CNN’s Jay McMichael, a 20-year veteran photo journalist on Capitol hill, won the Radio & TV Correspondent’s Association election to the board late last week, making him the first photojournalist to ever be elected chair of the board.
McMichael was anything but gloating over his win that beat out NBC’s Luke Russert among others. “I was trying to get Luke elected,” McMichael said by phone this morning.”We wanted to have two TV people elected. I was disappointed that Luke didn’t get a seat. You know, he’s a young guy. He’ll run again and he’ll have his day and he’ll make it in there.’
McMichael spoke of his father who died two years ago. His father was a page on Capitol Hill in the late 50s who did tasks for then-Speaker Sam Rayburn. McMichael said he wished his father would have known of his win.
McMichael assumes reign of the board in 2011; Linda Scott is chair through 2010.
Q. How are you feeling about your big win?
A. The election and me winning was really not about me. It was about having a representative from CNN and having a photojournalist on the board.
Q. Were you nervous about the election?
A. I wasn’t nervous. I was a little anxious. But I think it worked out well. Everybody’s happy I got this gig so that part is good.
Q. Do you feel like your breaking through a glass ceiling of sorts?
A. I think a lot of photogs in town wanted some representation. The initial push was just to get a seat on the committee. As I spoke to people we thought, why just run half way?
Q. What issues do photographers like yourself run into on Capitol Hill?
A. Photojournalists run into a lot of problems that other people do not — the security issue, parking issue — nobody pushes 100-plus pounds of gear to every event they go to. It takes a physical toll. Because of that, parking is a huge issue on Capitol Hill.That’s the one thing we want is really push for more parking. We want to push for better access. We see radio people or print people go down a hallway and we can’t. With Sen. [Chuck] Schumer [D-N.Y.] becoming head of Rules Committee, we might be able to push for more contemporary rules to more accurately reflect the new media world we’re in. We’re the ones getting shut out of certain situations. When the public can go into areas with Flip cameras that we canÂ’t there’s something wrong with those rules.
Q. Why do you think Sen. Schumer will be of help?
A. He’s a new face. He’s a new person with hopefully some new ideas. Any time you have the changing of the guard you have a chance at adjustments. HeÂ’s pretty media saavy. He understands the value of the press. All I know is I’m going to be a new face and he’s going to be a new face and maybe we can work together.