Goodbye to a White House PR Fixture

I'm a sucker for interesting sounding words that tell a story by the themselves, and one that has always enchanted me is "the gaggle" -- the daily informal morning press briefing held by the White House for beat reporters. Well, sorry to say that the White House has discontinued the gaggle, and merged it into the daily, more formal, on-camera afternoon briefing.

From a PR standpoint, this is another step in the wrong direction of creating a more scripted, less accessible White House. There is some speculation that the Bush Administration discontinued the gaggle because the president's term is winding down and there's less to talk about, and if so, I hope that the next administration brings it back.

I don't particularly like PR blogs that spout off on national politics without linking those thoughts back to the business world in which we all operate, so here's the connection I want to draw between the discontinuation of the gaggle and corporate PR:

We are permanently in a world of always-on digital communications, which is requiring, for better or worse, that we be more accessible and transparent. The White House and other powerful communicators should be looking for more ways to communicate and break down barriers, not erect new ones.

And the reasons not to erect new ones is that they won't work. Just look at the attempts by Gov. Palin to control her image -- once she stepped out on stage, a world of communicators pounced on her, from bloggers to the New York Times, to find out more than what she was saying about herself.

BTW -- thanks again to PRNewser for tipping me off to this story. They are consistently one of the best sources of news and ideas for this blog.