MEDIA

WHCA President Says Obama Has Become 'A Heck Of A Lot Harder To Get On The Phone'

04/24/2015 01:58 pm ET
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Christi Parsons, president of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA), has spent a long time covering President Obama.

Beginning as a White House correspondent for the Chicago Tribune in 2008, Parsons has covered three presidential elections and has repeatedly fought for a more transparent White House. For years, Parsons has pushed for increased media access to the president and to make it possible for reporters to get information more quickly.

In a Q&A with Poynter, published Friday, Parsons said that this transparency is still her goal. She noted that the WHCA board is currently on its way to building a set of rules and guidelines that hopefully officials will accept in order to narrow the gap between the president and the press.

One challenge Parsons says she and the association face now more than ever is the widespread use of social media. Today, White House officials have a range of options on social media they can use to share things about the president with the public.

"There’s nothing wrong with that, except when it threatens to get in the way of their openness with the free, independent and adversarial press," Parsons told Poynter. "It takes constant vigilance to stay on top of that, as the next threat always comes from something we hadn’t heard of six months prior."

And while Parsons has worked with Obama since his time as a senator, she has noticed one big change in his behavior: "He’s a heck of a lot harder to get on the phone," she said.

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