The Sherrill case set a standard for equal access, but the White House can still choose how to make access available. For example, it might be time to rethink the custom of the daily news briefing, which is rooted in a 20th century top-down corporate view of the media world, echoing a time when the news was dominated by three TV networks, two wire services and a handful of major newspapers. It seems oddly out of place in the networked information age.
Likewise, it might make sense to set up a press center off the White House grounds, with better facilities, more workspace and the ability to provide direct access to a greater variety of reporting outlets. The current briefing room could be removed and Franklin Roosevelt’s indoor swimming pool — which still exists beneath it — could be restored.
There is also the possibility that reporters could voluntarily ramp back their snarky, narrative-driven approach to news gathering and return to old-school best practices. CBS News White House correspondent Major Garrett was one of the few journalists in the wake of the Acosta imbroglio to uphold the idea of a “standard of conduct” for reporters on the White House beat.