WHCA Announces Entertainer for 2024 Dinner

The White House Correspondents’ Association announced today that Saturday Night Live ‘Weekend Update’ Co-Anchor Colin Jost will be the featured entertainer at its annual dinner on Saturday, April 27 in Washington, D.C.

“Colin Jost knows how to make Saturday nights funny, and I am thrilled Colin will be live from the nation’s capital as the headline entertainer for this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” said Kelly O’Donnell, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and NBC News Senior White House Correspondent.

Jost is a writer, performer and author. He started writing for SNL in 2005 and has been the co-anchor of the show’s ‘Weekend Update’ since 2014.

In 2016, Jost and Co-Anchor Michael Che hosted special editions of “Weekend Update” on MSNBC during the 2016 Republican and Democratic National Conventions as well as the primetime “Weekend Update Summer Edition” in 2017. 

He has been recognized with five Writers Guild Awards, two Peabody Awards and has been nominated for 14 Emmy Awards for his writing on SNL. He also has written a New York Times best-selling memoir, “A Very Punchable Face.”

“His sharp insights perfectly meet this remarkable time of divided politics, and a presidential campaign careening toward a rematch. His smart brand of comedy and keen observation will turn up the heat on the national news media and across the political spectrum. A night of laughs and reflections as our dinner honors freedom of the press as a cornerstone of American democracy. I am beyond excited to welcome one of NBC’s brightest stars to one of Washington’s greatest traditions,” O’Donnell added.

The WHCA dinner is traditionally attended by the President and First Lady as well as senior government officials and members of the press corps. Proceeds from the dinner help finance all the WHCA’s work, including awards recognizing excellence in the profession and scholarships for journalism students, awarded with the hope of building a next generation of White House journalists who reflect America.

About the WHCA

The WHCA comprises hundreds of members from the worlds of print, television, radio and online journalism. Their work, for outlets based in the United States and overseas, reaches a global audience.

Since its founding in 1914, the association works to ensure that the journalists who cover the White House have the ability to seek answers from powerful officials, up to and including the President. That includes everything from advocating for access and managing the pools of reporters who stay close to the president to logistics for the press corps following the president around the world.

More About Colin Jost 

Jost started in journalism as a reporter and editor for the Staten Island Advance newspaper, a writer for the Harvard Crimson, president of the Harvard Lampoon and editor-in-chief of The Owl.

In 2020, Jost debuted “A Very Punchable Face,” a New York Times bestseller about growing up in a family of firefighters on Staten Island, learning to speak at the age of four, commuting three hours a day to high school, living in Russia during Putin’s first term and fighting in WrestleMania. It was a finalist for the Goodreads Book of the Year and won an Audie Award for Best Audio Book.

Jost also has written for The New YorkerThe New York Times and The Huffington Post.

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For more information about the WHCA dinner, contact WHCA Executive Director Steve Thomma at director@whca.press.

WHCA talks with reporter who covered JFK assassination

The WHCA co-sponsored an event with the National Geographic surrounding its new documentary on the 60th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

WHCA President Kelly O’Donnell opened the evening with a video greeting from Clint Hill, one of the Secret Service agents who was in the motorcade in Dallas.

After a screening of one of three parts of the documentary, O’Donnell moderated a panel discussion including former Associated Press reporter Peggy Simpson, who helped cover the events of Nov. 22, 1963 and was in the police station when assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was himself gunned down.

The limited series premieres Nov. 5 at 8/7c on National Geographic with three back-to-back episodes and streams on Disney+ and Hulu on Nov. 6.

Click here to see the discussion.

White House Correspondents’ Association and Syracuse  University announce new scholarship partnership

The White House Correspondents’ Association is very happy to announce the creation of a new scholarship in partnership with the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

“The WHCA is grateful for this new partnership with Syracuse University,” said Kelly O’Donnell, Senior White House Correspondent for NBC News and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.

“We know that Syracuse has a long track record as an institution that produces talented and well prepared journalists. We believe this scholarship will help WHCA support a new generation of journalists whose work will hold government to account and shine a light on important issues.” 

“Training journalism students and helping to set them up for success for a career in the newsroom is part of what we do best,” said Mark J. Lodato, dean of the Newhouse School.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to apply the skills they learn in the classroom to an exceptional experience in our nation’s capital, working with some of the country’s top political reporters.”

Syracuse becomes the 13th university to partner with the WHCA to help promising young journalists, many of them the White House correspondents of the future.

The others are American University, Arizona State University, Columbia University, Hampton University, Howard University, Northwestern University, Ohio University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Kansas, the University of Maryland, the University of Missouri and University of Tennessee.

The WHCA also has college scholarship partnerships with the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the White House Historical Association.

