The Senate Radio-Television Gallery is located in Room S-325 of the Capitol, telephone (202) 224-6421. It is the office where the radio and television correspondents work when they cover the Senate. There are similar offices on the Senate side for other branches of the news media.
The staff serves as a liaison between Senate offices and news correspondents and works to keep broadcasters informed of Senate activities. Senate Gallery staff members attend all Senate functions covered by the broadcast media and may be called upon for assistance or for a list of those members of the broadcast media attending.
Some of the key functions of the Gallery are:
A. To coordinate use of Gallery studio B. To coordinate coverage of Senate Committee hearings C. To coordinate coverage of stakeouts, photo opportunities and other media events D. To help Senate staff in setting up press conferences E. To record a chronological log of Senate floor activities F. To compile a list of the next day's committee hearings G. To record which Gallery members and organizations cover press conferences, hearings and other events H. To distribute press releases from Senate offices and committees to Gallery members
The Gallery staff also compiles other lists for distribution, including:
1) individual radio and television Gallery members and their bureaus (published in the
Congressional Directory), and
The Gallery staff publishes a monthly statistical report of broadcast coverage of Senate activities sent to all press secretaries. This report contains a listing of regular Senate and House Gallery correspondents.
NEWS CONFERENCE LOCATIONS
Senate Radio-Television Gallery Studio, S-325
The Gallery studio, next to the Radio-Television Gallery staff area, is a multimedia room to which all Senate news galleries have access. To avoid scheduling conflicts, use of the studio is coordinated through the Senate Radio-Television Gallery staff. The Gallery staff posts scheduled appearances by Senators on the Gallery's electronic bulletin board. The information is displayed simultaneously in the other three Senate news galleries and the three House news galleries.
The main studio may be used for news conferences under the following rules:
1) Only members of Congress may be interviewed or make statements in the studio.
2) A member of Congress must be invited to the studio by a member of any Congressional News Media Gallery. The Majority and Minority Leaders do not need invitations to appear in the studio.
3) Only members of Congress, press secretaries and accredited journalists will be allowed in the studio during the news conference.
NO ONE ELSE will be allowed in the studio, so please do not invite special interest groups or government agency officials to attend or participate. Any staff members accompanying their Senator to his or her press conference should stand along the south wall of the Gallery. Access by the staff may be restricted depending on available space.
The Gallery also has a smaller studio that may be used for interviews. Reservations for this facility are made in the same manner.
There are several other sites, not under the control of the Galleries, which may be used to hold news conferences when other parties participate. These locations and the offices that coordinate use of them are as follows:
The Capitol Building
The Senate Office Buildings
Weather permitting, news conferences may be held at a location on the Capitol grounds established for this purpose.
1) The "Swamp Site" - located on the grass across the drive from the east Senate steps - has
a brick pad and power outlets. Contact the Senate Radio-Television Gallery to avoid conflicts
DISTRIBUTION OF INFORMATION
Electronic Bulletin Board
Studio appearances, notices of press conferences, stakeouts and photo opportunities will be placed on the electronic bulletin board, which is seen in all Congressional News Media Galleries. Call the Senate Radio-Television Gallery to post items.
All news items posted on the Electronic Bulletin Board are also distributed on visual display beepers to any member of the four Congressional media Galleries who subscribe to this service.
The Radio-Television Gallery will coordinate distribution of Senate press releases. We request that Press Secretaries deliver 20 copies of press releases to S-325 for the members of the broadcast media. These releases will be posted upon arrival. Press secretaries may also personally deliver press releases to Gallery members in their booths.
The Gallery staff coordinates broadcast coverage of Senate committee hearings. Senate offices may check with the Gallery after 5:45 p.m. to learn which committees are being covered by the broadcast media the following day.
Congress requires that all broadcast reporters and technicians covering news events on Capitol Hill be accredited by the Radio-Television Correspondents' Galleries. Gallery credentials must be displayed while working inside the Capitol complex or on the Capitol grounds. Reporters from your home state, while not eligible for regular membership in the Galleries, may get temporary credentials by contacting the Senate Gallery staff.
Status of the Radio-TV Galleries' Fiber Optic Project
The purpose of the Congressional Fiber Optic Project is to bring live television broadcast capability to each Congressional hearing room and to other locations in and around the U.S. Capitol Building.
The project involves a joint Congressional-broadcast industry effort to connect these various locations to the centrally-located Senate Hub Room in the basement of the Capitol by means of fiber optic cable. The Hub Room is where broadcast news organizations interface 1) with all locations which have live capability and 2) the Senate floor feed.
This Fiber Optic Project benefits both the Congress and the media since it 1) makes live television coverage from numerous rooms in the Capitol complex easy and inexpensive and 2) eliminates the chaos and clutter in the hallways outside of Congressional hearings in cases where Committees mandate pool television coverage.
The first stage of the Fiber Optic Project provided live broadcast capability from the Senate and House Radio-TV Galleries, the Swamp Site, the Elm Tree Site, the Rotunda of the Capitol, and the Balcony of the Russell Rotunda.
During 1993, the Senate Radio-Television Gallery coordinated the completion of the second stage of the Senate side of the project.
This brought live broadcast capability to SH-216, SD-106, SD-192, and SD-G50, and involved construction of a Dirksen Subhub. Senate hearing rooms are connected to the Dirksen Subhub which is, in turn, connected to the Hub Room in the Capitol.
Subsequently, in 1993-1994, four hearing rooms in the Rayburn Building were connected to the Fiber Optic Project.
During 1995, a Subhub room was completed in the Rayburn Building and the capability of the Senate Dirksen Building was expanded.
The next phase, completed in October of 1996, connected the stakeout location in the Ohio Clock Corridor on the Senate side to the system.
Additional Senate Committee hearing rooms will be wired in conjunction with the renovation of the Dirksen Building, now underway.
This project is unusual in that it is largely funded and maintained by the industry but becomes the property of the Architect of the Capitol once installed.
The 22 news organizations who are members of the Fiber Optic Project have agreed to a $5,000 per member annual assessment to fund this project. In addition, the Executive Committee of the Radio-Television Galleries has indicated its willingness to use funds from Gallery dues to expand the project. This means that the annual budget for the project is about $120,000.00, all of it provided by the industry. So far, the broadcast industry has spent more than $1,300,000 on the project.