nakamura, The Washington Post: "An Angry Obama Upbraids Critics Who Want to Block Refugees from Syria." The account of President Obama's reaction to the Paris attacks-and to his Republican critics-while attending an economic summit in the Philippines was deeply reported and well written.

Judges for the Merriman Smith Award:

Tom Diemer: Editor and Lecturer Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism Washington Program

Steve Crane: Cronkite News, Arizona State University, Washington, DC|

Jackie Jones: Associate Professor and Chair of Multimedia Journalism, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD

The Aldo Beckman Award

This award recognizes a correspondent who personifies the journalistic excellence and personal qualities of Aldo Beckman, a former president of the White House Correspondents'Association and correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Established in 1981, the Aldo Beckman, a joint effort of The Tribune Company and the WHCA, carries a cash prize of $1,000.

From the Judges on Carol Lee of The Wall Street Journal: Carol Lee focused on one of the most critical responsibilities of a president, foreign policy. Her coverage displayed a heft and authority that illuminated Mr. Obama's policies as well as motivations. She melded the elements into a coherent framework that was understandable to her readers and wove those themes into her coverage of events, providing context and clarifying analysis.

Judges for the Aldo Beckman Award:

Barbara Cochran: Curtis B. Hurley Chair, University of Missouri School of Journalism, Washington, DC

Kwame Holman: Former Political Correspondent, PBS NewsHour, Upper Marlboro, MD

Bryan Monroe: Verizon Chair and Professor, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

The WHCA Board of Directors would like to congratulate the 2016 journalism awards winners and extend our deepest thanks and gratitude to the judges who worked on this year's award submissions.


White House Correspondents' Association™ Announces 2016 Scholars

The White House Correspondents' Association is pleased to announce 18 scholarship winners in partnership with Howard University, Northwestern University, Columbia University, University of Missouri, University of California at Berkeley, University of Maryland, and the George Washington University. They are:

Rushawn A. Walters of Springfield, Massachusetts, is the winner of the Harry S. McAlpin, Jr. Scholarship, a one-time award of $7,000. Rushawn, a junior, is determined to write about the plight of what he calls America's "throwaway" people: the homeless on our streets, often mentally ill, who are sometimes ignored in our society.  Rushawn has experience at Howard reporting and editing, working as an administrative assistant, contributing writer, social media director, production intern and assistant digital editor.

Jazmin Goodwin of Columbia, South Carolina, and Miesha Miller of Kansas City, Missouri, are the winners of the White House Correspondents' Association scholarship prize, a one-time award of $7,000. Jazmin is completing her sophomore year with a membership in Phi Beta Kappa and is the campus editor of Hilltop, the Howard newspaper.  She is also a contributing writer to USA Today College, a digital site with over 500,000 readers. Her professional goal is to become an investigative broadcast journalist who covers human struggles across the globe. Miesha will graduate in Broadcast Journalism from Howard. In 2015, she interned in the CNN newsroom when the Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage and the tragic events of the Charleston 9 shooting took place. Her experience as an intern taught her the overwhelming cultural and political importance of mastering speed and accurate communication via social media.

Jasmine Ellis of Audubon, Pennsylvania and Emiliana Molina of Medellin, Colombia are the winners of the Deborah Orin Scholarship, named for the late White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for the New York Post. Each winner will receive $5,000. Jasmine decided to attend Medill to hone her skills as a political and social justice reporter. She has covered a speech by President Obama to chiefs of police in Chicago and the GOP debate in Milwaukee.  Upon graduation, Ellis will continue to cover social justice issues and politics in the hopes of becoming a White House correspondent. Emiliana arrived in the United States under a grant of political asylum and now is pursuing a master's degree at Northwestern. She has covered the Iowa caucuses and spoken with  presidential candidates.  Emiliana has interned for NBCUniversal/Telemundo 15 and worked at iHeart Media.  She hopes to become a political reporter.

