Journalists criticize White House for 'secrecy'

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

CHICAGO (AP) — Editors and reporters meeting in Chicago raised concerns Wednesday about what they described as lack of access and transparency undermining journalists' work, several blaming the current White House for setting standards for secrecy that are spreading nationwide.

Criticism of President Barack Obama's administration on the issue of openness in government came on the last day of a three-day joint convention of the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Associated Press Photo Managers.

"The White House push to limit access and reduce transparency has essentially served as the secrecy road map for all kinds of organizations — from local and state governments to universities and even sporting events," said Brian Carovillano, the AP's managing editor for U.S. news, during a panel discussion.

Also speaking at the conference was James Risen, a New York Times reporter who is facing potential jail time over the government's efforts to force him to testify at the trial of a former CIA officer who is accused of leaking classified information.

Risen said pressure on reporters and their sources was having a chilling effect on newsgathering. He added that the government appeared to be taking advantage of how the media industry has been weakened amid the growing influence of online news sources and financial hardships.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz says Obama is committed to transparency.