Ann Compton: White House Should Not Exclude Press

Ann Compton, the recently retired ABC News White House correspondent, and the first woman to cover that beat for a network, told a Radio Television Digital News Foundation audience about social media tools in the hands of government, the White House in particular.

Compton received the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award, named for the late Broadcasting & Cable senior correspondent, at the RTNDF First Amendment awards dinner in Washington Wednesday (March 11). The award goes to a "a radio or television journalist or news executive who has made a major contribution to the protection of First Amendment freedoms."

In her acceptance speech she took the opportunity to echo the criticism of the White House's use of media to tell its story, sometimes to the exclusion of the outside reporters assigned to do so.

"AT the White House," in particular, "too often presidential moments are reported only by those who hold office, while the free press, the main street professionals credentialed in the White House press corps are excluded."

She said she thought it was fine that the President communicates directly to the American people, but "excluding a free and fair press from presidential events is not, and it must not stand."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.