The White House Correspondents’ Association and the University of Maryland today announced the creation of a unique new window into the world of the president and the press — a permanent and ongoing digital, searchable archive of presidential pool reports produced by White House correspondents.
The collection will be produced through a partnership between the WHCA, the University of Maryland — including the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, the University Libraries and the College of Information Studies — and the Newseum Institute.
The presidential pool reports are produced by journalists who are part of a small group that covers the president — in the White House, at events, in the motorcade and on Air Force One — when it is not possible for the entire press corps to be present. Their written pool reports are disseminated to the rest of the press corps, once on paper, now digitally.
The White House Correspondents’ Association Pool Reports Collection will consist of the reports written every day by members of the White House press corps on the activities of the president. The collection will be kept at the university and available online.
"WHCA is proud to launch this historically significant project with our host, the University of Maryland,” said Margaret Talev, the president of the association and Senior White House Correspondent for Bloomberg. “We thank the many journalists, historians and academics at institutions throughout the country for their input in furnishing the raw work and the vision for how this resource can serve the public. It's a massive undertaking and we welcome support from organizations and individuals that would like to get involved."
“The University of Maryland is honored to have the opportunity to steward this valuable archive and research tool, a unique record of the U.S. presidency,” said Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the Merrill College. “We’re proud to make it available to the public and to scholars around the world.”
The WHCA sought to create the collection as part of its mission to ensure a strong free press and robust coverage of the presidency. At the same time, the partnership will develop educational and scholarly programs and publications based on the collection and presidential access and coverage. Work will begin this year and the archive is expected to be stood up over the next two years.
“Archiving information and making it publicly available is not only essential to accessibility and transparency in current times, but also to the accuracy of how events are remembered in the future,” said Keith Marzullo, dean of the College of Information Studies.
The collection will complement materials at the University of Maryland Libraries that document the history of radio and television broadcasting, including the Library of American Broadcasting and the National Public Broadcasting Archives.
Gene Policinski, president and chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute, said the Newseum is honored to partner in preserving the reports.
“Journalism is known as a ‘first draft of history,’” Policinski said. “This WHCA material is literally the first drafts of such first drafts.”
Photo credit: White House Correspondents' Association
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April 5, 2018