A news conference or press conference is a media event staged by an individual or group wishing to attract media coverage for something claimed to have news value. Television stations and networks especially value news conferences: because today's TV news programs air for hours at a time, or even continuously, assignment editors have a steady appetite for ever-larger quantities of "news" footage.
News conferences are often held by politicians (such as the President of the United States); by sports teams; by celebrities or film studios; by commercial organizations to promote products; by attorneys to promote lawsuits; and by almost anyone who finds benefit in the free publicity afforded by media coverage.
A news conference is announced by mailing or faxing an advisory or news release to assignment editors, preferably well in advance. Normally they are held in hotel conference rooms or other formal settings; they may also take place at disaster sites, courthouses or other places where news is breaking.
In a news conference, one or more speakers may make a statement, which may be followed by questions from reporters. Sometimes only questioning occurs, sometimes there is a statement with no questions permitted.
A media event at which no statements are made, and no questions allowed, is called a photo opportunity.
U.S. Presidential press conference
When the U.S. President holds a press conference, he takes questions from the press pool in a specific order: wire services (for decades, Helen Thomas of UPI had the first question), broadcast networks, national newspapers, newsmagazines, radio and, lastly, regional newspapers.