McClatchy’s newspaper editors will not publish photographs issued by the White House, Anders Gyllenhaal, vice president for news/Washington editor, told his staff.
In an e-mail Tuesday night, he explained his action was "part of a follow-up to concerns raised by news organizations over the administration’s increasingly stringent photo policies." McClatchy owns 30 newspapers.
Gyllenhaal noted "This will not be a significant departure from current practices, since our newspapers and websites rarely rely on White House-issued photos of news events. But we think it’s important to take a stance that helps sends the message that the limited access works against the public’s interests, diminishes the flow of information and often creates an inaccurate portraits of events in the White House."
He cited the view of Rock Hill Herald Editor Paul Osmundson of the Rock Hill Herald, who said, “The leader of the free world should be willing to be photographed by a free news media."
Last week, the nation's largest news organizations lodged a complaint against the White House, which imposed unprecedented limitations on photojournalists covering President Barack Obama.
They said the White House was banning photojournalists from covering Obama at some events, and then later releasing its own pictures and videos.
In a letter to the White House, 38 news organizations, which included McClatchy, protested: "Journalists are routinely being denied the right to photograph or videotape the president while he is performing his official duties."
It added, “As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the executive branch of government.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association and White House News Photographers Association also signed . Steven Thomma, McClatchy’s government and politics editor, is president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
Wednesday, Gyllenhaal explained the only exception to his policy "would be when access by a news photographer is not possible for national security reasons, such as the recent photo of White House staff members gathered during the bin Laden raid.
"While instances like these are rare, the editors will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis. As it is, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services does not move White House photos handouts."