|STATEMENT FROM THE WHCA BOARD
November 21, 2013
The White House Correspondents' Association today joins dozens of news associations and media outlets in protesting White House policies that ban photojournalists from covering the president at certain events while releasing government photos and videos of the same events.
"Journalists are routinely being denied the right to photograph or videotape the President while he is performing his official duties," the WHCA and other news organizations said in a letter Thursday to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
"As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the Executive Branch of government."
The letter, also signed by such groups as the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the White House News Photographers Association as well as individual media outlets, notes that the White House has argued that certain events with the president are private and should not be opened to the news media.
However, in instance after instance, the White House has proved that claim false by allowing its own photographers and videographers into the same events and then releasing those photos or videos to a nationwide audience.
"You are, in effect, replacing independent photojournalism with visual press releases," the groups said in the letter.
The practice is a troubling break from tradition, and belies the president's vow to be more transparent."The right of journalists to gather the news is most critical when covering government officials acting in their official capacities," the letter said.
"Previous administrations have recognized this, and have granted press access to visually cover precisely these types of events, thus creating government transparency. It is clear that the restrictions imposed by your office on photographers undercuts the President's stated desire to continue and broaden that tradition. To exclude the press from these functions is a major break from how previous administrations have worked with the press."
The groups asked for a meeting to make the case face to face for a change in policy.
The White House Correspondents' Association represents the White House press corps. It will mark its 100th year next year.
--The board of the WHCA
For more information, contact WHCA President Steven Thomma at 202-383-6042 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In Memoriam: SARA FRITZ
An overflow crowd of hundreds packed the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church in Washington on Tuesday (Nov. 19) to remember and celebrate the life of Sara Fritz, a former WHCA president (1985) who died on Oct. 16, 2013.
The turnout was an astonishing manifestation of the depth and breathe of the admiration, respect and affection Sara commanded well beyond the clubby world of Washington journalism.
Below is a sampling of obituaries about Sara. As well, her family published, and distributed at her memorial service, a 20-day compendium of tributes written by friends, family and colleagues. Electronic copies are available by request.
-- Ed Chen, President, WHCA, 2009-2010
April 2, 2013
WASHINGTON--Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker is this year's winner of the White House Correspondents Association award for journalistic excellence in covering the presidency.
Julie Pace of the Associated Press and Terry Moran of ABC have won the association's awards for White House news coverage under deadline pressure, and the Center for Public Integrity is recognized for its coverage of issues of national importance.
The annual WHCA prizes honor outstanding performance by White House correspondents and other national journalists each year. The prizes and their cash awards will be given out at the association's annual dinner on Saturday, April 27.
Selected by a panel of judges organized by the Medill School of Journalism, the winning candidates this year demonstrated excellence under deadline pressure and in the kind of in-depth reporting at risk in an era of media cost-cutting.
"One of our central missions continues to be holding government officials accountable," WHCA President Ed Henry said. “I’m thrilled that all of these terrific journalists will be honored at our dinner this month.”
In awarding the Aldo Beckman Award to Lizza, the panel of judges noted his "remarkable efforts to provide an independent perspective" on President Obama's presidency and re-election.
"Deep reporting, both through documents and personal interviews, moves these stories beyond the cacophony of a campaign year," the judges said. Besides being an excellent reporter, they said, Lizza is "a thoughtful, cogent writer. He has a keen ability to take his readers inside decisions and weave a compelling narrative, something he has done for more than a decade covering the White House."
The Beckman award is named for the award-winning Chicago Tribune correspondent and former WHCA president. Funded by the Tribune, the award has a cash prize of $1,000.
The Merriman Smith Award for a print journalist goes to Pace, who was recently named to lead the AP White House team. The judges noted her next-day story reporting Obama’s reelection, saying that it "provided a detailed, nuanced explanation of how the Obama campaign had mobilized a sophisticated get-out-the- vote offensive to create a winning strategy that surprised many analysts in its scope."
"Writing from the press bus and buttonholing Obama campaign operatives who were already celebrating, she produced a nicely paced, engaging narrative that provided the first-blush analysis of campaign 2012," they wrote.
