November 27, 2013

“The editors of McClatchy newspapers have agreed not to publish photography issued by the White House,” McClatchy Vice President for News/Washington Editor Anders Gyllenhaal told staffers in an email Tuesday night. The policy is not “a significant departure from current practices,” he says.

USA Today told staffers Sunday it wouldn’t use such photos. News organizations protested the White House’s stingy rules about photo access last week.

Gyllenhaal’s email:

McClatchy’s position on White House photo practices

The editors of McClatchy newspapers have agreed not to publish photography issued by the White House as part of a follow-up to concerns raised by news organizations over the administration’s increasingly stringent photo policies.

This will not be a significant departure from current practices, since our newspapers and websites rarely rely on White House-issued photos of news events. But we think it’s important to take a stance that helps sends the message that the limited access works against the public’s interests, diminishes the flow of information and often creates an inaccurate portraits of events in the White House. As one editor, Paul Osmundson of the Rock Hill Herald, put it: “The leader of the free world should be willing to be photographed by a free news media.”

McClatchy is one of a list of news organizations that signed a letter to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney last week, outlining concerns about the photo access practices. The News Tribune has already announced a similar policy, which editor Karen Peterson wrote about in a column on Sunday.

The only exception would be when access by a news photographer is not possible for national security reasons, such as the recent photo of White House staff members gathered during the bin Laden raid. While instances like these are rare, the editors will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis. As it is, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services does not move White House photos handouts.

Please let me know if there are questions about these guidance or the logistics involving the coverage.


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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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