Gotta love that Mitt Romney -- a class act to the end.
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.What about the Obama campaign?
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.Charging news organizations if they need some kind of special services is an accepted and longstanding practice, but collecting what amounts to a cover charge is plowing new ground.
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."