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March 28, 2015

Posts in "Press Galleries"

January 26, 2015

Periodical Press Committee Takes Shape for 114th Congress

The gallery committees ensure press access throughout the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Gallery committees ensure press access to lawmakers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the 114th Congress goes into full swing, the congressional press corps is also getting situated, electing new representatives to ensure they have access to lawmakers throughout Capitol Hill.

On Monday morning, the seven-member Executive Committee of Periodical Correspondents elected its three officers, though all of the offices were uncontested. The quiet officer elections also coincided with uncontested committee member elections. With only seven journalists vying for the seven slots, each of the contenders won a spot on the committee without an election. Journalists who were vying to be on the committee did have to submit a petition with at least 25 signatures from current members of the gallery.

According to Senate Periodical Press Gallery Director Ed Pesce, the committee member and officer elections are not usually contentious. The periodical elections were a sharp contrast to the Standing Committee of Correspondents for the Daily Press elections last week, where a tie vote led to a coin toss deciding one of the committee spots.

Heather Rothman of Bloomberg BNA was elected to her second full term as the periodical committee chairman, while The Hill’s Alex Bolton will serve as treasurer and Leo Shane III of Military Times will be the secretary. Shane is new to the committee, along with Lindsey McPherson of Tax Analysts. The other returning members include Politico’s Manu Raju, CQ Roll Call’s Jason Dick, and TIME’s Jay Newton-Small. The committee represents more than 1,200 journalists who are credentialed through the periodical galleries.

“We cover a wide swath of organizations and represent a lot of interests,” Rothman said in a phone interview, noting that the committee includes members from broad and niche publications. She later added, “It’s a great group and I’m happy and honored to be a member of the committee and to have the support as chairman of my fellow committee members.”

Rothman said she is looking forward to ensuring the press corps has access to lawmakers throughout the Capitol, especially as more reporters flock to the Hill and have to meet the demands of an ever-changing news cycle. In addition to ensuring access, the committee is also responsible for approving credentials and dealing with any violations of press gallery rules.

RELATED:

Standing Committee of Correspondents Election Decided by Coin Toss

Standing Committee of Correspondents: SCOTUSblog Fails to Demonstrate Editorial Independence

SCOTUSblog Credentialing Appeal Will Play Out in Public Hearing

Press Galleries Pushing McCarthy for ‘Pen and Pad’ Briefings

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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January 23, 2015

Standing Committee of Correspondents Election Decided by Coin Toss

 Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., speaks with reporters in the basement of the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The standing committee ensures the press has access to lawmakers throughout the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The late-night Senate votes weren’t the only drama on Capitol Hill Thursday. Up in the Senate Daily Press Gallery, an election to fill a spot on the Standing Committee of Correspondents for the Daily Press came down to a coin toss.

Four members of the press campaigned for three open spots on the committee that oversees the House and Senate daily press galleries. Matthew Daly of the Associated Press garnered the most votes, 161, while NJ.com/New Jersey Star-Ledger’s Jonathan Salant was a close second with 157 votes. But The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe and the Omaha World Herald’s Joseph Morton were tied for third place, each receiving 138 votes. Full story

September 17, 2014

Press Galleries Pushing McCarthy for ‘Pen and Pad’ Briefings

McCarthy has expressed interest in reinstating the briefings. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy has expressed interest in reinstating the briefings. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the Capitol Hill press corps are pushing for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to reinstate weekly “pen and pad” briefings to discuss the agenda, a tradition that ended with former Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

The chairmen of the Periodical, Daily and Radio-TV press galleries submitted a letter to McCarthy Tuesday evening, urging him to bring back the weekly meetings and set a date for his first briefing in November, when Congress returns.

McCarthy spokesman Mike Long wrote in an email, “We’re reviewing the letter.” He did not know when the leader will respond to the request.

In their letter, Heather Rothman of Bloomberg BNA, Siobhan Hughes of The Wall Street Journal, and Frank Thorp V of NBC News pointed out that McCarthy has expressed interest in holding the briefings.

McCarthy told a group of reporters Monday that he is interested in holding pen-and-pad briefings but he has yet to formally respond to the media’s request for the meetings.

“These meetings are crucial to our ability to follow the agenda of the majority party of the House,” they wrote in the letter, which was shared with CQ Roll Call.

The leaders of the press corps also appealed to McCarthy’s own desire for transparency.

“You have listed ‘transparency in government’ as an ideal you strive to achieve,” they wrote, “and we believe interfacing regularly with the Capitol Hill Press Corps is an important step toward this goal.”

Cantor put an end to the weekly briefings in 2011. Since Cantor lost his primary and resigned, the press has been pushing to reinstate the briefings. In addition to the letter sent Tuesday, the chairmen issued a similar letter in July and also met with McCarthy’s staff to discuss the issue in August.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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June 26, 2014

Cornyn: More to SCOTUSblog Credentials Than I Initially Believed

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The lone member of Congress to publicly question the decision to deny SCOTUSblog congressional press credentials recanted his criticism on Thursday.

