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scholarships 2008


The White House Correspondents' Association supports several scholarships aimed at encouraging a new generation of reporters. It is for this that we host the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, which draws luminaries from politics, business, media, Hollywood and elsewhere to help the White House press corps raise money to give crucial financial assistance to journalism students at several institutions across the country.


The White House Correspondents' Association has long supported local students. But many of us don’t come from here, and most of our journalism has an impact far beyond this city. So this year we’re expanding our scholarship program dramatically. We are committing at least five times more cash to scholarships than ever before. We’re starting very generous new scholarships at three of the nation’s most prestigious journalism schools - Columbia, Northwestern, and the University of Missouri. And we’re expanding our existing programs at Howard University and the University of Maryland. In all, the White House Correspondents' Association is going from donating $26,000 last year in scholarships to $132,000.

These new scholarships are targeted in different ways. The one at Columbia will help a student from the Middle East, who intends to return home to share the best standards of American journalism in that crucial region. At Northwestern, the scholar will be someone interested in reporting on government affairs. And at Missouri, your money will enable 10 students attend its semester-long program in Washington.

We believe that diversity and disadvantage should be no barrier to talent. And at a time of immense turmoil in our industry, we believe that the next generation of political journalists -- wherever and however they work -- should maintain the highest standards. These scholarships are our, and your, commitment to those goals.

2008 Scholarship Awards

Three $5,000 scholarships for undergraduate students pursuing degrees in journalism at the John H. Johnson School of Communications at Howard University in Washington, D.C. This award program is administered by Howard in a new arrangement between the school and the WHCA that began in 2007.

The 2008 Howard University award winners are Christina M. Wright, Phillip Scott Lucas, and Crystal Cranmore.

Photo/Neshan H. Naltchayan

The Deborah Orin-Eilbeck Scholarship

Two $5,000 scholarships for graduate students at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. First funded in 2007 through an anonymous donor, the awards honor the memory of the late Deborah Orin-Eilbeck, the tenacious White House correspondent for The New York Post and Medill graduate who died of cancer in 2006. 

This year's recipients are Melissa Schmitt and David Rivelli.

Melissa Schmitt receives congratulations from President Bush
Photo/Neshan H. Naltchayan

President Bush congratulates David Ravilli Photos/Neshan H. Naltchayan


Ten Graduate Students to Be Selected for Prestigious WHCA-Missouri Fellowship in Government Affairs Reporting

Washington, D.C. (DATE) -- The White House Correspondents' Association will announce at its annual dinner on Saturday, April 26, a new WHCA-Missouri Fellowship Program in government affairs reporting.

The Missouri School of Journalism, considered by the WHCA as one of the nation's most prestigious journalism graduate programs, was one of three schools selected by them for their innovative new scholarships at the graduate level. The funding made available represents a quintupling of the organization's scholarship program.

Ann Compton of ABC News, president of the WHCA, says, "These dramatic increases are possible because of the sustained support that member news organizations have given to the annual dinner. Journalists and their media companies have been incredibly generous for the evening, which toasts the President of the United States and hosts 2,700 guests."

A total of ten graduate students will be selected for the 2008-2009 academic year to receive a $2,500 WHCA-Missouri fellowship while participating in the School's semester-long Washington Program. The fellowship will waive full tuition costs (both resident and non-resident) and applicable on-campus fees for each student, in effect matching the WHCA grant by as much as $66,460.

"This generous grant is an investment in quality journalism as it will allow a significant number of our graduate students an opportunity to grow their skills in public affairs reporting in our nation's capital," said Esther Thorson, acting dean of the School. "We thank the White House Correspondents' Association and look forward to working with them."

Selection criteria will include graduate standing, the student's interest in government affairs reporting and financial need, with preference given to those from underrepresented groups, either students of color, international students or students from rural or less-populated areas who might not otherwise have the opportunity to study at the Missouri School of Journalism and/or students for whom participation in the Washington Program would be prohibitively expensive.

The Washington Program is for graduate students and top-flight undergraduate seniors. Generally about 20-25 students participate during the fall and spring semesters each year. Roughly one-third are international students who come from nearly every continent under a variety of programs: Fulbright scholars, Humphrey fellows, Muskie fellows or their own graduate program. The program's office is located in the National Press Club building.

During their semester in the nation's capital, students work 30 hours a week for prominent media and government agencies, develop a research project and attend a weekly seminar in which Washington insiders help them better understand the federal establishment.

Helen Thomas, the dean of White House correspondents and widow of former White House reporter Douglas Cornell, BJ '28, has been a regular seminar speaker.

Interested students should contact Wesley G. Pippert, director of the Washington Program, himself a former White House reporter.

The White House Correspondents' Association promotes the interests of reporters and correspondents assigned to cover the White House, helping them meet the demands of a 24/7 news cycle. The organization also mentors future generations of journalists, primarily through scholarships made possible by proceeds from the annual dinner.

The Frank Cormier Scholarship

A $24,000 tuition awarded over four years of undergraduate study in journalism at the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. This scholarship was established in 1991. In 1994, it was named in honor of Frank Cormier, legendary White House correspondent for The Associated Press.

Douglas Jackson-Quzack
2006-2009 Frank Cormier scholar

Scholarship in Graduate Journalism Studies of Underserved Populations

A $5,000 scholarship awarded to a graduate journalism school student with an interest in reporting on the concerns of underserved populations. The grant is first being awarded in 2008, thanks to an endowment from an anonymous donor.


For information about past winners, please visit the SCHOLARSHIP ARCHIVE page.


Howard University's 2008 WHCA scholarship recipients with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Photo/Neshan H. Naltchayan


c-span link
C-SPAN is hosting STREAMING VIDEO OF THE 2008 WHCA AWARDS DINNER.These are available in both Flash and Real video formats.


President Bush climbs up on a chair to equalize the height differential between himself and 6' 8" David Rivelli. Photo/The Associated Press


Watch WHCA dinner videos dating back to 1993 on C-SPAN.ORG. Footage includes award presentations, scholarships, historical retrospectives, political humor,and some great "people watching" at the annual dinner.

Our 2008 SLIDESHOW features the President and Mrs. Bush, WHCA members, award winners, scholarship recipients, and this year's entertainer, Craig Ferguson. plus some familiar faces from Washington and Hollywood. Flash player and a javascript-enabled browser required.

slideshow link WATCH THE 2008 SLIDESHOW

Rob Lowe and Ben Affleck at the 2008 WHCA dinner

Photos/Neshan H. Naltchayan

The 2007 SLIDESHOW remains online.



2007 scholarships

For a list of WHCA scholarship recipients since 1991, visit the SCHOLARSHIP ARCHIVE page, which also features links to videos of past dinners and scholarship presentations.



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