Misha Euceph of Rawalpindi, Pakistan is the recipient of a $5,000 grant through the WHCA to help finance a post-graduate degree for a student in the Government and Public Affairs reporting track. Misha is a Chicago-based radio broadcast journalist. She is pursuing a Masters of Science in journalism at Medill where she specializes in social justice, political and investigative reporting. She also works for the podcast, The City, part of WNYC. 

Ilgin Yorulmaz of Istanbul, Turkey is the recipient of a $5,000 WHCA tuition grant for 2015-2016. Ilgin has worked for twenty- two years as a researcher and magazine correspondent in Tokyo, London and Istanbul.  She is the author of three books about businesses in Istanbul.  Ilgin is attending Columbia University's Journalism School in hopes of refining her skills and ultimately focusing on political Islam; problems faced by Muslim immigrants and the way religion in general and Islam in particular is abused by radicals in underdeveloped countries.

The following graduate students are the recipients of $3,000 grants to study in Washington, DC for a semester: Joshua Benson of St. Louis, Missouri; Shih-Wei Chou of Taipei, Taiwan; Karol Ilagan of Maragondon, Cavite, Philippines; Andrew Kreighbaum of Dallas, Texas; Li Lin of Shanghai, China; Moqiu Ma of Suzhou, China; Caleb O'Brien of Columbia, Missouri; Yizhu Wang of Shanghai, China.

Josh Benson is interested in documentary filmmaking as well as investigative reporting. He has contributed work to The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Associated Press and the Evansville Courier & Press.  He received Best Investigative Reporting and Best Business Story awards from the Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.

Shih-Wei Chou is a multi-media journalist and award-wining nonfiction filmmaker.  While participating in Missouri's Washington Program, he worked with the Shanghai Media Group US Center, helping shoot and edit news with a focus on Sino-American relations.  His work has aired on a Missouri-based NPR affiliate for issues of freedom in the press.

Karol Ilagan reported for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, a Manila-based nonprofit that specializes in investigative reporting, campaign finance and use of public funds.  She also conducted research on practices relating to access of information about budgetary issues.

Andrew Kreighbaum has previously reported on education and local government issues for a variety of newspapers in Texas including The El Paso Times, The Monitor and the Laredo Morning Times. In 2015 Andrew received a Freedom of Information Award from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors.

Li Lin completed her graduate project as an intern reporter at Marketplace Public Radio where she worked on business news production, people on the street interviews and data visualization graphics. Currently she is working for Bloomberg News in London.

Moqiu Ma spent the semester in Washington with TV Asahi America.  Her work included covering State Department briefings, congressional committee hearings, think tank events and senior level press conferences. Her favorite stories are those that involve issues of corporate social responsibility.

Caleb O'Brien is currently based in Asuncion, Paraguay, writing about the connectivity of science, health and the environment with social justice issues.  He has written about drones, accelerometers and DNA bar coding in conservation and ecology. O'Brien completed his graduate project at Mongabay, an environmental science and conservation news and information website.

Yizhu Wang writes about educational technology for the national digital daily news publication Scoop News Group.  She covers how schools are adopting digital learning and classroom technologies. Yizhu has interned in the Shanghai bureau of Reuters, The New York Times and CNBC Asia.  She is particularly interested in business and economics reporting.

Juan Marcos Martinez Chacon of Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, is the recipient of a $5,000 grant through the WHCA toward a post-graduate degree for a student in the Government and Public Affairs reporting track. As a reporter in Mexico Marcos covered political and governmental affairs for Grupo Reforma and CNN Mexico's news site. He has also written about technology and Hispanic communities in the Bay Area for media outlets such as Univision Noticias.

Miles Moore of Atlanta, Georgia, is a recipient of a portion of the Frank Cormier scholarship, a $20,000 award from the WHCA that is divided among four students at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Miles, who represents that group, has written and edited campus publications and been an anchor/DJ for campus radio station WMUC.  He does volunteer work with organizations such as the Maryland Association of Black Journalists, the Capitol Area Food Bank, SHARE Food Network and Kaiser Permanente.

