Kyle Pope, the editor in chief and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review penned an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump on behalf of the U.S. Press Corps setting some clear ground rules moving forward.
“In these final days before your inauguration, we thought it might be helpful to clarify how we see the relationship between your administration and the American press corps,” the letter starts. Before writing up the list of eight demands, Pope offered background on Trump’s relationship with the media over the course of his campaign and since winning the election.
“You’ve banned news organizations from covering you. You’ve taken to Twitter to taunt and threaten individual reporters and encouraged your supporters to do the same. You’ve advocated for looser libel laws and threatened numerous lawsuits of your own, none of which has materialized,” Pope wrote.
“But while you have every right to decide your ground rules for engaging with the press, we have some, too.”
President Trump may no longer allow journalists to have access to him, but that’s OK, Pope argued, noting, “We are very good at finding alternative ways to get information … Telling reporters that they won’t get access to something isn’t what we’d prefer, but it’s a challenge we relish.”
Pope also noted that moving forward, Trump should expect U.S. journalists to work together. “We now recognize that the challenge of covering you requires that we cooperate and help one another whenever possible,” he wrote, citing Trump’s refusal to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta at a press conference last Wednesday.
“So, when you shout down or ignore a reporter at a press conference who has said something you don’t like, you’re going to face a unified front,” Pope argued. “We’ll work together on stories when it makes sense, and make sure the world hears when our colleagues write stories of importance.”
But the biggest takeaway from Pope’s letter was a reclamation of journalism moving forward and a notice to the president-elect that journalists will no longer play by his rules. “We’ve been around since the founding of the republic, and our role in this great democracy has been ratified and reinforced again and again and again,” he wrote.
“Enjoy your inauguration.”