RE: Media Access (ACTION-197)

I feel the press gets enough transparency via the public notes and discussions with participants. In addition, with over 60 people in the room from various backgrounds, that should be enough transparency for the general public.

I don’t feel guidelines will have that much sway over the press and their presence will overshadow what we are trying to accomplish.


From: Jonathan Mayer []
Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2012 10:56 PM
To: Craig Spiezle
Cc: JC Cannon; Heather West; SULLIVAN, BRYAN L; Shane Wiley;
Subject: Re: Media Access (ACTION-197)

Yes, that's how the balance works.  We have to weigh the benefits of transparency against the impacts on discourse.  It seems to me that, by carefully establishing press guidelines, we can gain a lot of transparency for a little risk of chill and grandstanding.


On Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 10:38 PM, Craig Spiezle wrote:

This strikes a balance, but the reality is whenever press attends working meetings, it has the risk of changing the tone, posturing and openness of attendees.

From: JC Cannon []
Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2012 10:11 PM
To: Jonathan Mayer; Heather West
Cc: SULLIVAN, BRYAN L; Shane Wiley;<>
Subject: RE: Media Access (ACTION-197)

I say no. If they are not permitted to take quotes what’s the point? I would not be comfortable with press participation.


From: Jonathan Mayer []<mailto:[]>
Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2012 9:31 PM
To: Heather West
Cc: SULLIVAN, BRYAN L; Shane Wiley;<>
Subject: Re: Media Access (ACTION-197)

I don't believe the mere addition of press briefings would do much to advance the group's transparency.  We've all been to press conferences.  They're about regurgitating talking points and jockeying for positive spin.  If we want accurate, detailed coverage and a heightened imprimatur of legitimacy, we need to allow media into the room.  There is no substitute for first-hand impressions.

That said, I'm very sensitive to the concerns Shane, Bryan, and Heather have raised about the chilling effects associated with a press policy of direct quotation and identifying attribution.  Industry participants should not be compelled to negotiate in the shadow of a misspoken sentence potentially making headlines verbatim.  My aim in breaking out our options on quotation, attribution, and other media matters was to start a conversation about how we can balance the tremendous transparency advantages of having the press in the room against the potential for chilling our discussions.  Perhaps there is no balance to be struck.  But before leaping to that conclusion, we should give compromise solutions some real thought.

To make things more concrete, here's a proposal: What would participants think of a policy where press are allowed in, but they cannot use direct quotes?  Are there conversations we've had that wouldn't have happened if press were in the room with this policy?


On Friday, May 11, 2012 at 8:11 AM, Heather West wrote:

I think that using this working group as a platform for press is harmful to the goal of the group: coming to consensus within the group. While we all want our end product to have a transparent process, the more that folks direct their remarks towards reporters instead of the group, the less will get done.

I'd be very surprised if a reporter with tons of stories to write had the time to actually sit through all these calls to glean context, so structuring sessions for press makes sense. I support Shane's compromise of actively engaging the press, in a structured way, and continuing to have a relatively well-defined group on the calls and in the meetings. I think Bryan's idea is similar, and also makes sense.

On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 2:25 PM, SULLIVAN, BRYAN L <<>> wrote:

We could support specific sessions in which non-members are invited for outreach, but not in the context of normal working sessions and certainly not the presence of press in normal working sessions. If the group is to effectively progress on the complex issues at hand, we must have ability to discuss freely the ideas and positions intended to lead us to consensus.

Bryan Sullivan

On May 9, 2012, at 8:24 PM, Shane Wiley <<><<>>> wrote:

Well done Jonathan – thank you for doing this (nicely parsed).

I’m not sure how best to approach the debate, but I’m hopeful we continue to NOT allow press “in the room” for active working sessions and instead shift our efforts to proactive press outreach sessions, with training and prepared statements, and access to those available to speak to the press directly for quotes.  I believe this more controlled approach to press interactions gives us the best of both worlds:  interactive (removes reliance on meeting notes or 2nd hand descriptions) and contained (allows continued free discussion during working sessions).

- Shane

From: Jonathan Mayer [<>]
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2012 4:00 PM


Subject: Media Access (ACTION-197)

I was tasked on today's call with thinking through alternative media access policies.  Here's a rough outline of design points:

 *   Are media allowed to listen to calls and meetings?
 *   If yes, may they reference their first-hand experience in their reporting?  (If not, they'll have to cite our oh-so-reliable minutes and second-hand descriptions.)
 *   If yes, what degree of first-hand reporting will be permissible?

    *   Quotation

       *   Direct quotes (e.g. "I want a lunch break")
       *   Paraphrasing (e.g. noted that he wanted a lunch break)
       *   Collective sentiment (e.g. several wanted to break for lunch)

    *   Attribution

       *   Identification (e.g. Jonathan Mayer from Stanford said)
       *   Background (e.g. a researcher said)
       *   None (e.g. a participant in the working group said)

    *   Impressions (e.g. he looked hungry)
    *   Procedure (e.g. there was a vote to break for lunch)
    *   Conduct (e.g. he left to get lunch)

 *   Will we provide media briefings?

In selecting which policy we adopt, we have to weigh the concerns of certain industry participants—erroneously negative publicity, corporate media policy, and the attendant chilling effects of both—against the importance of transparency in this process.  Given the broad spectrum of design points, there seems to me a lot of scope for compromise.



Heather West | Google Policy |<> | 202-643-6381

Received on Monday, 14 May 2012 15:06:10 UTC