The Washington Post

Biden’s office apologizes to student reporter for ‘unfortunate mistake’

The office of Vice President Biden has apologized to a University of Maryland student after a member of Biden's staff confronted the college reporter and forced him to delete photos of an event.

Capital News Service reporter Jeremy Barr was covering Biden's announcement of a new domestic violence initiative, he told Capital News Service, a student news service run by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.* He accidentally sat in a section of the audience not meant for the media. He had identified himself as a member of the press upon entry and been directed to that area. Barr took a few pictures of Biden at the podium. After the event, a staffer for Biden confronted him and demanded to watch as he deleted the pictures from his camera.

“I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she was following proper procedures,” Barr told Patch. But Lucy Dalglish, dean of the University of Maryland's journalism school, filed a formal complaint with the vice president's office.

"It is our policy that all of our open press events are open press even if a reporter is not in the designated press area," Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff told The Washington Post. "This was an unfortunate mistake by a staffer who does not regularly interact with the press. Once we learned about it, I immediately apologized to the Dean of the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, the reporter involved and to the newspaper. It will never happen again."

Dalglish, a former media lawyer, called the staffer's behavior "clearly illegal." But she was impressed that the vice president's press secretary called to apologize within five minutes of her complaint.

"Somebody really screwed up," she told The Post. "The vice president's office probably knows that it's illegal and certainly knows that it was a stupid thing to do."

There have been dust-ups between Biden and the media before. His staff apologized for making a pool reporter wait in a closet during a Democratic fundraiser. In 2011, Biden's office raised concerns with a Senate official about whether a conservative reporter misrepresented himself in a crowded Capitol Hill hallway. And during the 2012 campaign, an Ohio reporter tweeted that he was barred from talking to attendees at a Biden event; Biden's staff said it was a miscommunication.

Read more from Washington Post Politics:

Scott Prouty reveals himself as source of Romney '47 percent' video

The Fix: Five things to watch at CPAC

Does the Conservative Political Action Conference matter anymore?

* This post initially referred to the Capital News Service as a University of Maryland student paper. It is a student-powered news organization run by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, separate from the University of Maryland's daily paper, The Diamondback.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Perks of private flying
Drawing as an act of defiance
Play Videos
Husband finds love, loss in baseball
Bao: The signature dish of San Francisco
From foster homes to the working world
Play Videos
How soccer is helping Philadelphia men kick the streets
Here's why you hate the sound of your own voice
The woman behind the Nats’ presidents ‘Star Wars’ makeover
Play Videos
How hackers can control your car from miles away
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
How much can one woman eat?
Next Story
Rachel Weiner · March 14, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.