CNN Assigns Sketch Artist to Cover White House Press Briefing

News organization gets creative, goes low-tech after White House bans cameras.

June 25, 2017 5:00 am

Recently, the White House has been prohibiting cameras at its daily press briefings. So CNN sent over Bill Hennessy, the network’s regular sketch artist for Supreme Court proceedings, to draw Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s afternoon briefing.

While some conservative media voices called it a stunt, CNN believes that it added value and served a journalistic purpose, just like courtroom sketches do. Cameras are banned at the Supreme Court as well.

Hennessy stood in the back of the room to document the scene. According to CNN, his sketches are not exclusive to CNN, other news outlets may also use them. He has been a Washington-based courtroom sketch artist for decades, covering stories from the Clinton impeachment proceedings to Guantanamo Bay detainee hearings.

His presence at the briefing highlights the significant change in White House access that has taken place recently. Press secretaries for both Democratic and Republican presidents have held on-camera briefings on a regular basis for the past quarter century. But the Trump administration is cutting back on the frequency and length of on-camera briefings.

Spicer and his deputy Sarah Huckabee Sanders have only held four on-camera briefings in June. Most of their question and answer sessions have been held off-camera. Live audio broadcasts of the briefing have also been prohibited.

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