January 23, 2009
News organizations that cover the White House sparred with the Obama administration on Thursday over access issues for photographers and rules for briefings.
Representatives from Obama’s press office held a conference call with photo editors, who are concerned that the administration prefers distributing photos taken by a White House photographer in cases where photojournalists have been permitted access in the past. It was unclear whether the two sides had reached any accommodation.
The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse refused to distribute photos taken by the White House of the new president on his first day in the Oval Office because of the dispute. Still photographers were also not given access to Obama’s do-over oath of office administered Wednesday night by Chief Justice John Roberts and an economics meeting on Thursday.
Television network bureau chiefs also protested the exclusion of video cameras from the second oath of office.
“We’re in an awkward phase and there will be bumps in the road,” said Christopher Isham, CBS News Washington bureau chief. “Hopefully they will be speed bumps rather than obstacles.”