Politico | The Hollywood Reporter
As White House press conferences turn 100 this month, Towson University political science professor Martha Joynt Kumar reassures us that they haven't lost their usefulness.
She explains that Woodrow Wilson established press conferences and invited all reporters, not just a press corps, to attend these off-the-record sessions. That form has long fallen by the wayside, with the advent of joint press conferences with other world leaders, Q&A sessions and personal interviews with chief executives.
With interviews and short question-and-answer sessions, will the solo press conference that Wilson established become a relic? Not likely. While presidents may not use them as frequently, press conferences are a place where presidents provide answers to hard questions and establish that they know what they are talking about.
Although there have been complaints that Obama has restricted press access, Kumar offers a table pointing out that Obama seems much more comfortable in one-on-one discussions that allow him "to delve into issues that are important to him and demonstrate his command of policy." He has had 79 news conferences since being elected (George W. Bush had 89 total in eight years; his father held 143 in one term), compared to 674 interviews -- 116 shy of the number that both Bushes and Bill Clinton had combined.