When the press club decided to limit attendance at its Jeff Gannon-Guckert panel, “Who is a Journalist,” to press club members and credentialed journalists, a predictable backlash ensued. Among other problems, the restriction would exclude from the audience almost everyone who brought the GG affair the attention that made it newsworthy in the eyes of the press club (not to mention two of the three bloggers and the feature attraction, Gannon-Guckert, if they weren’t on the panel).
I emailed NPC vice president Jonathon Salant regarding the restrictions, with particular regard to John Aravosis, whom Salant had earlier said “can feel good about the fact that his work on highlighting Gannon led directly to the NPC event.” He wrote back this morning to clarify (lots of clarification going on) the “press only” restrictions:
John is welcome to attend, as are any bloggers, as long as they’re not going to disrupt the proceedings. We’re not going to ask people to display a congressional press pass at the door, though they should identify themselves as working for a specific Blog or organization if questioned. Please pass this along to John and anyone else who wanted to attend but were afraid they were being excluded.
Salant has been responsive and pleasant throughout our correspondence—and I would hope that everyone calling and writing the press club would return the courtesy—but I must say that “John and anyone else who wanted to attend but were afraid they were being excluded” thought so because, well, the panel attendance guidelines explicitly excluded them.
For a bunch of high-powered reporters, the club are having the devil of a time reporting on their own event.