Moran is the broadcast winner of the Smith award for his coverage of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act.
Moran "calmly guided viewers through the complexity, contradictions and nuance of the ruling while explaining what it means for the president and his political fortunes," the awards panel wrote of his work.
The Merriman Smith fund was set up in 1970 to honor United Press International's correspondent at the White House for more than 30 years. The winners will each receive a cash prize of $2,500.
The winner of the Edgar A. Poe Award is the depth reporting series "Hard Labor," by CPI reporters Jim Morris, Chris Hamby and Ronnie Greene.
As the judges put it, the series "compellingly shows how the government has failed to keep its promise to protect workers from injury and death on the job."
"Drawing on years of data and on-the-ground reporting in eight states and Canada, the authors demonstrate how corporate corner-cutting, government inability or unwillingness to impose meaningful penalties, and bureaucratic pressure to make caseload quotas have stymied real regulation," the judges wrote. "They tell the workers' stories in a manner that evokes Studs Terkel, excellently weaving human interest with deep-data scrutiny and using numbers sparingly but with powerful effect."
The Poe award was set up to honor coverage of national or regional significance. The prize of $2,500 is funded by the New Orleans Times-Picayune and Newhouse Newspapers in honor of their distinguished correspondent, who also served as a WHCA president.
The selections process was supervised by Ellen Shearer, William F. Thomas Professor of Journalism at Northwestern University's Medill school.
The next WHCA℠ dinner is scheduled for April 27, 2013.
Late night star Conan O'Brien to headline 2013 White House Correspondents' Dinner
WASHINGTON -- Team Coco is coming back to Washington.
Conan O'Brien, the Emmy award-winning comedian and late night talk show host, will headline the annual White House Correspondents' Association’s annual dinner on April 27, 2013, it was revealed Wednesday by association president Ed Henry.
"Conan is one of television's most innovative and influential talents and I am absolutely thrilled that he has agreed to be this year's featured act," said Henry. "As social media has changed all aspects of the media business, Conan has embraced this shifting landscape to become a creative force both online as well as in the traditional television model. We are grateful that Conan will be also be using that creativity to bring more attention to the WHCA's commitment to helping needy journalism students."
Proceeds from the dinner, which is well known for being the hottest ticket in Washington year in and year out, help fund over $100,000 in scholarships. First Lady Michelle Obama, who attends the dinner with President Obama, has once again agreed this year to help hand out the scholarships to the high school students attending the dinner.
The President traditionally delivers his own set of jokes, poking fun at himself as well as his political opponents, before the comedian gets the podium. It's all in good fun and for a good cause.
The dinner is affectionately known as the "nerd prom" because it is a hit on C-SPAN. It draws a wide cross section of movers and shakers from the worlds of journalism, politics, as well as Hollywood all coming together for one night to help shine the spotlight on the next generation of journalists.
The event is also known for featuring some of the hottest names in comedy over the years, including when a boyish, 32-year-old O''Brien turned in a brilliant performance at the 1995 dinner. That was when O'Brien was starting his 16 year run as the host of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" on NBC.
O'Brien is now having a very successful run as host of "Conan" on TBS, yet another milestone in a career that started humbly when he served as a writer for shows like "The Simpsons" and "Saturday Night Live."
READ MORE: PRIOR NEWS ENTRIES
President Obama and the White House press corps. Photo/Greg E. Mathieson, Sr.
WHCA℠ OFFICERS 2013-2014
President: Steven Thomma, McClatchy Newspapers
Vice President: Christi Parsons, Tribune Company
Secretary: April Ryan, American Urban Radio Network
Treasurer: Doug Mills, New York Times
WHCA℠ Board Members 2013-2014
Carol Lee, Wall Street Journal, at large (7/15/16)
Scott Horsley, NPR, radio (7/15/15)
Margaret Talev, Bloomberg News, wire
Major Garrett, CBS News, television
Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News, periodicals
NEWS BLOGS AND LINKS
Several White House Correspondents' Association℠ members regularly blog about presidential coverage, delivering some of the most colorful White House stories anywhere. Here are links to a few of the most popular White House press corps blogs.
Mike Allen, Politico Playbook
Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune