The Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest LGBTQ newspaper, has secured an officially designated seat in the White House James S. Brady briefing room, marking the first time an LGBTQ publication has been afforded the honor.
The White House Correspondents Association, which is responsible for the seating assignment in the briefing room, made the announcement Friday as part of the updated seating chart, which will take effect on Jan. 3.
Chris Johnson, White House reporter for the Blade, will be responsible for filling the seat for the LGBTQ news outlet.
According to the WHCA, the seating assignment represents 65 different news organizations and entities and of those outlets, a total of 14, or 22 percent, are receiving their first-ever assignment.
Steven Portnoy, WHCA president and White House reporter for C-SPAN Radio, said in a memo changes were made “to enhance diversity in the briefing room,” including seat designations for “organizations that target Black, Hispanic and LGBTQ audience” as well as publications “across the ideological spectrum.”
The Blade is set to share a seat with the Boston Globe. The two publications have made an arrangement to rotate a presence in the seat on a weekly basis. The seat is in the seventh group and next to a seat shared with the Daily Caller, a conservative publication, and EWTN, a social conservative news outlet billing itself as a global network for Catholic-themed programming.
The seating assignment marks the latest development in the Blade’s reporting on the White House and integration in the White House press corps.
“Thank you to the Correspondents Association for this designation,” said Blade editor Kevin Naff. “This was decades in the making and a credit to the hard work of Chris Johnson and Lou Chibbaro Jr. before him. This will enable us to devote more focus to national political news impacting the LGBTQ community.”
In 2013, the Blade earned a spot in the White House in-town pool rotation, a system giving reporters the responsibility of shadowing the president of the United States and reporting back on his movements and statements in the form of pool reports for the entire White House press corps.