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The range of the press within the White House Grounds is not limited to the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room but extends to many areas within the complex from which journalists broadcast the daily news, cover unfolding events, conduct interviews, and attend scheduled press briefings. With the participation of the White House Press Office, they cover the territory fairly well and include many interesting backgrounds in their reports.

Televised presidential press conferences are very often held in the East Room or the Rose Garden, but in recent memory, alternate settings such as the Diplomatic Reception Room have been used as well. The Library, the Blue Room, and other formal parlors on the State Floor are often used by the president for one-on-one televised interviews with journalists.

Representatives from each of the major networks are generally stationed, rain or shine, in a stone-paved area just off the North Drive, called Stonehenge (until recently floored in gravel and nicknamed Pebble Beach). The North Portico provides an irresistible backdrop for the nightly news.


Reporters scramble to photograph former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and President Lyndon B. Johnson on a stroll outside the Oval Office.

President Reagan faces a barrage of photographers and reporters in the West Wing Cabinet Room in 1986.

The press moves to the steps of the North Portico as President Eisenhower emerges with President-elect John F. Kennedy in 1961.

Reporters surround President Gerald Ford outside the West Wing in 1975.

In 1991, during the Gulf War, cameras and microphones are aimed at President George H. W. Bush from the Rose Garden.

Cameras and microphones are aimed at President Barack Obama in 2012, after he disembarks from Marine One on the South Lawn.

Reporters gather around President Franklin Roosevelt’s desk in the Oval Office in 1944.

Coverage of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President George W. Bush in 2001.

Prime-time televised press conferences are often set in the East Room. At left, President Barack Obama listens to a question from ABC correspondent Jake Tapper during an evening news conference in July 2009.

Televised interviews are often conducted in the State Rooms. Here, President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter are interviewed by journalist Barbara Walters in the Green Room in December 1978.

A reporter stands at an NBC radio microphone near the North Portico, 1923.

A group of newspaper correspondents pose for a souvenir picture on the South Lawn in 1923. President Coolidge is standing in the center of the crowd.

At right, a CBS TV reporter broadcasts the news before the cameras on a snowy day in 2007.

In 1947, President Truman turns his camera on the White House Press Photographers Association on the South Lawn after having been named an honorary member of the club.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is surrounded by a group of women journalists in the Monroe Room in 1933. Such gatherings as this bear her stamp: the first regular press conferences held by a first lady. They were entirely restricted to women of the press.

This article was originally published in White House History Number 37 Spring 2015

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