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News prof: Media losing access war with Obama, 'Escalate the fight'

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Media,White House Correspondents Assoc,White House Press Corps

The news media is losing its battle for access against President Obama's gatekeepers and other public officials and should “escalate the fight” for news, a top journalism professor is demanding.

“Journalists must keep up — no, escalate — the fight for access to information the public needs and has a right to get,” said Butch Ward, the former managing director at The Poynter Institute, where he teaches.

“Just get the story,” he barked in his Poynter blog.

Ward noted how the White House and local authorities are trying to shut down the media and instead deliver their story directly via the internet.

“The Obama administration has limited access by photojournalists and other reporters to White House events and to the president. Local governments and police refuse to speak with reporters whose work they dislike. Candidates restrict reporters to ‘press areas,’ ensuring that conversations with the public are not overheard. Professional and collegiate sports teams have steadily made it more difficult to cover live events,” he wrote.

“Many of those who control access have decided that thanks to technology, they need news organizations less and less to deliver their messages. So as they steadily build their capacity and expertise for communicating directly to the public, they grow bolder about telling journalists to take a walk,” he added.

And the result has been that the media is on the losing end. “Forgive me if I don’t sense we’re winning,” he said in comments echoed by several Washington news outlets and officials angered with the White House over coverage access.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.