The White House Correspondents’ Association Scholarship at Syracuse University will be a $5,000 prize awarded annually to a journalism student with a focus on pursuing government or political reporting.

The student will be invited to a scholarship luncheon in the spring and to the annual WHCA dinner in Washington, scheduled next on April 27, 2024. The student also will be paired for a year with a volunteer mentor from among the White House press corps.

For more information, contact Executive Director Steve Thomma at director@whca.press

About the WHCA

Founded in 1914, the White House Correspondents’ Association exists to ensure robust news coverage of the president and the presidency, and to promote excellence in journalism and  journalism education. Each day, we work to ensure that the men and women who cover the White House have the ability to seek answers from powerful officials, up to and including the President. We also support awards for some of the best political reporting of the past year, and scholarships for young reporters who carry our hopes for vibrant journalism in the years to come.  Our association comprises hundreds of members from the worlds of print, television, radio and online journalism. Their work, for outlets based in the United States and overseas, reaches a global audience.

About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private research university that advances knowledge across disciplines to drive breakthrough discoveries and breakout leadership. Our collection of 13 schools and colleges with over 200 customizable majors closes the gap between education and action, so students can take on the world. In and beyond the classroom, we connect people, perspectives and practices to solve interconnected challenges with interdisciplinary approaches. Together, we’re a powerful community that moves ideas, individuals and impact beyond what’s possible.

About the Newhouse School

The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University trains the next generation of communications leaders, preparing students to not only enter a rapidly changing media industry, but to shape its future. Called one of the very best schools in its field by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) in an April 2023 reaccreditation report, Newhouse has been lauded for providing an excellent educational experience due to its outstanding students, faculty, staff, leadership and facilities, as well as financial stability and a deep curriculum. The Newhouse School is committed to expanding academic excellence through research and creative activity, as well as community engagement and professional opportunities to help students develop their skill set outside the classroom.

2023 WHCA Election Results

WHCA Election Results – June 28, 2023

Here are the results of the 2023 WHCA elections. A total of 387 ballots were submitted.

PRINT SEAT 2023-2026

Courtney Subramanian, LA Times                210

Emily Goodin, DailyMail.com                      158

Write-in                                                              4

(1 each: Khalil Abdallah, Todd Gillman

2 each: April Ryan

Abstain                                                              15

PHOTO SEAT 2023-2026

Andrew Harnik, AP                                        364

Write-in                                                               9

(1 each: Jabin Botsford, Jim Bourg,

Jordan Fabian, Ed Lewis, Meghashyam Mali,

Doug Mills, Ron Sachs

2 each: Roberta Rampton )

Abstain                                                             14    

AT-LARGE SEAT 2023-2026 – AND PRESIDENT IN 2025-2026

Weijia Jiang, CBS News                                251     

Francesca Chambers, USA TODAY              132

Write-in                                                              1

(1 each: Jeff Mason)

Abstain                                                               3

For more information, contact Executive Director Steve Thomma at director@whca.press

WHCA: Online harassment of White House journalist is unacceptable

Statement on the online harassment of White House journalist Sabrina Siddiqui:

“Sabrina Siddiqui of the Wall Street Journal was the lone journalist from an American news outlet called on during President Biden’s joint press conference with Prime Minister Modi last week. She represented the White House press corps incredibly well and asked the questions that many of us had at the top of our lists. Unfortunately since then she has been subjected to intense online harassment, including from people with ties to the prime minister’s political party, questioning her motives, her religion and her heritage. This is unacceptable. The WHCA stands by Sabrina and the questions she chose to ask. In a democracy, journalists shouldn’t be targeted simply for doing their jobs and asking questions that need to be asked.”

– WHCA President Tamara Keith

WHCA Honors Gwen Ifill and Bill Plante at annual dinner

The White House Correspondents’ Association at its annual dinner April 29 honored two legendary and deeply missed journalists – the late Gwen Ifill of the PBS NewsHour and Washington Week and the late Bill Plante of CBS News.

The WHCA honored their memories with the Dunnigan-Payne Prize, name for two trailblazing women journalists.

Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News, the WHCA’s vice president, presented medallions to family members Bert Ifill and Chris Plante, and recalled her own relationships with the late journalists.

“Gwen and I were colleagues at NBC back in the 90s. I didn’t know her well then, as I was visiting DC covering my first presidential race. I casually shared that I didn’t really get why a campaign made certain behind the scenes moves. As Gwen headed to her car, she stopped, turned around, and offered up her experienced and smart take on what was really going on,” O’Donnell said.

“That helped me in the moment but she gave me something bigger. She showed me that real pros… stop, turn around and help out. Her example made me want to be that kind of colleague. Thank you Gwen.