Nana Agyemang of Accra, Ghana, is the recipient of a $2,500 scholarship as part of a partnership between GW and the WHCA. Nana is a photographer, all-around media specialist and winner of a J. Michael Shanahan journalism scholarship.  An internship at CBS News in Washington provided her with a range of news gathering, reporting, interviewing, production and broadcast experience. Nana founded "Freelance Photographer" and is editor-in-chief of The Ace magazine at GWU.



March 10, 2016

The White House Correspondents' Association has received questions about an alleged altercation between a reporter and a member of the Trump campaign staff. It is unclear to us what precisely transpired, as no member of the WHCA board witnessed any confrontation.

Broadly speaking, the WHCA unequivocally condemns any act of violence or intimidation against any journalist covering the 2016 campaign, whether perpetrated by a candidate's supporters, staff or security officers. We expect that all contenders for the nation's highest office agree that this would be unacceptable.

A healthy skepticism of the news media is as much a necessary part of a healthy democracy as skepticism of any institution, and strident rhetoric in politics is not new. We have been increasingly concerned with some of the rhetoric aimed at reporters covering the presidential race and urge all candidates seeking the White House to conduct their campaigns in a manner that respects the robust back-and-forth between politicians and the press that is critical to a thriving democracy.


January 6, 2016

The White House Correspondents' Association is presenting three major journalism awards at the annual dinner on April 30, 2016 to recognize distinguished reporting.  The awards are among the most prestigious in our field.  Prizes range from $1,000 to $2,500. Members, you are encouraged to review your 2015 reporting and consider entering the competition. The three contests are open to print and broadcast journalists. DEADLINE EXTENDED UNTIL 5:00 PM ON MONDAY, MARCH 14



Photo: Peter Yang/Comedy Central

December 16, 2015

WASHINGTON - The White House Correspondents' Association™ is pleased to announce that Larry Wilmore, host of "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore" on Comedy Central, will be the entertainer at our annual dinner on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

"Larry's edgy, even provocative, brand of humor means he's certainly up to the task of skewering politicians of all ideological stripes, and we don't expect the nation's news media to escape unscathed, either," said Carol Lee, White House correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and president of the White House Correspondents' Association™. "We are thrilled that Larry has accepted our invitation to be the featured comedian at our annual dinner, which will be the last during the Obama White House."

The WHCA™ represents the White House press corps in its dealings with the administration on coverage-related issues. The WHCA™ dinner is traditionally attended by the President and the First Lady as well as other senior government officials and members of the press corps. Proceeds from the dinner go toward scholarships and awards aimed at supporting aspiring journalists and recognizing excellence in the profession.



Larry McQuillan, White House reporter for 25 years, dies at 70 (download PDF)

By Chris Connell


Larry McQuillan, who covered the Attica prison riots and traversed the globe with presidents from Gerald Ford to George W. Bush for UPI, Reuters and major dailies, died Saturday, Sept. 19, at the age of 70 in Silver Spring, Md. His wife Geraldine, said Larry lost a three-year battle with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.

The ever-smiling McQuillan spent the past decade as director of public affairs for the American Institutes for Research after three decades as a newsman in New York state and Washington. He covered the White House for a quarter century and was a past president of the White House Correspondents Association.

He and AP's Charlie Hanley were classmates in St. Bonaventure's School of Journalism in the 1960s. "Larry and I went back to antediluvian days together -- in the Bonaventure journalism program, then working together as draftee Army journalists in Vietnam, and then competing across the hall from each other -- AP and UPI -- in Albany in the early '70s. An absolutely wonderful human being whose loss leaves a hole in a lot of hearts," said the retired AP special correspondent.

Another classmate, Dennis Mulhearn, fondly recalled that fellow students called Larry "Clark" for his passing resemblance to the television version of Clark Kent.

McQuillan and Hanley were both recipients of St. Bonaventure's Hellinger Award for distinguished alumni journalists, as was Bob Dubill, former AP bureau chief in New Jersey and retired executive editor of USA Today. "I knew Larry well-before, during and after we worked at USA Today. Giant of a journalist, sweetheart of a man. A staggering loss," said Dubill.

Marlin Fitzwater, in Call the Briefing, his memoir of his years as press secretary to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, described McQuillan as "a bedrock journalist" who "knew how to read a police blotter, how to get a hospital nurse to discuss her patients, and how to tune in to a police scanner to be first at a fire. He was real people."

