Washington Blade is first LGBTQ outlet with seat in White House briefing room
by Fred Kuhr
In a first for an LGBTQ media outlet, the Washington Blade, based in the nation’s capital, has been given a designated seat in the White House James S. Brady briefing room.
The announcement came on December 17 from the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA), which is responsible for the seating assignment in the briefing room. The move made headlines in political publications like The Hill and journalist trade publications such as Editor & Publisher magazine.
It took effect on January 3. The Blade’s White House reporter, Chris Johnson, will be responsible for filling the seat.
Steven Portnoy, president of the WHCA and White House reporter for C-SPAN Radio, said in a statement that the changes were made “to enhance diversity in the briefing room,” including seat designations for “organizations that target Black, Hispanic and LGBTQ audience” as well as publications “across the ideological spectrum.”
According to the Blade, the newspaper will share the seat with the Boston Globe. “The two publications have made an arrangement to rotate a presence in the seat on a weekly basis. The seat is in the seventh group and next to a seat shared with the Daily Caller, a conservative publication, and EWTN, a social conservative news outlet billing itself as a global network for Catholic-themed programming.”
“Thank you to the Correspondents Association for this designation,” said Blade editor Kevin Naff in a statement. “This was decades in the making and a credit to the hard work of Chris Johnson and [senior reporter] Lou Chibbaro Jr. before him. This will enable us to devote more focus to national political news impacting the LGBTQ community.”
This is the latest step in the Blade’s integration into the White House press corps. In 2013, the newspaper received a spot in the White House in-town pool rotation, a system giving reporters the responsibility of shadowing the president of the United States and reporting back on his movements and statements in the form of pool reports for the entire White House press corps.
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