The White House Correspondents' Association, the organization that represents hundreds of reporters who cover the presidency, is crafting an extensive list of press freedom rules that it wants the White House to adhere to — following an incident in which President Obama kept reporters out of a meeting with Mormon leaders.
"The principle of the full [White House press] pool is so important to us that we're working to address it in a set of written practices we'd like this and future administrations to follow," Association President Christi Parsons said in a statement to the Washington Examiner media desk. "We've been working on that document for almost a year now and will have more to say about it when we release it later this spring."
White House press pools are the pack of journalists, broadcast and print, who follow the president each day, writing up his activity and dispatching those reports to an extensive list of other media professionals.
On Thursday, the pool of reporters following President Obama to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was meeting with leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were broken up and only photographers were allowed in to see the meeting.
Members of the Association complained to the White House that print reporters were not allowed into the meeting to write details about it. It was not, however, a formal complaint, which requires a vote by the Association board.
"Even in what seems like a photo opportunity, it's important for the writers, producers and radio reporters to see it, too," Parsons told the Examiner. "That's why the [Association] is constantly advocating for greater news media access to the president, the White House and the people's business."
The Association has often been at odds with the Obama administration, which has been accused by many high-profile journalists of squelching press freedoms.