Commentary on the contemporary interface between the media and governments often portrays reporters as willingly accepting information subsidies in order to meet the demands of the 24/7 multi-platform newsroom. But this view fails to take into account the impact on journalistic routines of more extreme forms of government news management, which block access to information and to politicians rather than merely packaging or “spinning” them favourably. The experience of the parliamentary press gallery in Ottawa vis-a-vis Stephen Harper’s government offers an excellent opportunity to take a
closer look at the practical realities of political journalists confronted with stringent government news management tactics. A rupture in the historic role relationship between the gallery and the Prime Minister’s Office resulted in journalists adapting their techniques. They became pathfinders seeking out new routes – alternative human and data sources – to reach the information they needed to write their stories and prepare broadcasts.