He was also a devoted father to son Sean and more recently a doting grandfather to Sean and Kendra McQuillan's two daughters, ages 5 and five months. When Sean was an infant, Larry would tote him along to Camp David, Maryland, where wire service reporters and photographers spent the weekend just to watch the president's helicopter come and go.

Jimmy Carter took a shine to the little boy and made a point of greeting him. The late Frank Cormier chronicled one encounter in which the lad, then 4, turned his head away as the president approached. The father explained his reticence: "Sean told me he is only shy with two people - you and Santa Claus." Frank's account was carried in newspapers across the country.

Gerrie McQuillan, a senior researcher with the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, called her husband "a kind and gentle man ... who will be missed by many." That is an understatement.



July 4, 2015

Subject: [WHCA Wires] [WH Pool] Practices and Principles of White House Coverage

Dear journalists of the White House press corps,

We present to you today the Practices and Principles documents that each of you helped to draft over the past year. This represents our shared belief about the best path to transparency and openness at the White House, the institution we are privileged to cover for millions of Americans and people the world over. Some of the particular requests are already common practice at the White House. Some of them are not. We urge the White House to embrace them all – in letter and in spirit -- to demonstrate its commitment to transparency and respect for an independent press. We urge all serious presidential campaigns to do the same. And we urge you, the members of the White House press corps, to read them again and to commit yourself to making them a reality. We can’t think of a better way to mark the Fourth of July.

The members of the White House Correspondents’ Association Board

Christi Parsons, President
Carol Lee, President-elect
Jeff Mason, Vice President-elect
Margaret Talev, Treasurer
Scott Horsley, Secretary
Olivier Knox
Major Garrett
Todd Gillman
Doug Mills

Practices and Principles of WHITE HOUSE Coverage DOWNLOAD DECLARATION PDF

As members of the White House press corps, we affirm our duty to vigorously protect the public's right to know about the work of their elected and appointed officials, particularly the Office of the President of the United States.

We believe that the public's right to know depends on the broadest possible access by the press to cover the full range of activities that the President and his or her administration undertake in performing the public's business. We believe that limitations on the press to fully report on these activities in conducting the public’s business undermine public trust in government.

We therefore embrace, on behalf of all those guided and governed by the First Amendment, our responsibility to demand meaningful and consistent access to the President and his or her aides whenever and wherever they conduct the public's business.

To that end, we have defined a set of Principles and Practices to guide journalists and the White House alike in fulfilling their obligation to inform:

· The press must be able to see, hear, witness and question the President and his or her aides on a routine basis, in addition to the daily White House briefing.
· The press must have the ability to question the President in person on a regular basis, including through a full news conference at least once a month and in response to significant news developments.
· The White House press pool always accompanies the President when he or she travels outside the White House grounds.
· The President’s events are by default open to the full press corps and, in the instance of legitimate space constraints, are at minimum open to the full press pool.
· The press has regular access to the President’s aides, beyond those in the White House Press Office.
· Briefings by administration officials are on the record, as a general practice. Background briefings where officials are not identified by name are reserved for subjects of special sensitivity.
· The White House discloses the President’s and Vice President’s daily schedule and informs the press of any changes in a timely fashion.

