Journalists’ Fun Fest Also Gets Serious

The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner returned April 29 with its jokes about age, hush money, etc., but President Joe Biden stayed with the theme many of the attendant pre- or post-parties also stressed: freedom of the press and the deadly threats to journalists worldwide.

“We are here to send a message to the country and, quite frankly, to the world: The free press is a pillar, maybe the pillar, of a free society, not the enemy,” said Biden, who reminded all of the captivity of Evan Gershkovich (two months) and Austin Tice (11 years).

The Washington Hilton ballroom was the epicenter of the week’s events with its social scenes amid other speeches, music, ample food and beverages.

“Tonight, our message is this: Journalism is not a crime,” added Biden.

The WHCAD-related events began Thursday.

The Washington Women in Journalism Awards at the elegantly packed garden of Larz Anderson House was hosted by Washingtonian Magazine and Story Partners and honored NPR’s Asma Khalid, the Washington Post’s Jacqueline Alemany, NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell and CNN’s Gloria Borger.

Also packed with people was Bytes & Bylines Party at the Irish Ambassador’s Residence in Massachusetts Avenue Heights. Hosts included Sarah Kate Ellis, Allen Gannett, Shua Goodwin, Susanna Quinn and Adam Rathe.

Elle Magazine’s “Women of Impact” Event  at Ciel Social Club was quite the scene as was Semafor’s “No Agenda” WHCD Party Home of Semafor co-founder Justin Smith. We hear Semafor’s was seen everywhere.

The 2023 #RightToBearArts “Night Before” Gala Benefit Dinner at the Madison was hosted by the Creative Coalition.

Axios After Hours (Presented by Live Nation) — hosted by Mike Allen, Roy Schwartz, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino and Jim Vandehei — was just about off the hook and at the National Building Museum as country singer Lainey Wilson entertained the huge crowd.

The Embassy of Qatar and Washingtonian partied at the Four Seasons Hotel — and the beautiful people were plentiful. 

United Talent Agency’s Celebration of America’s Journalists (in Partnership with General Motors) was at nearby Fiola Mare at Washington Harbour and off the hook.

The Annual Garden Brunch at the Beall-Washington House on R Street is always a delight with great food, people and patriotism. Hosts were Tammy Haddad, Gayle King, Mark and Sally Ein, David Adler, Kevin Sheekey, Stephanie Ruhle, Jon Banner, Craig Minassian, Franco Nuschese, Teresa Carlson, Kelley McCormick and Dan Meyers. The event honored the work of Blue Star Families. Haddad was congratulated for the brunch’s 30th year.

The classic standbys — Washington Post Pre-Dinner Cocktail Reception,  hosted by Fred Ryan and Sally Buzbee, and Politico & CBS Pre-Dinner Reception — at the Hilton before the dinner stayed current and did not disappoint.

The CBS News After Party at French Ambassador’s Residence, hosted by CBS, French Ambassador Laurent Bili, BET, Comedy Central and Pluto TV, was another great night, and Time at 100 at the Switzerland Ambassador’s Residence — hosted by Swiss Ambassador Jacques Pitteloud and presented by Craft Media/Digital in partnership with Kimball Stroud & Associates, sponsored by Mercuria — was likewise. The event honored Time Magazine’s 100 years of publication.

The Politico Brunch at the Allbritton Residence was hosted by Elena and Robert Allbritton and Politico and closed the weekend except for the last important gathering. 

The president attended 5:30 p.m. Sunday Mass at Holy Trinity Church on 36th Street.


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