LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Reporters and other members of the media were set Friday for a meeting with City Hall officials concerning new security measures affecting press coverage of Los Angeles City Council meetings.
The meeting between representatives of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Radio and TV News Association (RTNA) and Assistant Chief Deputy Ed Johnson of Council President Herb Wesson’s office comes as some reporters fear the changes could erode access at City Hall.
The proposed changes could limit access to the official City Hall “press suite” – where news conferences are regularly held – and corridors behind the Council chambers only to reporters who keep offices at City Hall, according to a press statement from investigative reporter John Schwada.
While current security measures already in place generally prevent direct access to those areas, Wesson’s proposal would go further by locking the entrance to the working press room area and limit access to reporters with security swipe cards, Schwada said.
A Wesson spokesman told LA Observed any changes are aimed at improving security and that officials “believe this can be accomplished without impeding the media.”
In 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported then-Council President and current Mayor Eric Garcetti apologized to members of the press for restricting access to officials at City Hall in an effort to keep reporters away from the aisles immediately behind the chairs of council members.