Gov. Ricketts responds to column
I write to you regarding Mike OíDellís column dated April 23, 2021.
The Governorís Office has long enjoyed a collegial and transparent relationship with media organizations across Nebraska.
The pandemic over the last year provided members of the press with unprecedented, direct access to the Governor and his team. At one point, the Governor hosted seven media briefings a week for up to an hour each to provide factual information about the pandemic to the public and to answer questions from members of the press. For the first time, the Governorís Office offered regular briefings in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language. In just the last year, Governor Ricketts has answered more questions from the media in person than most Governors answer in the course of an entire term in office.
Over the years, the Governorís Office has had a very simple way of managing credentialing for media. Media members contact the Governorís Office to request to receive notice of the Governorís press events. Credentialing is typically required for briefings in the Governorís Hearing Room at the State Capitol and other limited opportunities.
Recently, new organizations laying claim to be media have begun to contact the Governorís Office. This triggered a review of our previous process for credentialing media outlets, and a review of other branches of government. Nebraskaís Unicameral Legislature and the Nebraska Supreme Court have developed systems for credentialing media. Additionally, the editorial pages of the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star called on the Governorís Office to establish clear criteria for how media organizations are credentialed.
As the Governorís Office developed the media credentialing application we recently published, we also drew on credentialing criteria and systems used by the Wisconsin Governorís Office, the Texas Legislature, and the U.S. Congress.
The Governorís Office firmly believes the application and criteria that were recently published reflect a neutral and fair approach to qualifying media organizations to cover credentialed press events. We believe that transparency and media access are critical to the functioning of the State of Nebraskaís government. To that end, we will continue to ensure that timely and accurate information is provided to the public.
More information about media credentialing for the Governorís Office can be found at https://governor.nebraska.gov/media-credentialing.
Director of Strategic Communications
Office of Governor Pete Ricketts