C-SPAN asks to cover Gridiron dinner

C-SPAN says in a letter to the Gridiron Executive Committee that if the group “is still reluctant to allow the electronic media to cover your dinner live, why not allow us to operate under the same rules as print reporters and record your dinner for playback after it concludes?”

Having one set of rules for print organizations and another for television and radio journalists seems contradictory to what we all stand for – a free press. …We request that the Gridiron Executive Committee, under your leadership, takes the historic step of allowing C-SPAN to cover your 2012 dinner under the same conditions as the print press.

Read the full letter after the jump.

March 22, 2012

Mr. George Condon
President
Grid Iron Club
Washington, DC

Dear President Condon:

As journalists, we all applaud when organizations move to become more transparent. Therefore, it was welcome news last year when the Gridiron Club’s Executive Committee announced they would begin allowing a White House pool report to be distributed after the dinner, when the President was in attendance.

George Condon

As we have done year after year, C-SPAN requests you go even further in those efforts to be transparent and allow our cameras to cover your dinner. In her response to our request last year, then President Susan Page explained that the dinner is “ON THE RECORD” but you ask that “all reporters in attendance refrain from filing, blogging or tweeting during the dinner itself. However, once it is over reporters are free to write about it.”

If the Executive Committee is still reluctant to allow the electronic media to cover your dinner live, why not allow us to operate under the same rules as print reporters and record your dinner for playback after it concludes? Having one set of rules for print organizations and another for television and radio journalists seems contradictory to what we all stand for – a free press. Even the Supreme Court next week, by releasing the audio of the oral arguments in the health care case after they are heard, is allowing us to report on their work immediately.

The headline on Robert McCartney’s column in today’s Washington Post says it best – JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY IS ON THE LINE FOR GRIDIRON CLUB. We request that the Gridiron Executive Committee, under your leadership, takes the historic step of allowing C-SPAN to cover your 2012 dinner under the same conditions as the print press. If this request is granted, we’d agree to be the pool and share our video with other news organizations. Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,

Terry Murphy
Vice President and Executive Producer
C-SPAN

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[I’ve asked Condon to share his response with Romenesko readers.]

* From 2011: C-SPAN barred from covering Obama’s first Gridiron dinner

Comments

comments

1 comment
  1. Julie said:

    Is that really the decision of the Gridiron Club or are they bowing to a demand from the White House?