“And Bill, more than 50 years at CBS, was a master of the shouted question at the White House. Many of us also knew Bill’s gift for making presidential trips real life memories by finding time to experience the flavor of places we visited. Around the world, he would select a perfect restaurant, the right bottle of wine and bring together a group of us to hear his stories and share our own. A rooftop in Vietnam hearing about his war coverage was exceptional. He encouraged us to savor the journey of this job. Thank you Bill.”

The medallions were presented to Bill’s son Chris Plante and Gwen’s brother Bert Ifill.

About the award

The Dunnigan-Payne Prize was created in 2022 to raise up the achievements of Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne, the first two African American women to serve as members of the White House press corps. In the prize’s inaugural year, Ms. Dunnigan and Ms. Payne were the initial recipients of this award that will carry their names to honor the career achievements of White House correspondents.

William “Bill” Plante was one of the longest serving White House broadcast journalists in history, working on the beat for 35 years covering the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He served as WHCA president from 1986-87. He was beloved in the press corps for his kindness, but didn’t pull punches with the politicians he covered. He used his recognizable baritone voice to lob questions, even when the White House wished he wouldn’t.

“Our asking questions should not be dependent on what the White House thinks the mood or the tone of an event should be,” Plante said in 2007. “And the fact that they say ‘no questions’ or don’t allow time for questions really has nothing to do with it. They don’t have to answer, but I think we need to preserve and aggressively push our right to ask.”

About the honorees

In addition to his long career covering the White House, Plante also covered the State Department and had served four tours covering the war in Vietnam, including the fall of Saigon and Cambodia, the civil rights movement and all the presidential elections from 1968 to 2016.  His remarkable tenure at CBS News spanned 52 years.

Gwen Ifill, PBS NewsHour and Washington Week

Gwen Ifill was a groundbreaking journalist who covered eight presidential campaigns, moderated two vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008 and in 2016, while battling cancer, moderated a Democratic primary debate. She was a co-anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour and moderator and managing editor of Washington Week on PBS. She joined the network in 1999 to helm Washington Week, becoming the first African American woman to host a nationally televised public affairs program. At that time, she also joined the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer as a senior correspondent, again making history in 2013 alongside Woodruff as the first female anchor team for a national evening newscast.

Ifill covered the White House for the New York Times from 1991-1994 and moved to broadcasting at NBC News covering politics and Capitol Hill from 1994-1999. She began her reporting career with the Boston Herald, followed by assignments with the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Washington Post.

Gwen Ifill and Bill Plante to be honored posthumously with the WHCA’s Dunnigan-Payne Prize for lifetime career achievement

The White House Correspondents’ Association is pleased to announce two legendary and deeply missed journalists will be honored with this year’s Dunnigan-Payne Prize, the late Gwen Ifill of the PBS NewsHour and Washington Week, who left us in 2016 and the late Bill Plante of CBS News, who passed away in 2022. Their indelible legacies helped to shape political journalism and made the press corps stronger by their example. 

The Dunnigan-Payne Prize was created in 2022 to raise up the achievements of Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne, the first two African American women to serve as members of the White House press corps. In the prize’s inaugural year, Ms. Dunnigan and Ms. Payne were the initial recipients of this award that will carry their names to honor the career achievements of White House correspondents.

Bill Plante, CBS News

CBS NEWS

William “Bill” Plante was one of the longest serving White House broadcast journalists in history, working on the beat for 35 years covering the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He served as WHCA president from 1986-87. He was beloved in the press corps for his kindness, but didn’t pull punches with the politicians he covered. He used his recognizable baritone voice to lob questions, even when the White House wished he wouldn’t.

“Our asking questions should not be dependent on what the White House thinks the mood or the tone of an event should be,” Plante said in 2007. “And the fact that they say ‘no questions’ or don’t allow time for questions really has nothing to do with it. They don’t have to answer, but I think we need to preserve and aggressively push our right to ask.”

In addition to his long career covering the White House, Plante also covered the State Department and had served four tours covering the war in Vietnam, including the fall of Saigon and Cambodia, the civil rights movement and all the presidential elections from 1968 to 2016.  His remarkable tenure at CBS News spanned 52 years.

 

Gwen Ifill, PBS NewsHour and Washington Week

Gwen Ifill was a groundbreaking journalist who covered eight presidential campaigns, moderated two vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008 and in 2016, while battling cancer, moderated a Democratic primary debate. She was a co-anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour and moderator and managing editor of Washington Week on PBS. She joined the network in 1999 to helm Washington Week, becoming the first African American woman to host a nationally televised public affairs program. At that time, she also joined the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer as a senior correspondent, again making history in 2013 alongside Woodruff as the first female anchor team for a national evening newscast.

