Politico

White House Correspondents' Association cancels 2020 dinner


The White House Correspondents’ Association has canceled its annual dinner, opting not to go forward with the glitzy celebration of journalism after rescheduling it for the end of August because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve been working hard to reconfigure the dinner in ways to make it safe for guests and staff,” WHCA President Jonathan Karl wrote on Tuesday in an email to members. “But after consultation with medical experts, government authorities and our own members, we’ve concluded that it is just not possible to put on the kind of dinner that promotes the best in journalism and allows our guests to comfortably and safely enjoy themselves.”

Long one of the most prestigious journalism events and a hallmark of spring in the nation’s capital, the annual event was first postponed in March as the pandemic continued to worsen in the U.S. About a month later, it was rescheduled for Aug. 29, with the association indicating at the time that it would continue to consult with health experts as the outbreak progressed.

The decision to cancel the event altogether comes as swaths of the country have begun to see new spikes of infections while moving to lift virus-related restrictions that shuttered the economy for months.

Karl said in his note to members that the association did “not want to let this moment pass, however, without telling the truly inspiring story of journalism in 2020, particularly White House journalism.” He said the organization was working to put on a virtual celebration of the First Amendment, acknowledge recipients of the group’s scholarships and yearly awards, “and still enjoy a few laughs.”

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