Local TV news personalities gather for third annual Bash for Breast Cancer.
By John Arundel
By day, they’re some of the city’s most hard-charging and relentless TV news reporters.
By night, they’re on camera, at 6, 10 and 11, recently taking down D.C. City Council Chair Kwame Brown for fraud and corruption, and breathlessly reporting at the scene of liquor store robberies in Southeast and Panda birth watches in Northwest.
But on June 19, D.C.’s most prominent TV newswomen put down their microphones, cameras and competitive streaks and showed up en masse at the recently-renovated Howard Theatre, for the third Newsbabes Bash for Breast Cancer, raising awareness and funds for breast cancer prevention.
The Newsbabes concept was hatched in 2009 when a group of local TV reporters and anchors got together and decided it was time to do something instead of just reporting on the sweeping plague of breast cancer, which comprises roughly 23 percent of all cancers in women and which claimed a staggering 458,503 deaths worldwide in 2008, the last year in which statistics were reported by the CDC.
Andrea Mitchell, NBC News’ Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, was this year’s honored guest. She’s also a breast cancer survivor, telling the crowd that she’s “good for the long term” but that she had to delay her recovery and breast cancer reconstruction because she “wanted to get through the primary season.”
“Well, the Republican field did not cooperate,” she said, eliciting laughter from the assembled crowd of pink army supporters, survivors, journos, politicos and friends.
Afterwards, Mitchell told reporters that politics had influenced her decision to no longer be involved with Komen for the Cure after the breast cancer charity stopped and then restarted grant funding for Planned Parenthood earlier this year.
“I’m not involved with Komen per say, I’m just supporting breast cancer research and screening and access for women because I think it’s become a little bit political and I have to be, I have to take a step back as a journalist,” she told The Examiner’s Nikki Schwab. “It’s no longer an easy issue for journalists to be in.”
This year, the cause of the Newsbabes was the GW Mammovan, the mobile mammography service of the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates which brings free mammography screenings to the city’s underserved women.
About 800 pink-adorned guests enjoyed specialty cocktails and a menu designed by Howard Theatre’s consulting chef, Marcus Samuelsson, and a dessert bar donated by Georgetown Cupcakes, Dolci Gelati, and Sweet Signatures. Meanwhile, D.C. 101’s DJ Flounder set a high-energy musical backdrop for the event, which was sponsored by Bethesda Row, Alton Lane and Kiehl’s Since 1851.
The affair was staged at The Howard Theatre, the historic entertainment venue that opened this spring after a 32-year hiatus and a $29 million renovation.
This year’s host committee for the NewsBabes Bash included some of the most prominent women (and men) from both the regional affiliates and national networks, including Fox News Channel’s National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin, a recent breast cancer survivor; CNN’s White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar, as well as NBC4’s Angie Goff, Eun Yang and Doreen Gentzler, 9News Now’s Anita Brikman, Andrea Roane and Lesli Foster; ABC7’s Rebecca Cooper, Alison Starling, Britt McHenry, Cynné Simpson and Pamela Brown; Fox 5’s Laura Evans, Shawn Yancy and Sue Palka. From the radio side, WTOP’s Hillary Howard and Bloomberg’s Megan Hughes also co-hosted.
This year the newsbabes added to the roster of bold-faced names “Newsmen in Pink” who were attired by sponsor Alton Lane Clothiers, which outfitted the TV gents in pink shirts and ties generously donated by the makers of premium bespoke clothing for men. The Newsmen in Pink included NBC’s Peter Alexander and Luke Russert, Fox News Channel’s Juan Williams, Ed Henry, Jim Angle and Bret Baier, CNN’s Dan Lothian and Peter Hamby and ABC 7’s Leon Harris and Adam Caskey, NBC 4’s Dan Hellie and Doug Kammerer, Fox 5’s Will Thomas and Wisdom Martin, and 9 News Now’s Derek McGinty, Dave Owens, Bruce Johnson and Mike Hydeck. From the radio side, WTOP’s “Man About Town” Bob Madigan co-hosted.
Not surprisingly, the TV folks came out in droves, with about 90 percent of the host committee showing up for the bash. “If a meteorite dropped out of the sky right now,” one guest chuckled. “There’d probably be no 11 o’clock news tonight.”
PINK ARMY: Tanya Heyison, Lynda Erkiletian, Marc Heyison, Michelle Delino, Honi Borden, Will Johnson, Meredith Johnson, Vanessa Rodriguez, Tommy McFly, C.C. Christakos, Jayne Sandman, Barbara Martin, Reina Offut Pratt.