--The members of the White House Correspondents’ Association

Practices and Principles of Coverage Access for Independent White House Press

Basic Practices:
The President takes questions from the press on a regular basis, no less than once per week, and is available in response to significant news developments.
The President holds full press conferences at least once a month and takes questions frequently from the pool.
The President allows the pool to witness and record him or her at work on a regular basis.
The press corps or its designated pool sees the President frequently on working days, and sees the President on weekends and holidays whenever there are movements by the protective pool.
When the President leaves his or her domicile, he or she is always accompanied by a protective pool that visually witnesses, at the least, arrivals and departures from any place of entrance or exit that is in view of the public, and covers the President in the act of doing the public’s business.
Pool “sprays,” in addition to offering visual journalists the chance to record the President at work, are a time for reporters to ask the President questions about the events of the day.
Briefings are on the record, as a general practice. Background briefings, in which speakers are not identified, are reserved for subjects of special sensitivity.
Embargoes are used to give reporters time to digest complicated or dense material in advance of its public release. Their use should be limited, and never used routinely to generate early-morning coverage of a White House event where no outside input is permitted.
The pool moves as a full group (as laid out in section two) with members representing each sector of the media. When in rare circumstances the White House makes the President available to a partial pool (in a stills-only or photojournalists-only event, for example) the rest of the pool gets access to see, hear and question the President in close succession.
The President takes questions from the full traveling press corps frequently during foreign trips. Foreign leaders who meet with the President take questions in a side-by-side news availability or press conference. In settings where a foreign leader refuses to take questions from the press corps, the President takes questions independently.
In dealing with host governments during foreign travel, the White House works to admit the full pool to all significant events. When the U.S. is the host government, American officials work to achieve the same level of openness and press access that are expected when the American delegation is the guest.
Minimum Standards for the Constitution of the Press Pool:
*Open Press, with full and free access by all media requesting it, should be the default.
*The press corps urges the White House and all serious Presidential campaigns to admit expanded pools (greater than the size of the 21-member in-house pool) whenever possible.

*The White House Press Pools are formed to represent the wider press corps in settings where the full press corps cannot be reasonably accommodated. The pool is assembled to reflect the broad array of media through which the American people and those all over the world consume their news.
*The pools are assembled by the press corps. Every hard-pass holder is eligible to apply for membership in one or more pools, and to be admitted must meet the criteria of the individual pool administrators. (The TV pool sets its criteria and admits members, as do the Radio, Print and Foreign Press Group pools. The Wires do not pool.)
*The In-town Travel Pool consists of no fewer than 13 members (three wire writers, four still photographers, one independent still photographer, one print pooler, one radio pooler and three network crew members).
*The Air Force One Traveling Pool consists of no fewer than 13 members (three wire writers, four still photographers, one print pooler, one radio pooler, one WHCA print pooler and three network crew members). Digital, multimedia and foreign press are eligible to participate through the supplemental pool rotation to fill open seats.
*The In-House Pool, for events on the White House complex, consists of no fewer than 21 members (In-town Travel Pool plus three for AP TV or CSPAN, foreign pooler, Dow Jones and AFP wires and two extra camera crew for the network pool).
*For events outside the Washington, D.C., area, the pool should include at least one member of the local print press. The local pooler should have access to all events open to the print pool, including fundraisers, leisure activities and church events. Members of the WHCA and the White House will extend to the local pooler all courtesies usually given to any member of the White House press corps.

Specific Accommodations:
Air Force One: Whenever the President travels on Air Force One, there is a full Traveling Press Pool traveling with him or her.
Bill Signings are open to the pool.
Briefing Room: All Presidential appearances in the briefing room are open press.
Briefing Room Feed: Presidential remarks at open press events are fed live to the briefing room. Presidential remarks at pooled press events are fed live to the briefing room or replayed as soon as possible, except under exceptional circumstances. Gaggles on Air Force One are fed live to the briefing room, when technology allows, and are replayed when requested.
Camp David and/or personal Presidential retreats: The White House discloses where the President is at all times and what he or she is doing, including the appointments he or she is keeping, calls he or she is making and other public business. The leisure rules (see below) apply.
Campaign events: Any campaign event at which the President appears, while seeking reelection or on behalf of another candidate or committee, is open press and the full pool is always there. A transcript of the President's comments are made available to the press in a timely manner.
Celebrations on the South Lawn: Pool covers celebrations with entertainment (such as Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day, the annual congressional picnic, etc.).
Church or House of Worship: When the President attends a religious service, the 13 members of the in-town travel pool have a photo spray on arrival or departure from the service. The four print reporters, the radio reporter and the TV producer sit in on the service, but only if the full pool cannot be accommodated. The service may or may not be recorded for broadcast, at the host's discretion.
East Room and South Lawn events: are open press events, with an exception for space restrictions at events like “In Performance.” In case of exception, full pool is admitted.
Embargoes: Information that has been previously made public by the White House or other agencies is not subject to embargoes. Embargoes are not to be used to prohibit news organizations from publishing information they acquire through independent channels in advance of a public release from the White House.
Evacuations of the White House and other emergencies: As in the critical coverage of the events of 9/11, the White House keeps a pool (only as restricted as is absolutely necessary, and including at least one representative of each media platform) in close proximity to the President at all times. When the White House goes on lockdown and/or the President is moved to a secure portion of the White House or off-campus facility, the White House takes care to keep a tight pool in close proximity and fully informs the press corps as expeditiously as possible. We understand that the top priority of White House staff and Secret Service in emergency situations is to protect the President, but we urge officials to be mindful of the public’s right to know the President’s condition. We ask that they keep the press corps informed in a timely fashion.
Foreign leader meeting: Every meeting with a foreign leader (including heads of state, government and other prominent leaders) is preceded or followed by a pool spray.
Foreign travel: The White House and Press Advance teams work to secure the same levels of access abroad as those observed domestically.
Fundraisers: The pool covers the President’s remarks. The White House does not consent to participate in super PAC fundraisers where the super PAC is unwilling to agree to basic transparency and coverage of formal remarks.
Government media: As a general principle, the White House should not use its own videographers and photographers as a replacement for independent press coverage. When White House photographers and videographers are present, the press pool should be included whenever possible. The press pool should be given the same vantage and access to pooled and open events as the White House photographers and videographers.
Interviews: The press office notifies the press corps of when the President is taping or participating in live television, radio or online interviews, or otherwise releasing new information on social media, and, where possible, releases a transcript. Anytime an announcement or speech or statement is released via Twitter or Facebook or the like, it should be simultaneously sent out, or at least pointed out, via email to the customary White House press lists.
Kennedy Center Honors and Christmas in Washington: Open Press coverage of guest arrivals and presentation. Pool covers entire event, including remarks and performances.
Large Rooms, like the State Dining Room: in-house pools are accommodated, with additions invited as often as possible.
Large-group meetings with the President: The White House default is on the side of meaningful press access to events that involve large numbers of attendees (breakout sessions and summits, for example) and at the least notifies the members of the press corps that they are taking place and provides basic information about the sum and substance.
Leisure: The White House discloses when the President is engaging in a leisure activity outside the residence (golf, for example) and releases the names of those accompanying him or her on these trips, either in advance or as the events happen. The WH allows some reasonable amount of video and still photo access and coverage, which should never be less than the access and perspectives given to any unilateral photographers or public onlookers at the site. The full pool accompanies the President on these outings. In cases where leisure events include a politician, prominent official or head of state, a pool spray is allowed at minimum.
Livestreams: Any POTUS event that is livestreamed or otherwise disseminated contemporaneously by the White House is open to coverage by the pool. Livestreams and other White House broadcasts are not a substitute for in-person coverage of an event.
Marine One: Marine One arrivals and departures at the White House are always open press. During late night and early morning hours when the briefing room is closed, Marine One arrivals and departures are always open to the full pool. Marine One arrivals and departures at locations away from the White House are covered, at minimum, by the traveling pool.
Medical Information: As with all off-campus visits, the pool accompanies the President on medical visits. The White House releases timely information about the President's health, including any medical procedures or tests, erring on the side of speedy disclosure in the interest of making sure the public knows the state of the President's health and capacity at all times.
Motorcade: The lead Press Van is no more than 10 vehicles behind the President’s vehicle in the motorcade.
Newsmaker meetings: There is pool coverage of arrivals with heads of state, congressional leaders and bill signings, or any other event at which the White House plans to release a contemporaneous photo.
Off-campus events: When the President leaves the White House or off-campus site for a private event, the White House discloses what he/she is doing even if the pool is not admitted.
On-the-record briefings: For briefings that are conducted on background, the White House provides an explanation for why briefers should not be identified. Briefers should always be identified at least to the participants in a call so they know who is speaking even if they cannot name them in their reports. Conducting briefings on “deep background” is discouraged in almost all circumstances.
Photo pool sprays: The President takes questions from the press several times a week during pool sprays with the full pool. Pool sprays are open to the full pool and are a time for reporters to observe the President in person and ask him or her questions.
Presidential movements: When the President leaves the White House grounds by car or on foot, there is a full pool walking with him/her or in the main package of the motorcade.
Print Pool Reports: Print pool reports are the responsibility of the pooler, and the White House shall not exercise any editorial role or delay dissemination. Staffers may point out factual inaccuracy, but the decision on any changes rests with the independent print pooler. The print pool and the WHCA board take responsibility for sending corrections and clarifications.
Public Schedule: The White House releases a daily public schedule for the President that notes meetings in which he or she is doing the public’s business.
Rose Garden events: are always open for press coverage.
Secret pools for trips to danger zones: The White House runs the regular rotations to select the members of these pools. Pool participants agree to scrupulously keep the formation of the pool, the trip and its details off the record, and all information very closely held, until the White House releases it on the record.
Stakeouts: Visitors to the White House complex always have the option to make an open press appearance at the stakeout location.
State Dinners: Pool covers – at the very least -- toasts, arrivals and entertainment. The White House opens these events up to an expanded pool upon request.
Transcripts and/or audio of gaggles: The offices of the President, vice President and first spouse release all official transcripts they generate to the press corps as soon as they are available.
Travel Planning: The White House provides off-the-record guidance for planning purposes well in advance of all Presidential trips.
Twitter and social media: White House social media accounts should not be used to circumvent the press corps.
Vacations: are covered by the press corps and pools. On-camera briefings are conducted on a periodic basis, by call of the White House or request of the news media.
Vice President: The vice President abides by the same level of transparency as these principles outline for the White House in general.
Visitor Logs: The White House provides records of White House visitors on an ongoing basis, in keeping with its voluntary disclosure policy.
White House records: The White House has a heightened obligation to release records dealing with the president’s health, finances and ethics. The tax returns and medical report of the president should be released as they are completed. Names, titles and salaries of all White House employees should be disclosed at least annually. Ethics waivers and White House visitor’s logs should be disclosed on an ongoing basis.

