Tips From the Pros: Pool Press

Pool reporters dive right in to get every detail

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

You might think "pool press" means reporters covering a swimming event, but there's nothing water-related about this job! It actually refers to a small group of reporters who are specially chosen to cover an important political event. They take notes, pictures, video, and audio, which they must then share with other members of the press who could not be at the actual event. There are no exclusives for pool press members!

As a Scholastic Kids Press Corps member I was included in the pool press for an event with President Obama this fall. The President held a Backyard Discussion in Seattle, Washington on October 21.

Our select group of TV, newspaper, Internet, and radio reporters (about 15-20 of us), plus photographers and camera people, stood on the sidelines and took notes as the President discussed women and the economy with a small group of people.

"I'm really excited to be at this event," Seattle's KIRO-7 news reporter Alison Grande told me as we waited for the President to begin. "I have only met President George W. Bush, but haven't met Obama yet."

Grande was assigned to conduct on-air interviews with the participants after the discussion was over.

"I interviewed the family at whose house the event took place," she said. "Afterwards, that video was fed out to reporters at all of the stations."  

Though many press members have to get all the information on the spot, Deborah Wang, radio reporter for Seattle's KUOW 94.9, was happy to have a back-up.

"I'm really relieved because for once I don't have to rely on my microphone to get everything they're saying," she said. "Every reporter here gets a transcript afterward so they can write their reports or broadcast them on the air."

Wang planned to put together her on-air report after the event, using assets from the pool reports.

I also received a transcript immediately after the event. I was surprised at how detailed the report was. Reporters in the pool are not allowed to save any information or photos for just their own use and reports. To avoid any accusations of withholding information, pool reports tend to be extremely detailed.

For example, the one I received reported on how the President stopped for doughnuts before the backyard event in Seattle. But instead of just telling that he stopped, the reporter included the exact time the president pulled a $20 bill out of his pocket, who he shared his doughnuts with, and that he put money in the tip jar.

That might not sound like big news to you, but for reporters covering a presidential visit, it's the details that count!

For more tips from professional journalists, check out the Scholastic Kids Press Corps Tips from the Pros page.

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Scholastic Kids Press Corps

The Scholastic Kids Press Corps was a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation that brought news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.