White House Opens Doors to 9 Local Anchors

By Merrill Knox 

The White House is welcoming nine anchors today for a local round of press that will include interviews with President Obama and comprehensive behind-the-scenes access to the White House.

In addition to their “brief” individual interviews with the President, the participating anchors will broadcast evening newscasts (during sweeps-month, as Politico’s Mike Allen points out) from the South Lawn of the White House, on special risers built for the occasion. The anchors will also have lunch with David Plouffe, interview a White House staffer from the station’s home market and get an on-camera tour of the building with a curator. Finally, they will ask one question each of Jay Carney at the daily press briefing.

The latest local push is significantly more involved than past interviews Obama has done on the local level, which have been limited to seven-minute sit-downs with the President on one predetermined topic.


Local anchors making the trip are Tracy Barry, from Portland’s KGW; John Hook, from Phoenix’s KSAZ; Adele Arakawa, from Denver’s KUSA; Amelia Santaniello, from Minneapolis’s WCCO; Dave Ward, from Houston’s KTRK; Rob McCartney, from Omaha’s KETV; Mark Wilson, from Tampa’s WTVT; Tom Schaad, from Norfolk’s WAVY and Brian Taff, from Philadelphia’s WPVI. Nikole Killion will also participate as a representative of Hearst stations.

Interestingly, this round of local interviews includes two Fox O&Os — KSAZ and WTVT. The Obama administration has a historically chilly relationship with Fox News Channel, which has flared up in recent weeks, and Fox local stations have rarely been included in the previous rounds of interviews Obama has granted.