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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [04/10/2012]
Contact Name: Jennifer Kaplan
Phone Number: (202) 693-5052
Release Number: 12-0672-NAT

US Department of Labor invites news organizations to request credentials to participate in press lock-ups providing pre-release access to economic data

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor invites news organizations interested in participating in its press lock-ups to request credentials, which will be valid beginning on Friday, July 6, with the release of The Employment Situation report. The lock-ups facilitate the media's ability to provide the public with informed summaries and analysis of critical economic data concurrent with their release by providing pre-release access to the data reports. News organizations that currently participate in Labor Department lock-ups and those that do not will be considered a single pool of candidates and follow the same request process.

The Office of Management and Budget's Statistical Policy Directive No. 3 governs access to pre-release statistical data (50 Federal Register 38932 – Sept. 25, 1985). The department is adopting additional guidance contained in OMB's Statistical Policy Directive No. 4 (73 Federal Register 12622 – March 7, 2008). In accordance with OMB's directives, the Labor Department is responsible for establishing procedures and security arrangements to ensure that there is no premature release of information or data estimates from its lock-ups. The department will credential news organizations that, by providing informed summaries and data analysis, best advance the purpose of pre-release access as defined by Statistical Directives Nos. 3 and 4.

The lock-up facility is small, and the department anticipates that there will be space for a total of only 20-30 journalists. Accordingly, depending on the number of requests received, the department might not be able to grant credentials in response to all of the requests (and might not issue more than one credential to any single news organization).

Given the limited number of work stations/seats and the department's goal in advancing the purpose of pre-release access, the department will credential news organizations that

  • are primarily journalistic enterprises and
  • prepare — and publish, broadcast and/or post on the Internet — time-sensitive summaries and analysis of department data, which are likely to contribute significantly to public understanding through the dissemination of original news, analysis and/or opinion.

In addition, the department believes that the purpose of pre-release access would be best served if the department's credentialing decisions result in a group of credentialed news organizations which, when considered as an overall group (and not necessarily on an individual basis), distribute a variety of types of news/media products that reach a wide and diverse audience, including geographically, and general public versus specialized media.

The department will not consider editorial or political viewpoints in making credentialing decisions.

The Policy Statement and News Organization Agreement accompanying this alert identifies the policy and procedures that the Labor Department will use to determine which news organizations are authorized to participate in its lock-ups and the requirements applied to those selected to participate. It also provides the agreement form that news organizations and their participating representatives must sign to receive credentials from the department.

Any news organization interested in credentials may submit a request signed by its Washington bureau chief, with a phone number and email address, via electronic mail to Kaplan.Jennifer@dol.gov until April 24, 2012. Information provided to the department on how the news organization's participation will advance the purposes identified in the Policy Statement and News Organization Agreement will be very important in the department's consideration of the credentialing request.

All requests for credentials from news organizations will be acknowledged with a reply email. News organizations may be requested to supply additional information. The department will advise news organizations of their status via email by — May 8, 2012. Between May 8 and July 6, representatives of all credentialed news organizations will be invited to a mandatory orientation at the Labor Department's Frances Perkins Building, which will include hands-on demonstration and testing.

On April 16 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, a conference call will be held to address questions about the credentialing process, along with other policy changes to the lock-ups that are reflected in the Policy Statement and News Organization Agreement. Anyone interested is welcome to participate. Obtain call-in information by contacting Jennifer Kaplan at 202-693-5052 or Kaplan.Jennifer@dol.gov. The call will be recorded, and the audio file subsequently will be made available in the Newsroom of the Labor Department's website at http://www.dol.gov/dol/media/. Questions may also be posted, for public response, on the same page.