In the wake of Donald Trump’s ditching of the media when he went out to dinner in New York, a move that the White House Correspondents Association has called ‘unacceptable,’ eighteen journalism organizations from all over the United States have called in the President-elect to respect tradition and allow them access to his presidency.
Dear President-elect Trump,
We, a group of diverse journalism associations representing thousands of journalists from the nation’s capital to every corner of the country, begin this letter on a hopeful note. Your administration is a blank slate, and we are eager to work with you to perpetuate one of this nation’s great strengths: our freedom of the press.
We expect that you, as the new leader of the free world, will preserve longstanding traditions that ensure coverage of the Trump presidency. The idea of a press pool that covers all of the president’s movements is one that dates back to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration. Every president of both parties has treated this important tradition with respect. The role of the press pool is critically important to our country whose citizens depend on and deserve to know what the president is doing. This isn’t about access for the press itself; it’s about access for Americans in diverse communities across the country. Your constituents receive information from a variety of platforms to learn about what our president is doing.
Being president is an enormous responsibility, and working with the White House Correspondents’ Association to ensure journalists’ access is one small but important part of that. We call on you to commit to a protective press pool from now until the final day of your presidency. We respectfully ask you to instill a spirit of openness and transparency in your administration in many ways but first and foremost, via the press pool.
We also call for access to you via regular press conferences and pool sprays and to your key decision-makers. You have an opportunity as incoming president to set the tone for your staff speaking on the record for the sake of transparency. We also hope your administration will improve response rates to FOIA requests as a way to show the American people, and the world, that the republic belongs to the people.
A great America depends on having sunlight on its leaders. We expect the traditions of White House press coverage to be upheld whether in Washington or elsewhere. Again we, a joint group of diverse journalism associations, speak as one as we respectfully ask that you take these steps to ensure access to our members covering your administration.
The National Press Club
National Press Club Journalism Institute
Society of Professional Journalists
Mizell Stewart III
American Society of News Editors
Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation
Reporters Without Borders/RSF
Committee to Protect Journalists
Sandy K. Johnson
National Press Foundation
National Association of Black Journalists
President, Board of Directors
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
Native American Journalists Association
Asian American Journalists Association
National Association of LGBTQ Journalists
Elisa Lees Munoz
The International Women’s Media Foundation
Regional Reporters Association
President, Board of Directors
Online News Association
Journalism and Women Symposium
National Press Photographers Association