White House Makes Significant Changes To Briefing Room Seating Plan

The White House Correspondents’ Association unveiled the new seating chart for the White House briefing room yesterday, making significant changes to the current placement of news organizations for Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s briefings. This is the first time that the White House briefing room’s seating chart has been adjusted since 2015.

According to Politico, right-leaning news outlets have been awarded more seats in the brief room in the recent revision, including seats for conservative television networks Newsmax and One America News, plus the right-wing British tabloid, the Daily Mail. However, the chart shows that One America News’ seat will be shared with the BBC. The British public broadcaster previously shared a seat in the White House briefing room with the Boston Globe, which appears to have lost its seat in favor of other outlets.

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post and the Spanish-language television network Univision have been awarded a shared seat in the briefing room.

The first row of the seating chart remains unchanged, populated by major television networks, including both Fox News and CNN. Changes have, however, been made to the briefing room’s second row, with USA Today moving closer to the podium, switching spots with AP Radio, which is now seated on the second row alongside other radio outlets.

According to the Hill, changes to the briefing room seating plan are currently made by the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), not the White House itself. However, senior officials in the Trump administration have previously signaled that they may in the future bring decision making as regards the briefing room back to the White House itself.

In deciding the seating arrangement for the White House press briefings, the WHCA reportedly considers multiple criteria, including regular briefing attendance and commitment to the White House beat, in order to ensure that real estate in the briefing room doesn’t go unused. WHCA President Jeff Mason also said that the board looks at news outlets’ audiences, both in terms of reach and in terms of preserving (or in some cases adding) diversity in the briefing room, which explains some of the changes made in this most recent shake-up.

The process of arranging media outlets in the briefing room is said to take months, with careful consideration put into the placement of different outlets.

[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]