Coverage Rules

Designated Standup Areas Map (at right)

The Senate Radio-Television Gallery (SRTVG) was established in 1939 by Senate rule in order to provide a workspace for journalists who cover the Senate and report the news through electronic means.

The Gallery issues credentials to journalists representing broadcast media, including major news networks, their affiliates, and foreign news outlets. By rule, this credentialing process is overseen by the Executive Committee of the Radio-Television Correspondents Association (RTCA). For more information about RTCA, please visit

Gallery members must follow the directions of the Gallery staff at all times and are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner when working in the Senate Gallery workspaces and studios.


You may not shoot live or recorded video images in the Senate chamber. Senate rules require appropriate and professional attire for access to the Chamber. (For example, men are required to wear jacket and tie, and women may wear suits, skirts and slacks)

Videotaping (handheld ONLY) and audio recording are permitted in the public areas of the Senate office buildings. Shooting video on the Capitol grounds with a tripod requires permission, except in designated locations (see map). Equipment must not be left unattended.

Coverage of Senate hearings must be arranged through our Gallery. Pool coverage may be mandated in cases of heavily attended hearings.

There are designated locations outside and inside which may be used at any time by members of the Gallery for standups or interviews (see map)

Shooting video on the steps on the East Front and on the West Front of the Capitol is prohibited.

The Senate Gallery studio is open to accredited reporters and technicians, Members of Congress, congressional press secretaries, and Gallery staff.

Gallery members may not list Gallery addresses or the main phone numbers of the Galleries on their business cards or stationery. Booth occupants must also have an office outside the Capitol.

Rules of Congress prohibit Gallery members from engaging in lobbying, advertising, publicity, or promotion work for any individual, corporation, organization or government.

Stake-outs and Photo Ops

All stake-outs must be pre-approved by the appropriate Gallery. The only exceptions are stake-outs in the designated Free Press Areas. Some stake-outs and photo ops require Gallery escorts.

Camera positions will generally be assigned on a first come, first served basis; however, the Gallery staff may give preferred positions to organizations providing live or pool coverage.

Interviews with non-members and officials are permitted at authorized stakeout areas except for at the Senate policy luncheon stakeout – non members of Congress must be escorted by a Congressional member to the microphone.

Mobile cutaway cameras are permitted at stake-outs as long as the camera does not interfere with other participants.

Stakeouts must allow for traffic flow in corridors and should not block doorways.

Food and drink are not permitted at stake-outs in the Capitol Building and Capitol Visitors Center. Gallery members must clean up after themselves in stake-out areas.

Radio Coverage

Radio coverage is allowed throughout the Capitol complex and the Capitol Visitor Center subject to the following rules:

On the second floor of the Senate wing – Extending from the President’s Room, around the corner through the Ohio Clock Corridor, past the East Grand Staircase, including the bank of elevators and the Senate Reception Room.

In the Old Supreme Court – Approval is through the Senate Curator. Contact the Senate Radio-TV Gallery to request approval.

In the Old Senate Chamber – Approval is through the Senate Curator. Contact the Senate Radio-TV Gallery to request approval.

In Members offices – Approval from Member’s press office is required.

On Capitol grounds – Interviews must not interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

Free Press Areas

Free press areas are designated for stand up use at all times. Credentialed members of the press may use these areas at all times. Crews may set up tripods in these areas without obtaining tripod permits.

Videotaping or filming with a tripod in any other area requires a tripod permit. Approval through the appropriate Gallery is needed. Tripods are to be set up only on grassy areas (except at the location near the fountain).

Memo by U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine to members of the U.S. Capitol Police Force, February 2014

Members of the press who cover Congress play a unique role in our democratic system of government. The First Amendment rights of the media allow them to report on the workings of Congress. The image and perception of the USCP is continuously developed through mass media coverage and our first-hand interactions with members of the media and the public during routine and high profile events.

In the course of carrying out the responsibilities of the USCP, employees of the Department and members of the press frequently interact. The Department cooperates fully and impartially, in a transparent manner with the media, to disseminate factual information. It is our responsibility to fully understand their First Amendment rights and facilitate their ability to obtain information considered to be in the public domain in a manner consistent with the procedures established by the Department.

The Public Information Officer (PIO) serves as the designated point of coordination for the dissemination of information and ensures proper continuity, liaison, and cooperation between the Department and the media. The PIO may be requested through Communications. The following guidelines should routinely be applied in a courteous manner by all employees of the Department when interacting with the media:

• Provide basic information about an event, such as the type of event, date, location (i.e., traffic accident at 10:00 am at the Rayburn Horseshoe).

• Media has at least the same rights as the public to take photos or record video in or from public areas with handheld cameras.

• The media is permitted in an area closer than the general public (inside the outer perimeter) and the established press area should safely afford a view of the scene without interfering with law enforcement operations.

• Media may move freely outside of the established press area, and can go anywhere the general public is permitted to go without blocking hallways, streets, sidewalks, etc. and comply with applicable law, rule, or regulation.

• Members of the media may be directed to move if they are in an area of immediate danger, in a crime scene, or in an area where their presence would hinder law enforcement operations.

• Under no circumstances should an employee of the USCP place their hand over a camera lens or attempt to obstruct the media’s view of a scene.

Designated free press areas on U.S. Capitol Grounds can be found on the accompanying map and are listed below:

1. Delaware & Constitution Avenues, NE (Upper Senate Park)
2. Reflecting Pool North at D Street, NE
3. Reflecting Pool South between New Jersey & Delaware Avenues, NE
4. West Front grassy area (near Northwest Drive)
5. West Front grassy area (near Southwest Drive)
6. Swamp Site
7. Elm Tree Site