Print v. Broadcast

Roll Call’s Tory Newmyer writes up the latest in “Handheld-gate” in today’s paper (sub. req.).

The heat is on between print journalists and broadcasts journalists covering Capitol Hill.

    In an hour-long session last Thursday, broadcast journalists vented about the resistance print reporters have thrown up to their campaign for freer camera access to the area outside the Senate chamber.

    At the same time, they indicated a willingness to strike back by publicly noting that print reporters are allowed to use space on the second level of the Senate Radio-Television Gallery only at the discretion of broadcasters, who have first claim to the area.

    And they moved to ensure that reporters for print outlets secure credentials from the broadcasters before capturing sound or video material for Web-based pieces.

    Radio and TV reporters asserted that the moves were not meant as a threat to print reporters. Rather, Brian Wilson, a Fox News correspondent and chairman of the Radio-Television Correspondents’ Association, said they were intended to show that broadcasters “are willing to work with our print brothers and sisters, whereas they’ve thrown us under the bus.”

    But Richard Cohen, a National Journal correspondent who serves on the board representing the periodical press, rejected Wilson’s characterization.

    “We’re not trying to throw anyone under the bus,” he said. “We’re trying to protect the interests of the members of our gallery. We’ve had serious questions and concerns about how the Radio-TV gallery has been operating, and from what I’ve heard about the meeting [last week], I continue to have concerns about how they’re operating and whether they’re willing to work with other galleries.”

What is the future of reporting in the Senate’s Ohio Clock corridor? Will print reporters continue to reign supreme there? Or will broadcasters get expanded coverage rights there? Or will the Senate say “to hell with ’em” and kick all the bums out?