City Hall media, Garcetti reach a meeting of the minds

Remember when the City Council and the media who cover them were squabbling over access during meetings? That was back in May. It's taken until now to reach an accord, but reach they have. The new rules, much like the old rules that prevailed for years, are after the jump. One upshot: since access applies only to credentialed journalists, it means the LAPD decides who gets access — and the LAPD won't credential most bloggers or journalists who aren't employed full-time by a traditional outlet.

KABC Radio reporter Michael Linder does the honors:

Eric Garcetti’s staff today issued these revised rules for media covering City Council meetings...

· Only credentialed media and those involved in council meetings will be allowed behind the ropes during meetings, unless specifically invited by a member.

· Unless conducting official business, aisles must be kept clear (stay behind the black marble floor lines and pillars). Media may enter aisles to request an interview from a member or their staff. Individual members may request that they not be disturbed during Council meetings and those requests must be respected.

· Sergeants may begin clearing aisles 15 minutes before meetings per existing Council rules. [Note: This explains the expulsion of KNX and KFI from chambers before a recent council meeting convened.]

· Off-camera interviews may occur freely away from members’ desks and off the aisles. [Note: aisles are defined as the passageway between Council members’ desks and the black marble floor line and pillars.]

· The platforms on the dais to either side of the President’s desk are reserved for media. Preference shall be given to video and still cameras. In the event that the dais is full, the Council President’s staff shall make accommodations as appropriate/feasible.

· Television reporters whose cameras are on the dais may stand alongside. Radio reporters using the dais mult-boxes may do the same. No sitting on dais steps. Council President’s staff will discuss chairs on a case-by-case basis.

· The first two rows of the gallery, to the right as the clerk faces the gallery, shall be reserved for the media. Sergeants may seat others there, but space must be made for the media.

· The staff of the Council President shall be responsible for addressing any questions/concerns/accommodations from the media raised during meetings and will work with them to find a solution on site.

While radio, print and Internet may conduct interviews behind columns and in the gallery, television will be expected to record its interviews in the media room. Council is concerned about the disruptive effect of TV camera lights on the floor of Council chambers during meetings. Council members need not excuse themselves from Council meetings to adjourn to the media room. TV interviews conducted in chambers after the close of Council meetings are fair game.

These were presented by Garcetti communications director Yusef Robb at a 4pm meeting at City Hall. Present were LA Times’ David Zahniser and Patrick McDonald [sic], KNX’s Claudia Peschiutta, CNS’ Christina Villacorte and myself. None voiced any objections.

Unless there are other concerns from the media, these rules will be formalized in a letter to be signed by Council leadership: Garcetti, Perry, Zine. The letter will indicate these rules will supersede any previous letters and email. Garcetti’s staff will review the new rules with Council’s sergeants at arms.

Seems we have successfully restored the courtesies that have existed for years between Council members and the media. Please let me know if you have any issues not addressed here.

Thanks for your support.

The second Times representative was Patrick J. McDonnell.

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