Ifill covered the White House for the New York Times from 1991-1994 and moved to broadcasting at NBC News covering politics and Capitol Hill from 1994-1999. She began her reporting career with the Boston Herald, followed by assignments with the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Washington Post.

Ifill’s book,“The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama” was a New York Times bestseller.

Gwen was a mentor to many who saw opportunity in her success as a black woman in a field dominated by men. In 2013, she said, “a little girl now, watching the news, when they see me and Judy (Woodruff) sitting side by side. It will occur to them that that’s perfectly normal.”

As a journalist, she often asked biting questions with a smile. “I wanted to be a journalist, because I like to ask questions,” Gwen said in a 2009 interview with Julian Bond for the Explorations in Black Leadership Series. “And I like the idea that someone might feel responsible for answering them.”

WHCA Dinner 2023

Gwen and Bill will be honored at this year’s annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 29th in Washington, DC. Arden Farhi of CBS News has generously agreed to produce a video presentation about their careers that will be presented during the dinner. The package will be narrated by CBS’s John Dickerson, a friend of both honorees.

The awards will be accepted on stage by Bill’s son Chris Plante and Gwen’s brother Bert Ifill.

The event will also include a speech from President Biden, comedy from Roy Wood Jr., as well as the annual presentation of journalism awards and scholarships.

Today March 22 – Event on Press and Presidency at Kennedy Presidential Library

WATCH IT LIVE STREAMING HERE.

6 – 730 PM EDT. Wednesday March 22

The White House Correspondents’ Association is pleased to announce an event discussing the press and the presidency in cooperation with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

The panel discussion will explore the relationship between the White House press and presidents, including how both reporting and presidential communication have changed with new media such as radio, television, and Twitter.

“A big goal of mine for this year is to educate the public about how White House correspondents do our jobs and the important role an independent press corps plays,” said Tamara Keith, president of the WHCA and moderator of the discussion. “We are grateful for the partnership of the Kennedy Library since President Kennedy was the first president to truly harness the power of television.” 

The event will be at the library in Boston from 6 pm – 730 pm EDT, March 22, with attendance open in person and viewing available online.

The panel will include:

Tamara Keith

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. In that time, she has chronicled the final years of the Obama administration, covered Hillary Clinton’s failed bid for president from start to finish and documented the Trump administration, from policy made by tweet to the president’s COVID diagnosis and the insurrection. In the final year of the Trump administration and the first year of the Biden administration, she focused her reporting on the White House response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Keith has deep roots in public radio and got her start in news by writing and voicing essays for NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday as a teenager. She went on to work at member stations KQED, KPCC and WOSU. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents’ Association and is currently its president.

Darlene Superville

Darlene Superville is a veteran Associated Press White House reporter who has covered Presidents Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Her portfolio included coverage of first ladies Michelle Obama, Melania Trump, Jill Biden and a little bit of Laura Bush. She is a co-author of “Jill: A Biography of the First Lady,” about Jill Biden. Before being assigned to cover the White House, Ms. Superville was a supervisor on the AP’s national political desk in Washington for the 2008 presidential election that saw Obama become the nation’s first Black president. She also held that role during the 2012, 2004 and 2000 election cycles. Darlene has covered Congress, federal agencies and spent several years on an enterprise writing team. She is a native New Yorker and graduate of New York University.

Doug Mills

Photo: Arlington Magazine

Doug Mills has worked as a photographer in the Washington bureau of The New York Times since 2002. Previously, Mr. Mills served for 15 years as chief photographer for The Associated Press in Washington. He joined The A.P. after working for four years in the Washington bureau of United Press International. Mr. Mills won a Pulitzer Prize for photography in 1993 with The A.P. for team coverage of the Clinton/Gore campaign and won a second Pulitzer Prize for photography with The A.P. for its team investigative coverage of the Clinton/Lewinsky affair. Mr. Mills has also won numerous awards in the White House News Photographers Association. Born in Greensboro, N.C., in 1960, Mr. Mills studied at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Va. Mr. Mills is married with two daughters and lives in Arlington, Va.

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Ellen Fitzpatrick, who holds a PhD in History from Brandeis University, is Presidential Chair and Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire and has taught previously at Harvard University, M.I.T. and Wellesley College. She is the author and editor of eight books, including The Highest Glass Ceiling: Women’s Quest for the American Presidency (Harvard University Press, 2016), the New York Times bestselling, Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation (Ecco, 2010); and History’s Memory: Writing America’s Past, 1880-1980 (Harvard University Press, 2002). She has been interviewed as an expert on modern political history by numerous print, television, and radio outlets including the PBS News Hour, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, the BBC, and National Public Radio. In 2021, she received the University of New Hampshire’s highest award for excellence in teaching.

Click HERE To register for onsite attendance

For more information, contact WHCA Executive Director Steve Thomma at director@whca.press