Reporters appeal for equity, transparency in Cuomo briefings
Amanda Fries is reporting for the Times Union reporters covering the state Capitol are calling on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to consider equity when picking which journalists get to ask questions during his virtual news conferences, including giving more transparency and accessibility to the press. The Legislative Correspondents Association, or LCA, is made up of dozens of reporters and editors from various news outlets. The association sent a letter February 1, requesting the governor allow reporters to ask at least one follow-up question; diversify which reporters are selected for questions by taking into account race, ethnicity, gender and age; and alert news outlets at least two hours in advance of his public appearances. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the governor shifted his briefings to conference calls as well as the online platform, Zoom. But who gets picked to ask a question and their inability to ask follow-up questions for clarity have plagued reporters for months. Some reporters described that despite taking part in dozens of the briefings, and requesting to ask a question, they are passed over for reporters who Cuomo and his executive team appear to favor. In the letter, LCA reporters recommended Cuomo adopt a practice similar to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s virtual press conferences, where a variety of reporters are called on and news outlets are guaranteed one question per week. Richard Azzopardi, Cuomo's spokesman, and others in Cuomo's office have declined to say specifically who determines which reporters are called on, other than to say "a lot of us" when asked if it is members of the governor's communications team. Read the full story in the Times Union.