White House Correspondents Association Changes Pool Report Policy

Some big news out of the White House Correspondents Association today about pool reports. FishbowlDC has the memos after the jump…

The announcement:

Because of declining interest in traveling on many of the trips in the final months of the Bush administration, the WHCA board has agreed to suspend until at least the end of the year the current print pool report distribution process, effective immediately. It will have these effects:

>> On domestic trips when there are both open and pool events, the Air Force One pool report and other pooled events will be shared only among those reporters traveling. There will be no print pool report issued to the general press email list through the White House press office. Example — the President’s western trip which included several stops and a commencement address at the Air Force Academy in May.

>> On foreign trips, print pool reports will be circulated only among the print reporters manifested on the press charter. This begins with the G-8 trip July 5.

>> West Wing photo ops, and other events or travel where open coverage is denied will still require pool reports distributed through the White House press office. Example– the President’s pool-only tour of Iowa’s flood damage on June 19th. Print organizations have an obligation to participate in the pool rotation and the WHCA Board reserves the right to restrict these policies further if members do not do so.

>> This suspension of pool reports will have no impact on the distribution of transcripts and other materials by the White House.

-Ann Compton, president of WHCA
-Jennifer Loven, incoming president of WHCA

This was followed by an email from Ken Herman:

By now, you should have received an email from White House Correspondents Association about the change in pool report distribution. As print representative on the WHCA board I voted against this change (which is temporary and will be revisited next year by new board).

Ann Compton, current board president, is eager to hear from folks who are unhappy about this. She would like to hear proposed alternatives. I encourage you to flood her inbox with constructive proposals.

In a nutshell, the change (highlighted by end of distribution of pool reports to folks not on a trip) came about because of concerns expressed by the large papers that make all the trips (and fewer and fewer papers are doing the trips). They argue that it is unfair to make them share information from trips that have become increasingly expensive as fewer papers travel. It also requires them to take more pool turns that take time away from their own work.

Ann is reachable at [REDACTED] and she is sincerely interested in hearing ideas. Start typing.