WASHINGTON – On at least one night a year President Barack Obama and the journalists who cover him try to find something nice — and something funny — to say about each other.
The annual dinner of the White House Correspondents’ Association has become an annual tradition in the nation’s capital, promising a black-tie evening of humor and celebrity gazing. The dinner attracts an array of journalists, government officials, politicians and media personalities as it raises money for college scholarships.
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrived Saturday evening at the Washington Hilton Hotel. The president was expected to speak after dinner but ahead of the featured entertainer, comic actor Joel McHale, the star of the NBC series “Community.”
The correspondents’ dinner has often come at key moments of Obama’s presidency. In 2011, Obama showed up the day before special operations troops killed Usama bin Laden. Last year’s dinner came nearly two weeks after the deadly Boston Marathon.
This time, the U.S. and Europe are anxiously watching Ukraine and Russia’s role in the turbulence in the eastern region of the former Soviet state.
The correspondents’ association, which represents the White House press corps, is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Several journalists were honored by the WHCA for their coverage of the presidency and national issues:
–Glenn Thrush of Politico and Brianna Keilar of CNN won the Aldo Beckman Award, which recognizes excellence in the coverage of the presidency.
–Peter Baker of The New York Times and Peter Maer of CBS News won the Merriman Smith Award for deadline coverage.
–Megan Twohey of Reuters and a partnership between The Center for Public Integrity’s Chris Hamby and ABC News’ Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross won the Edgar A. Poe Award for coverage of issues of national significance.