Jan 24, 2017

Opinion: Yes, open White House press briefings to the public

White House James Brady Press Briefing Room

(White House courtesy photo)
Increase public access to White House press briefings

Public access to the White House press briefings
As a lifetime journalist, a couple of things caught my attention this week, a proposal by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to open up some seats in the White House press briefing room to regular citizens, and a reference by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on the use of Skype to field questions from media that are geographically removed from the White House. Both are good ideas.
Practically speaking, it would be a good idea for the White House press office to consider using social media to field occasional questions directly from the public that will be answered by Spicer and or his staff. The only requirement would be that the questions come from real people and from all sectors of our communities across the country. The question(s) of the day could be read or highlighted by the staff in some way and answered.
It makes sense to change the way press briefings are handled to reflect the way our society functions in modern times. President Donald J. Trump himself has shown a marked preference for using Twitter. It also gets us away from the notion that media on the front row seats of these briefings are somehow ivory-towerish and disconnected from mainstream America. Questions by experienced reporters are important, and so are questions from every-day people that are living the effects of government policies.

Diana Washington Valdez, The Digie Zone MM Properties president & publisher