White House Pool Reports to Stay Press Property
Anne E. Kornblut
The new White House web site is expected to display many cool things once it's fully operational (which, currently, it is not).
But pool reports -- the informal, quick accounts of the president's movements, generated by White House correspondents for their colleagues' consumption -- will not be among them.
Although there is a spot for pool reports on the WhiteHouse.gov site, the White House Correspondent Association says that was just for Inauguration Day, when it was unclear whether the administration would be able to distribute information given the technical glitches of assuming power.
Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press, the president of the WHCA, said everyone is in agreement that "pool reports are the media's product, not the White House's, and can't be a regular part of their Web site."
"The White House has told me that is their view, too, and it was never their intention to post pool reports on a permanent basis," Loven said.
Why does it matter if pool reports are made public? In short, because covering the president around-the-clock is expensive -- and pool reports belong to the news organizations funding the coverage. News organizations also want to be able to control the integrity and the use of their products. That is especially true on domestic and foreign trips, the costs of which are determined by how many reporters travel because they split the cost. If all news organizations could simply look up the pool reports online instead of paying to travel with the president, it could create a disincentive for some news outlets to actually go, thus raising costs for those organizations providing the news.
Posted at 1:55 PM ET on Jan 22, 2009
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