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told CQ Roll Call that his views have evolved since Monday, when he sent out a tweet hours after the Standing Committee of Correspondents for the Daily Press rejected SCOTUSblog’s appeal that seemed critical of the journalists’ discretion.

“I’ve had some further conversations that explained how that credentialing process occurs,” Cornyn said. “I understand that the intent is to create some standards that are useful in terms of making this an orderly place and … that it not be used for ideological or other purposes by people who’ve got an axe to grind.” Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 4:55 p.m.
Press Galleries

June 23, 2014

SCOTUSBlog Wants Senate Rules Committee to Interpret ‘Editorial Independence’

After a second rejection in its quest for Capitol Hill press credentials, SCOTUSblog is appealing to the Senate Rules Committee.

At issue is what constitutes “editorial independence.”

The Standing Committee of Correspondents for the Daily Press stood firm Monday on its heavily scrutinized decision to deny SCOTUSblog’s application, stating that the publisher fails the independence test, primarily because he and his law firm argue cases before the high court.

To publisher Tom Goldstein, the award-winning, often cited content on SCOTUSblog is proof of the outlet’s credibility. He insists the blog’s editorial policy — soliciting non-staff reporters to cover cases argued by his law firm, and keeping finances separate — functions as a firewall between SCOTUSblog and his law firm, ensuring objective and neutral coverage. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 4:57 p.m.
Press Galleries

Standing Committee of Correspondents: SCOTUSblog Fails to Demonstrate Editorial Independence

The journalists in charge of Capitol Hill press credentials for daily publications are standing firm on their decision to deny SCOTUSblog’s application, stating that the publisher fails the “fundamental test of editorial independence,” primarily because he and his law firm argue cases before the high court.

During a brief Monday morning meeting, Standing Committee of Correspondents for the Daily Press Chairwoman Siobhan Hughes, a Capitol Hill reporter for the Wall Street Journal, asked the four fellow journalists on the committee if there was  a motion to reconsider the heavily scrutinized April decision.

The reporters assembled in a meeting room on the first floor of the Capitol — employees of Stephens Media Group, the Washington Post, Bloomberg and CQ Roll Call — remained silent. In the month since SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein and veteran courts reporter Lyle Denniston appeared before the panel for a 90-minute public appeal hearing, none had changed their mind. Instead, they signed off on a letter to Goldstein that explains why SCOTUSblog fails to pass muster for the gallery’s standards of  editorial independence. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 11:30 a.m.
Press Galleries

May 23, 2014

Journalists Question Editorial Firewall in SCOTUSblog Credentials Appeal

The journalists who rejected SCOTUSblog’s application for congressional press credentials want to clarify that their heavily-scrutinized decision was not based on the “quality” of the award-winning blog’s coverage of the Supreme Court.

After a 90-minute public appeal hearing that delved into the editorial independence of the blog, the Standing Committee of Correspondents for the Daily Press announced that it “does not make decisions based on the quality of content, because to do so would place us in a censorship role.”

Rather, the elected panel of five journalists “exists to ensure that no person or publication be torn between covering Congress and influencing government outcomes,” the group asserted in a statement following a question-and-answer session with veteran Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston and SCOTUSblog co-founder and publisher Tom Goldstein.

The May 23 panel in the Capitol Visitor Center drew about 40 congressional staff members and journalists, including SCOTUSblog’s Amy Howe, who live-blogged the appeal for the site. Journalists of the standing committee and press gallery staff sat elbow-to-elbow on three sides of a square table and took turns volleying questions at Denniston and Goldstein. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 5:43 p.m.
Press Galleries

May 12, 2014

SCOTUSblog Credentialing Appeal Will Play Out in Public Hearing

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On May 23, SCOTUSblog comes to Capitol Hill to make its case for the congressional press credentials it says are key to its coverage of Supreme Court nominations and hearings related to the court’s budget.

The outcome, however, could extend beyond the case of SCOTUSblog, because it concerns the rules under which all journalists are credentialed to cover Congress and addresses recurring issues the rapidly changing media industry contends with.

More immediately at stake, though, are the congressional credentials of veteran reporter Lyle Denniston, who has been a journalist of the law for more than 66 years. All but 10 of those years have been spent covering the highest court in the land. Denniston has covered one-quarter of all of the Supreme Court justices, and he has reported on the entire careers on the bench of 10 of the justices.

Denniston is SCOTUSblog’s full-time reporter at the court and was issued a daily gallery credential through the blog in 2013, after a pursuit that spanned many years and required many modifications to the popular site to meet strict guidelines governing journalists’ access to the Capitol.

The Standing Committee of Correspondents for the Daily Press, an elected panel of five journalists that denied SCOTUSblog’s application for credentials in April, is giving SCOTUSblog the chance to appeal its decision during a public meeting on May 23 at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol Visitor Center. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 4:17 p.m.
Press Galleries

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