White House press secretary Sean Spicer briefed reporters with cameras turned off Monday. The White House has not held an on-camera briefing since June 29. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In the good old days, political junkies (and people looking for a sneak peek at the next episode of “Saturday Night Live”) could catch White House media briefings on any cable news station almost every weekday afternoon. Alas, off-camera question-and-answer sessions are the new normal.

The Fix is here to help with a five-step guide to following these briefings like a pro.

Step 1: Check the status of the briefing

The White House still holds on-camera briefings every now and then. The last was June 29.

Reporters such as Politico's Josh Dawsey often tweet the status of the day's briefing when they learn it from the White House. His Twitter stream is a good place to find out whether today is America's lucky, on-camera day.

Step 2: Follow the briefing live on Twitter

If the briefing is indeed off-camera, the best way to get a sense of what's happening, in real time, is to read the tweets of journalists in the room. Below are some highlights of what reporters were tweeting on Monday while White House press secretary Sean Spicer was fielding their questions.

Note: If you are wondering whom to follow, the reporters in the stream below would be a good place to start.

Step 3: Listen to an audio recording of the briefing

Live audio broadcasting of an off-camera briefing is prohibited by the White House, but television networks can air a recording when the session is over.

Audio without video — especially on tape delay — is not great for TV, and the cable news channels have been inconsistent about airing recordings. On Monday, for example, CNN and Fox News aired the briefing in its entirety, but MSNBC did not.

C-SPAN reliably posts the recordings online.

Step 4: Check out ABC's new online show, “The Briefing Room”

ABC on Monday piloted a new post-briefing analysis show that it plans to make a regular thing. You can certainly watch post-briefing breakdowns on cable news, too, but ABC's is commercial-free and seemingly less formal (Loose tie! No tie! Rolled sleeves!) than a typical studio production.


ABC debuted a new online show called “The Briefing Room” on Monday.

It looks promising, partly because the format gives the network's reporter in the briefing room (often Jonathan Karl, as it was on Monday) more time to share observations than he would have during a standard TV hit.

Step 5: Read the The Fix's annotated transcript

The Fix has been posting transcripts of off-camera briefings and annotating them to provide additional context, commentary, links, videos, tweets and anything else that might make them more informative. Look for the annotated transcript of a briefing on the morning after, right here.