Journalists and Press Secretaries: Understanding the Divide

I wrote a Poynter Online story this week about the working relationship between journalists and press secretaries, following the publication of White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s new book, in which he criticizes the press for not being aggressive enough in the lead-up to the Iraq War. The topic of this piece is also relevant given the fact that some journalists are now leaving the field to work toward becoming press secretaries, public relations officers, public affairs officials, etc.

I talked to a journalist who used to be a press secretary, a press secretary who used to be a journalist, a former White House press secretary and others. One press secretary I interviewed said journalists often believe they’re more important than they actually are. Newspapers, she said, just aren’t as highly read as they used to be, and not all politicians read the newspaper anymore. To read more of this story, click here.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

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