The White House should comply with all relevant executive orders and presidential memoranda concerning open access to data by other executive branch agencies, including Executive Order 13642. White House data is to be released in machine-readable, nonproprietary, bulk format, and the White House should maintain a separate data inventory page on its web site. The White House will not hamper any legitimate attempts by news outlets attempting to gain automated access to its electronic resources, including web crawling, scraping or retransmission of live feeds.

* Special practices for Fundraisers:
Fundraisers should be open press wherever possible, and otherwise open to the full pool. The very smallest pool that should go in is the "print pool," also known as the "pencils" in the travel pool (the print pooler, a TV producer, three wire writers and a magazine writer).

The print pool covers – at the very least -- the President’s formal remarks. The White House facilitates the flow of information including, but not limited to, the name of the host, the number of people in attendance and the ticket price (suggested contribution, range of contributions or minimum amount). Where the group is especially exclusive (i.e. fewer than 20 people) a list of attendees is also provided.

When the President appears at super PAC events, the White House discloses or directs the sponsor to disclose to the pool the same information (or comparable information) as is supplied at other fundraisers.
The information comes in as a timely fashion, at minimum by the morning of the event.
The pool covers, at minimum, the President's opening remarks at the event.
The White House provides a readout of the portions of the event that the pool does not witness.

* Campaign Accommodations:
We believe that transparency does not begin in the White House, and that all presidential aspirants embrace these principles and practices, to the extent applicable. In all sections herein, “the Candidate” shall be substituted for “the President,” and “the Campaign” shall be substituted for “The White House” for the purposes of establishing the minimum standards for press access on campaigns. Specific practices relating to monitoring the minute-by-minute movements of candidates shall only be applicable once a protective pool has been formed, but campaigns are encouraged to include the press in as many of the candidates’ activities as possible before that point. Pooled events shall not be used as a substitute for open press access to the candidate.



Photo/Kevin Dietsch, United Press International





Executive Director


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