FDR and the Press

Changing News Media Relations

New View of the Press

While presidents before Franklin Roosevelt snubbed the press and news media, FDR welcomed them and went as far as calling the individuals by their first name. He never thought of the press as a special entity or responsibility, but more as a means through which he could communicate with the people.

FDR's Approach

FDR took on a more hands-on approach to the press, and did so in a way that many took to easily. Unlike presidents before him, he invited the press into the Oval Office, with the White House press corps gathered around his desk twice a week to answer questions. By doing this, FDR was able to effectively establish his relationship with both the press and the American people. His use of and attitude toward the press was new and very much so welcomed.

Right: Photo of FDR and the press from his first press conference.

Video Captions

Top Link: FDR addresses the White House Correspondents Banquet guests, discussing labor disputes.

Bottom Link: FDR addresses the White House Correspondents Banquet guests, discussing the British War needs.

Both videos show the president's charisma in speaking with figures from the press/media, and how well rehearsed, yet charmingly casual FDR was able to be.

Lasting Impression

Franklin Roosevelt made many impacts to many areas throughout his presidency, and the relations with the press and news media is one of the more notable ones. He expanded and changed how the president dealt with this aspect, which helped him in the long run when he was able to better communicate with the public. This new civility and view of the press has, for the most part, stuck with the presidency, and even inspired our current president, Barack Obama, to introduce himself to the press before his first press conference.