A “pen and pad briefing” is a briefing held by lawmakers or White House officials at which video and photography is not allowed.
It’s similar to a backgrounder.
This format emphasizes verbal communication and provides an opportunity for journalists to ask questions, take notes with a pen and paper, and report on the information obtained during the briefing.
Pen and pad briefings have been a longstanding method for government officials to engage with the press, disseminate important updates, and foster transparency in political communication.
The pen and pad briefing is characterized by its simplicity and directness.
Typically, the briefing takes place in a designated area, such as a conference room or press briefing room, where journalists gather with their pens and notepads to listen to the official’s remarks.
Unlike televised briefings or press conferences, there are usually no cameras or live broadcasts involved, which allows for a more focused and less performative exchange between the official and the press.
One of the key advantages of the pen and pad briefing is the opportunity for open and interactive dialogue.
Journalists are encouraged to ask questions, seek clarifications, and engage in follow-up inquiries to obtain a deeper understanding of the issues being discussed.
This format facilitates direct interaction between reporters and the official, fostering a more nuanced exchange of information and insights.
Another advantage of the pen and pad briefing is its relatively informal nature.
Without the pressure of being on-camera, officials may feel more at ease, leading to a more conversational tone during the briefing.
Use of “Pen and Pad Briefing” in a sentence
- The White House press secretary conducted a pen and pad briefing, allowing reporters to directly interact with the official and ask probing questions about the administration’s policies.
- The senator announced a pen and pad briefing to address recent developments in the legislation, giving journalists an opportunity to gather information and report accurately on the proposed changes.
- In a departure from the usual televised press conference, the mayor opted for a pen and pad briefing to engage with local journalists and provide updates on the city’s response to the ongoing crisis.
Taegan Goddard is the creator of the Political Dictionary.
Goddard spent more than a decade on Wall Street as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he also served as a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You Won – Now What?: How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House, a political management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from both parties.
His essays on politics and public policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines across the country.
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University.
He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.