Broadcasting, Reporting, and Technology

Today, we see and hear the goings-on of Congress on TV, the internet, and the radio. But it wasn’t always that way. Learn about the creation of the press and broadcasting galleries, and the technologies the House has embraced to communicate with the country and make the legislative process accessible to Americans.

House Press Gallery Main Room, 1951 Image courtesy of Benjamin C. West, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives House Press Gallery Main Room, 1951

Press and Broadcasting Galleries

Reporting Live from the House Chamber
A blog exploring the history of the reporters' gallery, located above the rostrum in the House Chamber.

Benjamin C. West Oral History
Benjamin C. West became the superintendent of the House Press Gallery. He witnessed the modernization of the gallery and navigated the tumultuous relationship between print and electronic media.

Tina Tate Oral History
Tina Tate became the first woman director of the House Radio-TV Gallery and oversaw press coverage for major media events in Congress, including presidential impeachment hearings, Joint Sessions, and State of the Union Addresses.

The First House Telegraph Office
A historical highlight about building a telegraph office for the House.

The Opening of the House Radio Gallery
A historical highlight describing the opening of the House and Senate radio galleries in 1939.

The Resolution to Permit Live Radio Broadcasts of House Proceedings
A historical highlight detailing initial efforts to broadcast House proceedings over the radio in 1944.

Gallery Passes
A collection of historic gallery and press passes. 

Video and Audio Clips
Oral history clips about the broadcasting and press galleries.

Official Reporters

Joe Strickland Oral History
Joe Strickland worked as an official reporter in the House of Representatives for more than 20 years, becoming chief reporter in 2005. In this interview he outlines his career in the House and demonstrates using a stenography machine.

Hanging on Every Word
A blog detailing the historic work of official reporters in the House.

A Stormy Sitting
A print showcasing a stenographer at work, with an accompanying article about the reporters' fast pace.

La Salle Stenotype Machine
A 1950s stenotype machine used by House official reporters.

“Taking Notes” in the House of Representatives
An image illustrating stenographers working on the House Floor.

Communication Technology

Electronic Technology in the House of Representatives
The history of six technologies that revolutionized the way the House conducted business and disseminated information to state districts: the telegraph, the telephone, radio, electronic voting, television, and internet.

A Congressional Made Man
A blog about inventor Samuel F. B. Morse's proposal to the House to employ his "electro magnetic telegraphs" system.

Proposed Pacific Telegraph
A c. 1862 map showing the proposed telegraph cable across the Pacific Ocean.