JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS

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USA
Bush Says Farewell to Reporters, as Washington Media Prepare for Obama


In his final press conference, President Bush maintained the tone of previous interviews that appeared to be focused on “setting the record straight” after years of criticism. The White House expected a packed briefing room, but the last two rows were empty, and a press aide told White House interns to fill the seats, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank reports.

As President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration neared, major TV networks prepared for more extensive coverage than usual, and several networks that are “relative political neophytes” such as Black Entertainment Television (BET), MTV and Nickelodeon TV, the children’s network, were planning their own coverage, The New York Times reports. According to Advertising Age, the QVC shopping network prepared to sell memorabilia from an inaugural ball, and Marvel Comics produced a Spider-Man-meets-Obama special edition comic book.

The change of administration also cast new light on the small number of minority reporters on the White House Beat. “A mostly white press corps at 1600 Pennsylvania would be cause for concern no matter what the color of the Oval Office occupant,” the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz notes. “But the advent of the Obama administration seems to underscore that racial progress has been uneven in a business that chronicles that very subject."