The White House Correspondents’ Association has canceled this year’s annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Politico reports, with plans to host the 2020 Journalism Awards presentation via a virtual platform.
The long-awaited gala dinner was originally set for April 25th, but was postponed until August 29th as the coronavirus began to spread across the country. In an email to members, White House Correspondents’ Association President Jonathan Karl said the Association had been “working hard to reconfigure the dinner in ways to make it safe for guests and staff, 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.”
This year’s Journalism Awards presentation is set to include two new awards: The Katharine Graham Award for Courage and Accountability and the Award for Excellence in Presidential News Coverage by Visual Journalists. The University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications is also expected to give the inaugural presentation for the Collier Prize for State Government Accountability to recognize “outstanding statehouse reporting.” The White House Correspondents’ Association is hoping that with a virtual presentation, they will still be able to “salute award-winning journalism, toast an impressive group of scholarship winners, and still enjoy a few laughs.”
Meanwhile, support is growing online for the 2021 WHC Dinner to feature TikTok comedian and writer Sarah Cooper, famous for her online lip-syncing parody videos of President Donald Trump.
The White House Correspondents’ Association is accepting any contributions to support this year’s virtual awards presentation. Several members have graciously offered to convert their payment for dinner tickets into a fully tax-deductible contribution. For more details on how to donate, the WHC Association asks that you reach out to Director Steve Thomma at firstname.lastname@example.org.