GOP Proposes Charging Print Journalists for Convention Seats

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the first time, Republican presidential nominating convention organizers are poised to charge print journalists for a seat in the convention hall.  

GOP convention organizers are proposing charging news organizations $150 per seat in the writing press stand, which would include a chair, a table and access to electricity. The move has the press' representatives up in arms, arguing it makes convention coverage a "pay-to-play" scenario. The print media galleries issued a joint statement Monday condemning the proposal.  

Senators Rebuff Call to Open Defense Bill Markup

McCain, left, and Reed, right, support closing the markups. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members of the Capitol Hill press corps are urging lawmakers to open defense authorization markups to the public, but the senators in charge of the markups are not budging.  

"We voted and that was the decision of the committee," Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., said Monday evening. "I asked the committee what their views were and they decided that's what they wanted." McCain was referring to an April 23 committee vote to close the National Defense Authorization Act full committee markups to the public, with McCain casting the final vote to keep deliberations closed. The vote continues past practices of keeping the markup behind closed doors , which former Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., started to address what he said was the hassle of switching in and out of classified session.  

Periodical Press Committee Takes Shape for 114th Congress

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.  

Standing Committee of Correspondents Election Decided by Coin Toss

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 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. O'Keefe said in a Friday phone interview he was approached after the votes were tallied and informed there was a tie. He then went to the a back room in the gallery where the ballots were counted.  

Press Galleries Pushing McCarthy for 'Pen and Pad' Briefings

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.  

Cornyn: More to SCOTUSblog Credentials Than I Initially Believed

(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.  

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."  

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.  

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."  

SCOTUSblog Credentialing Appeal Will Play Out in Public Hearing

(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.