Saturday, April 28, 2012, the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) held its 92nd annual dinner. The Association began in 1914 after unfounded that the Congressional Standing Committee of Correspondents would pick which reporters would be invited. The White House reporters were greatly upset and eleven of the said reporters formed the WHCA. It lay dormant until 1920 when it had it’s first dinner.
The dinner is to honor WHCA Journalism Award recipients as well as to raise money for WHCA scholarships. To have membership, the correspondents,
- “must be employed on the editorial staff of a newspaper, magazine, wire service, radio, TV, cable TV, or other broadcast organization or news gathering organization that regularly reports on the White House.”
Up until 25 years ago, no celebrities were in attendance. Watch the following video:
Now it has become a red carpet event and Who’s Who of Washington, D.C. It seems the mission of the White House Correspondence Dinner is greatly overshadowed by the HW celebrities that flock by the droves to the dinner and parties.
Celebrities are invited by WHCA correspondents. Here are some who attended this year’s dinner:
- Reese Witherspoon and Viola Davis (Newsweek/The Daily Beast)
- Josh Huterson and Dianne Keaton (PEOPLE)
- Charlize Theron (POLITICO)
- Barbara Walters and George Clooney (TIME)—“Ok, these two in attendance make sense.”
- Martha Stewart, Kelly Ripa, Johnny Galecki (USA Today)
- Members of “Modern Family” cast (ABC)
- Co-chairman and CEO of DreamWorks Studio (Atlantic Media)
- Zooey Deschanel and model Kate Upton (Bloomberg)
- Daniel Day-Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer (Huffington Post)
- Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner (FOX News)
- Lindsay Lohan (FOX’s Greta Von Susteren)—”I…uummm…REALLY????”
When reading the list of names, I felt some were appropriate for the situation given their political and humanitarian efforts and what they have positively contributed to the media. Others made me think, “Are you KIDDING me??? Why on EARTH are they there?” Then I just chalked it up to a good old steaming cup of PR.
For those of you interested in more than just the “Razzle Dazzle”, here are the names of those who were honored:
- Merriman Smith Memorial Award –outstanding examples of deadline reporting: Jake Tapper (ABC News) and Glenn Thrush, Carrie Budoff Brown, Manu Raju and John Bresnahan (Politico).
- Aldo Beckman Memorial Award—outstanding journalism: Scott Wilson (The Washington Post)
- Edgar A. Poe Memorial Award—Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley (Associated Press)
WHCA Scholarship Recipients:
- Deborah Orin Scholarship: Virginia “Jenna” Barnes and Benjamin Kesling
- David Unger from Northwestern University
- Namo Abdullah Azeez from Columbia University
- Shaquille Brewster, Christina Downs, and Sarayah Wintersmith from Howard University
- Ryan Grochowski, Siyu Hu, Jessica Pupovac, Jessica Stephens, Joseph Yerardi, and Yiquin Zhang from University of Missouri
- Jamie Goldberg of The Unviersity of California, Berkley
- Christian Trevino, University of Maryland
- Jack Donaldson Memorial Scholarship: Angel Brock from McKinley Technology High School, Washington, D.C.
Between the celebrities and those who were honored/received awards, which names do you know better? Where was David Unger or Jessica Pupovac on the Yahoo! Home page Red Carpet picture gallery? It seems Washington may need to take a look at what the WHCD has become and do a bit of revamping. Shouldn’t we be focusing on those honored instead of skits, stand up comedy, and which celebrity to invite. We don’t need anymore dumbing down of America. Let’s highlight those journalists who have actually made a difference and actually get their facts from reliable sources before going to print or live TV.
Please join us for a discussion Tuesday, 5/1/2012@7pmE/12UTC.