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Covering the White House: A Blogger’s Perspective at National Arts Medaling Ceremony

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Heading into the White House to attend a Medal ceremony in the East Room

Last week, at the White House the President of the United States Barack Obama officially medaled the 2015 National Arts and National Humanities Awards winner in an intimate ceremony in the East Room.

Of course, the Press was there to capture and document the event which involved formal reading of each winner’s citation, the president placing the medal around the neck of the winner, shaking their hand or giving a hug followed by a photo opp.

Snap! Snap! Click! Click! went the shutters of the photojournalists who make up the White House press corp. Mel Brooks, Audra McDonald and Berry Gordy were among the most famous recipients. Morgan Freeman and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis missed the ceremony.

POTUS  joked during the ceremony about Freeman’s absence, “he’s probably out somewhere filming a movie and playing a black president.” The joke elicited laughter form the crowd.

[You can You can check out all the winners of the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal at the links, or by simply scrolling further. Watch the full ceremony at NPR.)

Before the row of photographers and alongside the East Wall in the grande hall, was a few rows of professional journalists, many of whom work for the majors (New York Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, AP, Reuters, CBS, NBC, Fox etc)

I was in the mix too, credentialed based on this here website, Jenebaspeaks.com, once dedicated to poli-tech and media policy but now more focused on empowering digital entrepreneurs and creatives.

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Waiting with other journalists and bloggers outside the Brady Press room for an escort into the White House.

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Inside the Brady Press Room where the White House Press corp write before sending their articles or wrap ups to their editors. Many stay at the White House all day covering random events on the grounds and about. There is at tiny breakroom with a soda and snack vending machine; and a couple of bathrooms and a kitchnette.

My presence represented the many independent bloggers and website owners that influence and provide news and information to millions of Americans (and others worldwide) who do NOT read newspapers or rely on the local news,radio or cable networks for making them aware of world events.

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The President awaits one of the medal recipients to make his or her way on the stage.

More and more marketers, government agencies, companies and the like are realizing that it is essential to not exclude bloggers from covering their events and news. Bloggers have their own resource category on the website of the largest public relations interface platform, PRNewswire. 

I would never say that bloggers are the “new journalists” because many do not adhere to the same professional standards that journalist must abide by: follow AP Style manual, remain impartial, have original content, properly source content and get their own independent quotes and sources. Most bloggers quote from and rely on articles written by journalists at established outlets.

To be honest, I enjoy the relaxed standards of writing a blog compared to writing for a news site, which I did as a freelancer for a while recently.

I went to journalism school at the University of Maryland at College Park and have a journalism degree. I also have many journo friends who have told me that they dislike the fact that some bloggers do not heed to embargo warnings, or recognize concepts such as “off the record” or maintaining confidentiality of sources.

14463013_1273211626045774_7176204247682632396_n I know it frustrates them that bloggers get the same access and are elevated to their platform when they feel like they put in the hours and grit that a lot of bloggers simply didn’t and don’t have to deposit.

That being said, there still is a very real and relevant place for bloggers at the table.14457349_1273211602712443_3031496511857846717_n 14446042_1273211889379081_712018559336152508_n

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