WL Insider: Next-Gen Correspondents

White House Correspondents scholarships foster future press corps.

By Connie Lawn

Former President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (White House photo by Paul Morse via Wikimedia Commons)

Former President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (White House photo by Paul Morse via Wikimedia Commons)

Though the highlight of the White House Correspondents Association Dinner is always the parties and celebrities, there were several dozen events spawned by the highly successful 100th dinner. One of the more interesting and important was a lunch and panel discussion, sponsored by The Atlantic, honoring students who won college scholarships from the association.

Held on the top floor of the Watergate 600 Tower Office Buildings, guests were treated to a majestic view of the Kennedy Center, the Potomac and the Watergate South apartment building (where I lived in the 1970s, at the time of the Watergate scandal).

As we entered we were met by a good-looking man who wore the name tag “Jay Carney.” But it wasn’t Jay; it was the comedian and dinner emcee Joel McHale. He appropriated the tag, since Jay and a number of reporters were called away to watch a rose garden press conference between President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and four reporters. Jay never made it to the panel discussion. He was bailed out by Deputy Press Spokesman Josh Earnest, who gave some insight into the thinking and procedures in the White House. He said the Administration uses “all available outlets to get its message out.”

CBS reporter Major Garrett was late because of the news conference, but gave the young reporters some good advice. “With age comes authority,” he said, and noted they must make themselves essential in all forms of media. He advised them “they must adapt or become extinct.”

Other reporters on the panel included moderator Christi Parsons (who soon takes over as president of the association), Darlene Superville and Margaret Talev. WHCA President Steve Thomma coordinated most of the week’s official activities, incorporating some substance into the fun — a well-balanced tribute to the 100-year-old WHCA.

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