At the end of April members of the White House press corps began to speak out against a perceived lack of access to the president. Now White House correspondents are facing a whole new type of access issue: Their travel budgets have fallen off, making it harder for them to keep up with the president.
The number of charter flights for reporters to follow the president on trips has sharply declined in recent months, according to The New York Times. Last year the press spent a total of $18 million on such travel arrangements.
Only a dozen reporters are allowed to accompany the president on Air Force One; everyone else–those correspondents “outside the bubble”–traditionally charter a flight together. With news budgets tight, however, reporters are having to fly commercial days in advance, take buses or miss trips altogether.
The decision of whether or not to charter a plane comes down to a vote between the five major networks — ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and NBC — and Edwin Chen, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, who gets two votes on behalf of all the other reporters.
Things are tighter than ever at the news networks. ABC News recently cut 300 jobs, and CBS and CNN are considering a partnership that would allow them to share news-gathering resources.
“The sole reason is money,” Mr. Chen told The Times.