Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Martha Joynt Kumar
In representative governments, press conferences have become an important means for elected or appointed officials to speak to the public and respond to press queries. While elected authorities regularly give speeches, voters want to hear officials answer questions about topics they may not have otherwise addressed. News or press conferences provide one means of responding to that need. Reporters serve as surrogates for the public asking questions and their queries often probe problems, scandal, and weak points that might otherwise not come to light. The news conferences watched most closely are those given by the President. Since Woodrow Wilson took office in March 1913, news conferences have been a regular feature of the American presidency. Presidents met with reporters from time to time for interviews and to give them information. But Theodore Roosevelt was the first President to regularly meet with reporters. These sessions were off-the-record ones with only a ...