White House Correspondents’ Association Releases Updated Pool Advisory Guidelines

From an email sent from Steve Scully to the White House Press Corps:

    RE: Pool Advisory Guidelines
    March 30, 2007

    In order to better reflect the changes in how White House pool reports are acquired and distributed, the WHCA has revised the in-town and travel pool guidelines. The last pool report guidelines were issued in 1993 at the start of the Clinton Administration. The internet has clearly allowed for a much wider distribution of pool reports, therefore we want to emphasize that all need to follow the journalistic standards outlined below. A special thanks to Ken Herman of Cox Newspapers and a WHCA Board member, who drafted the following, receiving unanimous approval of the board.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail us at [REDACTED]

Read the guidelines when you click below…


    1. Pool reports are to be considered publishable material. Poolers must be aware that excerpts from or the entirety of a pool report may be published either in print or posted on websites. The reports are not to be considered private communications among reporters. Pool reports exist for the sharing of notes, quotes and details involving White House events. As publishable material, pool reports are subject to the usual journalistic standards of taste, objectivity and fairness.

    2. Pool assignments are made by the White House Press Office on an alphabetical rotation, distributed prior to the start of each month.

    a. In-town newspapers pools rotate each day of the week, including weekends, regardless of whether the president is in town. Separate rotations are established for out-of-town pool assignments.

    b. Organizations are responsible for keeping track of their order in pool rotations and should be prepared for weekend movements when they are next in the rotation.

    c. Broadcaster poolers rotate daily.

    3. Types of pools

    a. In-town travel pool: AP, Reuters, Bloomberg writers; AP, Reuters, AFP photographers; newspaper photographer; magazine photographer; agency photographer; network TV crew and correspondent; radio correspondent; newspaper writer.
    b. In-house coverage pool (White House photo ops): Travel pool plus AFP writer, independent television crew and correspondent, TV network cuts camera.
    c. Open photo-writing pool (White House photo ops): In-house coverage pool plus all other photographers.
    d. Air Force One travel pool: AP, Reuters, Bloomberg writers; AP, Reuters, AFP photographers; magazine photographer; network TV crew and correspondent; radio correspondent; newspaper writer; magazine writer.
    e. Expanded pool: Air Force One pool plus correspondent and crew from other TV networks and photographers from other news magazines. Also, local pool, consisting generally of newspaper writer, newspaper photographer, TV crew and correspondent.
    f. VP/First Lady pools: Each office works with rotation list of organizations that have agreed to participate. The offices can select pooler if next three in rotation decline.

    4. All pool members are expected to fulfill their pool responsibilities. Pool members who leave the White House during the day should notify the Press Office where they can be reached. Poolers who are unable to cover events, other than purely protective evening or weekend travel pools, are expected to arrange for a substitute and notify the White House Press Office. It is the responsibility of the pooler, not the White House Press Office, to arrange a substitute and notify the Press Office. Organizations that frequently miss pools may be subject to a recommendation that they be dropped from the rotation.

    5. Pool members are required to provide a pool report prior to filing their own stories. Generally, the newspaper pooler prepares a written report and broadcast poolers report orally. All poolers are expected, as warranted, to contribute to written pool reports, especially during out-of-town travel and aboard Air Force One. Pool reports should be filed for all pooled events, including protective pools in which poolers do not attend the event.

    6. The pool’s primary responsibility is to provide timely information on news-sensitive actions, movements and statements, including quotes as precise and complete as circumstances permit. In some cases, such as Air Force One interviews that end as the flight lands, it is appropriate to file a brief, to-the-point report followed by a supplement when time allows. The report must include relevant comments offered on the record or on background by senior administration officials as well as color and detail of the type used in newspaper stories. Even when a White House transcript is anticipated after presidential (or other) pooled remarks, a pool report summarizing presidential and other remarks should be filed promptly. Poolers may not use quotes or observations in reports for their own publications that are not included in their pool reports.

    7. Print pool reports are submitted by e-mail to the White House Press Office for distribution. It is the pooler’s responsibility to determine which White House Press Office staffer is on duty to accept and distribute pool reports.

    8. Radio poolers are expected to provide audio directly to other radio correspondents when the audio of an event is not on the White House mult.

    9. Out-of-town travel transportation: Travel Pool vehicles in presidential motorcades are Wire 1, Wire 2 and press vans. The Air Force One Pool and Travel Pool correspondents use Wire 1 and Wire 2. Camera crews use camera cars and members of the expanded travel pool use the press vans.