ABC's Sproul: Journalists To Meet With AG Regularly Starting Next Week

RTDNF award winner also says journalists must continue to fight for access to government

Robin Sproul, VP and Washington bureau chief for ABC News, said Wednesday that a group of journalists next week will start meeting regularly with the Attorney General about "ways to continue to move forward on" changes to Justice Department policies on seeking records related to newsgathering.

She called it "slow progress" on addressing issues like AP records being seized or Fox News reporter James Rosen being branded a criminal c0-conspirator under the espionage act of 1917 to get access to his e-mails and phone records, but added, "at least it is movement."

Sproul recieved the Radio Television Digital News Foundation's First Amendment Service Award at a ceremony in Washington, where she talked about that and other issues.

DOJ last July established a News Media Dialogue Group to review its revised media guidelines periodically beginning this year.

Sproul used her acceptance speech to talk about government attempts to control the message. "We're in a time in which anyone can be a broadcaster via social media, YouTube and live streaming," she said. and the temptation for the government or politicians to take control over their own news coverage is mighty."

She suggested the White House had yielded to that temptation.

Sproul said that in this "fast-moving digital age," the ability of the government to serve as its own news outlet, "going directly to citizens with a government-approved version of the truth has never been more possible."

Just visit she said. "They do their own newscasts, reported on by White House staff...They look a lot like real news stories." She said Washington bureau chiefs are having to fight to get their own cameras and reporters into events at not only the white House, but campaigns and government agencies." She said it was a fight journalists "should never give up."

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.