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The White House Briefing Room Seating Chart

Here it is, the newly approved official 2015 White House briefing room seating chart!!

WH briefing room seating

But, unless it’s a briefing room presidential press conference, in which case every rump will be in its official seat, don’t use this as a cheat sheet.

During the daily briefings, only the first two or three rows are filled with people in their proper places. Beyond that, it varies, especially as you get toward the back.

Even when I worked for a company that had a seat – alas, ICYMI, White House Dossier does not – I would try to move up to the second or third row, as I do today. The rule is, if you’re not in your seat, anyone else can have it, except for the first row, where bohemians and gypsies must never wander.

Of course, this being Washington, the seating arrangement in the briefing room is a vicious turf war, connoting status. Probably a quarter the organizations with seats never use them and couldn’t Google Map their way to the White House. Another quarter are rarely seen. But oh boy, just try and take their seats away or move them back a row . . .

Note this statement given to Politico by Jeff Mason of the White House Correspondents’ Association, the Reuters reporter who ran the latest seating assignment review, which resulted in a few minor changes:

The review took months to complete and was approved unanimously by the WHCA board after careful consultation with and input from all of the affected organizations. We’re confident that we’ve made gentle adjustments that give designated spots to the reporters who use them most.

My God. Talk about walking on eggshells. You’d think they were negotiating to strip CBS of its nuclear weapons.

One of the great battles over the years involved Fox News vs. CNN. For ages, the Fox seat was behind CNN’s. Then, uh oh, a little thing happened with the ratings, and Fox could not be denied. Now, as you can see, Fox’s seat is just slightly better than CNN’s. It even eclipses NBC. MSNBC is a few rows back only because the NBC correspondent does double duty on the sister network.

UPI used to have a seat front and center – long after it had lost its war with the Associated Press and no one subscribed anymore – out of deference to Helen Thomas. When she left UPI, it became the Helen Thomas seat. And when she wasn’t present, nobody would sit there, until the guy who took over for UPI started doing it, making everyone cringe. I thought it was pretty funny.

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13 Responses to The White House Briefing Room Seating Chart

  1. Thank you for posting this. Most interesting.
    We’ve all wondered who sits where, or really who-the-heck-is-that.

    Just wondering – who or what decides if any gets a seat there? A circulation number, a political leaning, a veiwership, what.
    Also, does the Press Secretary communicate with anyone by means of computer or earpiece while standing up there spinning like a top?

    • Yes Keith, Thanks for the information. I have always wondered where everyone came from behind the first row.
      Great question by srdem 65, would like to know as well if he has an earpiece.

  2. Interesting, thanks Keith for the behind the scenes snapshots.

    I wish the WHPC would understand the American people are on their side and we don’t want them pandering to the WH. We just want to know the truth :)

  3. Thanks Keith for the seating chart.

    My question is,…who determines who is seated in what row ?
    Your article alludes to a certain rank within the news media.

    Is it because Josh has to have the names of the reporters that he deems necessary to call on ?
    Or is it because he doesn’t want to take questions from people that can embarrass him
    or put him on the spot and pin him down on the current issues.

  4. My question is why anyone is still in the room when the scheduled speaker is more than five minutes late. Obama is chronically late. Don’t know about Josh, but Carny also tended to show up very late. Just once, I’d like to see the press walk out, and leave behind notes saying “We have real work to do”.

    Speaking of CBS (and its nukes): “Stonewalled” has some very interesting data on Scott Pelley and the CBS Evening News and their lack of affection for the truth. Well worth the read (I have no interest in the book, other than spreading its message).

    • I have been waiting for them to all walk out together when they are getting stone walled with poor answers. I do not expect them to use bad words like: We have had enough of your ****. However, them saying enough is enough, will make the point just fine.

  5. Who cares where they sit? No one asks any pertinent questions anyway. They are all suck ups who are living in the make believe world of Washington, DC. It’s just a game of musical chairs.

  6. And here I thought Ed Henry (aka Smirky) sat next Chris Jansing because they knew each other from Albany. Ed went to Siena College and Chris was an Albany area newscaster.

    Ed always looks like he is smirking, but I thoroughly his reporting.