Press Briefings Section Lacking On Obama WhiteHouse.gov Site

As a search of whitehouse.gov caches through the site archive.org shows, the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations often featured transcripts of their daily press briefings easily accessible on the Web site. In the case of the Bush administration, this writer can attest that transcripts of daily briefings often appeared within a few hours after having concluded.

But, as the Obama White House page declares, "Change Has Come to America," with the new administration failing to have a place on the White House Web page for daily press briefings.

The redesigned Web home for the Obama administration went live at noon on Tuesday, and contains a "Briefing Room" page that contains seven sections, including a blog, a weekly video address archive, and an archive for press pool reports, but  no section for the daily press briefings.

What's more, the press pool reports section as of Friday at 10:45 a.m. ET remains empty and may ultimately end up being scrapped. As Washington Post's Anne Kornblut reported yesterday on the paper's Web site, the White House press corps is rather possessive of its pool reports and won't make them available to the White House for publication:

The new White House web site is expected to display many cool things once it's fully operational (which, currently, it is not).

But pool reports -- the informal, quick accounts of the president's movements, generated by White House correspondents for their colleagues' consumption -- will not be among them.

Although there is a spot for pool reports on the WhiteHouse.gov site, the White House Correspondent Association says that was just for Inauguration Day, when it was unclear whether the administration would be able to distribute information given the technical glitches of assuming power.

Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press, the president of the WHCA, said everyone is in agreement that "pool reports are the media's product, not the White House's, and can't be a regular part of their Web site."

"The White House has told me that is their view, too, and it was never their intention to post pool reports on a permanent basis," Loven said.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters