WH Pool Reports: Silva Responds to McKinnon

Earlier on FishbowlDC: “White House Reporters Debate New Pool Policy” and “White House Correspondents Association Changes Pool Report Policy

We’ve obtained an email sent by Tribune’s Mark Silva to the Wall Street Journal’s John McKinnon on the ongoing debate over what to do with the White House pool reports:

John,

With all respect: When it was seven or eight papers traveling and the pool rotation was spread more widely, it wasn’t a big issue — we were happy then to share our pools with all. Most anyway.We debated it then, and decided to stick with what we had. Now that it’s down to a few doing a lot of pool, they don’t like it.

Our commitment to our principles should be unwavering through the good times and bad.

I’ll be back on the road before long, I trust — it’s true, an election, and expensive one, is claiming the strained resources of big papers such as mine. But the McClatchys of the world don’t cut 10 percent, the Miami Herald doesnt cut 17 percent, and Orlando doesnt cut 25 percent, because they want to.
My employer is talking about renting out Tribune Tower, or worse.

These are dire times, financially, for much of the press. Election coverage is costing big money at a time when papers are having to make severe cuts in operating expenses.

When we have a new president, the news value of the office is likely to skyrocket, and more will be traveling again — if they’re still in business.

And when we do, we will share our work with those who can’t — I know I will — just as we always have, and just as we should be doing now, during a tight time when few can afford it.

Access cannot be limited to a few for a price.

That’s my take. I respect yours, and everyone else’s view.

I hate to sound like a broken record, and apologize to all who have heard me five or six times now.

But I believe this needs to be worked out in some manner that is equitable to the greater press, and doesn’t benefit only a few.

Your friend, always,

Mark