National Press Club

An Open Letter to Jeff Larson, CEO, 2016 Republican National Convention

October 26, 2015 | By John Hughes | president@press.org

Mr. Jeff Larson
Chief Executive Officer
2016 Republican National Convention
1228 Euclid Ave., 4th Floor
Cleveland, OH 44115

October 26, 2015

Dear Mr. Larson,

The National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. We fight for a free press worldwide. We strongly believe reporters should have access to public figures and public information so they can do their jobs, which are essential in a democracy.

Therefore, we were disappointed to learn that the Republican National Convention Committee is planning to charge an access fee to cover the 2016 convention. We believe the fee amounts to a hindrance for reporters who are trying to cover elected officials at an event of enormous public interest and importance. In particular, the fee could be a burden for small or independent news gatherers that may lack the financial resources of their larger competitors. Something as basic and fundamental as reporting on elected officials should be accessible to all journalists regardless of their organization's financial reserves.

We understand that even in charging a fee, the convention committee still plans to allow reporters who don't pay into the arena. But the vantage points these reporters will be given inhibit their ability to gain access to the convention floor to interview public officials.

We strongly request that you eliminate the planned fee. Thank you so much.

Sincerely,

John Hughes
National Press Club President