The country’s big wire services aren’t going to be a full-time presence in the U.S. Treasury’s press room. However, a source in Treasury and spokespeople for multiple media outlets told Business Insider the change has nothing to do with rumours of reporters being upset with the agency’s treatment of the press.
In a move that was reportedly rolled out last week, four wire services — Associated Press, Reuters, Dow Jones, and Bloomberg — “are giving up” manning the room, according to a Monday post on Jim Romenesko’s media blog. The room will remain open and accessible to equipment, the report said.
One of Romenesko’s sources described the move as a response to the Treasury’s unproductive relationship with media outlets.
“They complain there’s no news and no access, so they’re taking their ball and going home,” the source said of the wire services.
However, a source in the Treasury department and several media reps downplayed the significance of the change to Business Insider. Instead, they stressed the declining need to constantly have on-the-scene Treasury reporters in the age of electronic communication.
“‘Abandon,’ in the post you cite, is inaccurate,” Paul Colford, the AP’s director of media relations, wrote in an email.
“This is purely a technical move,” Colford continued. “We are keeping our equipment at Treasury and, of course, we continue to report on the department. We will get vital information just as fast and we will still report on major events from our workstation inside the Treasury press room. However, we are confident that we don’t need to be rooted to a desk in the Treasury press room all day, every day.”
A spokesperson for Dow Jones had a similar take.
“In an effort to improve coverage of the Treasury Department, Dow Jones is working with other news organisations as well as the department itself, to modernize communication and dissemination of information. Dow Jones will continue to maintain desks and equipment to report news from The Treasury Department,” Colleen Schwartz, Dow Jones’ director of corporate communications, echoed.
A Treasury source emphasised the reporters would still have “work space” in the press room.
“We discussed our commitment to continuing to provide as much information by email as possible. At the same time, there was broad agreement among the wires that maintaining their work space in the press room was something they found valuable and planned to continue,” said the source.
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