Press and Broadcasting Galleries
The press reported on the House from its first meeting in 1789. As newspapers proliferated across the expanding country, and technology sped up the transmission of information—first through the telegraph, and later, through radio and television broadcasting—the House created infrastructure to help reporters inform the public.
The opening of the current chamber in 1857 introduced a permanent reserved gallery for the press, located above the Speaker’s rostrum. In 1879, admission rules limited access to professional journalists reporting for daily newspapers.
Press gallery guidelines evolved over time, though, to include journalists reporting in other media reflecting how people consumed news. Radio reporters gained admission in 1939, and television correspondents were added in 1953. The services provided in the gallery also changed with the times, to provide journalists with support to keep the public informed in all formats.
Tina Tate, former director of the House Radio-TV Gallery, explains the gallery's role in helping to keep the American public informed about the work of Congress.
By the mid-20th century, Congress organized its own recording studio. Members used it to produce radio and television programming for the public. The House Recording Studio initially focused on radio, but by the 1960s had a studio set for color video recordings as well.
The studio set in the House Recording Studio included a podium surrounded by faux bookshelves. Dozens of old volumes, cut in half vertically, added color and a sense of space to the shallow shelves.
Representative Jack Edwards of Alabama describes his weekly radio addresses made in the House Recording Studio.