Media guidelines for high-attendance City of Sacramento meetings
The City of Sacramento is committed to promoting civic engagement, making information readily available to the public and assisting the news media in its work.
In order to safely accommodate the public and journalists during high-attendance City meetings – including but not limited to City Council meetings -- the City has developed the following media guidelines for its Media Room and Council Chambers.
These procedures will be enacted only when the City expects attendance at a meeting to be at or near maximum occupancy.
The City via email will notify media outlets that regularly attend and cover City meetings if it expects a high-attendance meeting, ideally at least 24 hours before the meeting occurs. It also will post the notification on the City’s website to alert both local and non-local media.
The City will check in representatives from the media one hour before the start of the meeting.
Journalists will check in with the City’s media and communications staff (MCS) before they go through security to enter Council Chambers. At the check-in, journalists will need to indicate if they need a location for camera placement in the Council Chambers. If not, they will be counted as an occupant of the Media Room.
Journalists will be asked to identify the name of any print or electronic periodic publication, news association or radio or television station that employs the press representative, as well as any other occupations or employment the journalists might have. If they previously have not worked with the City’s MCS, journalists may be asked to present a photo I.D. Journalists will be given a media pass by MCS at check-in. This media pass must be worn at all times during the meeting. It will allow journalists entry to the Media Room and access to and from the Media Room and Council Chambers in ways that are beyond what is available to the general public.
Media passes will be given to up to three representatives from a media outlet. If a media outlet would like additional journalists to attend the meeting, those people will need to enter as members of the general public.
All journalists need to check themselves in – a colleague cannot do it for them.
The Media Room is designed as a professional work space for journalists with media passes. The room’s maximum occupancy is 24 people. Seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis.
This room is not intended for overflow for the public during a meeting. A City staffer will be on-hand to control access and ensure the environment in the room remains conducive to working journalists.
Once maximum occupancy of the Media Room has been reached, journalists can either attempt to enter Council Chambers as members of the general public or they can watch the meeting in the City Hall foyer, which will be equipped with television screens.
Journalists in the Media Room will be allowed to enter the Council Chambers and report for brief periods of time. However, due to fire codes, they will not be allowed to remain there for extended periods unless seating is available.
If a journalist intends to stay in the Council Chambers for the duration of the meeting (and is not a videographer or photographer with a designated location), he or she must enter the Council Chambers as a member of the public.
During a high-attendance meeting, the Council Chambers will have 15 locations identified for camera operators, videographers and photographers. Ten of these locations will be reserved for local media outlets that regularly cover City Council meetings and shoot video/photos:
- Capital Public Radio
- FOX 40
- KCRA 3
- KOVR 13
- KXTV 10
- The Sacramento Bee
- The Sacramento News & Review
- The Sacramento Observer
- Telemundo 33
- Univision 19
The remaining locations will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Each of the 15 locations is for a single journalist. If media with reserved locations have not checked in at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting, their designated locations will be released and made available to other journalists.
Camera operators, videographers and photographers are expected to remain in their designated locations and not move around Council Chambers during the meeting. However, they can briefly leave these locations to get wide-angle and reverse-angle shots (without a tripod) so long as they are not impeding the public’s ability to enter, exit or move around the Chambers. They also are permitted to leave and re-enter the Council Chambers to file stories as needed. If journalists leave the Council Chambers’ secured areas, they will be required to go through another security screening.
If a camera operator, videographer or photographer with a designated location exits the Council Chambers for more than 30 minutes, his or her location may be released and made available to another journalist.
If all 15 camera spaces have been filled, journalists may set up cameras and shoot from the Media Room, provided there is space available.
General Protected Areas
No persons, including media, shall be permitted to stand, loiter or wait in the carpeted area between the security check point and the Chambers’ doors. (This is the carpeted area between CH1104 and CH1104A and includes the vestibule near the Chambers’ doors.) Occupying this area, except for entry and exit, can present a danger to those in this space as well as those inside the Chambers. When possible, an area in the City Hall foyer (but still inside the secured area) will be designated as a place where journalists can interview members of the public.
Willfully disregarding any of these guidelines at a high-attendance City meeting could result in the immediate revocation of the media pass or be viewed as disruptive behavior, leading to immediate revocation and ejectment. The City respectfully asks media outlets and journalists to help create a safe environment where all attendees can exercise their First Amendment rights.