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Lyndon B. Johnson changed the nature of press conferences by including impromptu sessions where reporters might ask a few questions rather than the formal forums held in the Indian Treaty Room or State Department (Eisenhower EOB) auditorium. In 1969, a new Press Briefing Room was created in the west terrace by covering over a swimming pool installed for President Franklin Roosevelt. A standing press joke during the Nixon administration was that the president might put a button on the podium that would activate a floor opening and dump the reporters in the pool. Formal press conferences were held infrequently during the Nixon administration and those that were held (about seven a year), were highly contentious because of the Vietnam War and Watergate.

The White House Office of Communications was established in 1969 to reach out to the nation’s out-of-town reporters and specialty media beyond those with White House credentials, including out-of-town press and the specialty press that specifically targeted an audience, such as Hispanics. Gerald Ford re-established regular meetings with the press after Watergate and was open with reporters. He held regular monthly press conferences and conducted interviews with leading journalists and television news anchors, such as Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw and Barbara Walters. During his administration, President Jimmy Carter expanded his press contacts by scheduling bi-monthly meetings with out-of-town journalists in the Cabinet Room. Carter maintained regular monthly press conferences held in the Old Executive Office Building (Eisenhower EOB).

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