'How Do You Think He Got So Rich?' Media Charged For Access

Pretty indicative of Romney's attitude, yes? What audacity, to charge journalists just for the ability to report from his campaign headquarters! Astounding. What's even worse is that some of those media orgs actually paid for it: BOSTON —

King_Romney.jpg

Pretty indicative of Romney's attitude, yes? What audacity, to charge journalists just for the ability to report from his campaign headquarters! Astounding. What's even worse is that some of those media orgs actually paid for it:

BOSTON — The campaign of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney appears to be setting a precedent this election year in charging journalists and news organizations for any access to a presidential campaign headquarters on the night of the election.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is locked in a tight race with Democratic President Barack Obama, will be holding his election night gathering at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, where access costs anywhere from $75 for a chair in the ballroom to $1,020 for permission to use the media filing center. Broadcast news organizations will be paying up to $6,500 for workspace.

Seriously, I'm impressed. The man could squeeze blood out of a nickel.

Obama's campaign party will be held at McCormick Place, in Chicago, and although his campaign is charging for premiums, credentialed reporters are granted access, which includes a workstation, electrical power and a wireless Internet connection, at no cost.

The credentialing process for Romney's election night activities allowed a reporter to choose where they would like to be, whether on a riser, in the ballroom or the media filing center, although prices weren't posted until days later, after an organization entered credit card billing information to confirm their credential request.

And by the time the confirmation email came along, the only option left was the media filing center, where reporters can reportedly watch the happenings in the ballroom on a closed-circuit TV with catered meals.

The Republican/MassLive.com, which will be on the ground in Boston on election night covering the Senate race, planned on sending a team of at least four reporters to Romney's headquarters, but decided to send only one after it was revealed by the Romney campaign that the cost for each approved credential was $1,020.

Romney spokesman Ryan Williams confirmed on Monday that there was indeed no way to cover the event unless paying for facilities.

"As a reporter, you need to pay for access to the filing center if you want to cover (the event)," Williams said, confirming there was no access for credentialed media otherwise.

Al Tompkins, who teaches online and broadcast journalism the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., said that restricting reporters' access to an event based on a paywall is "outrageous."

"If you're going as a journalist and need access to infrastructure, such as electricity, special lighting, etc., it makes sense that you pay your way. They are incurring a cost for that and you should have to pay as you would in any other situation," Tompkins said. "But if you aren't using anything at all, and are just looking to report from inside the building, there is no reason a credentialed member of the press should have to pay. This is paying for access to a story."

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