Where: The Newseum
When: June 5, 2008
Ticket Price: $100 a person, VIP $500
Attire: Business casual
Who: Washington’s networking media crowd showed up to mingle with executives of the nonprofit Internews and potential independent-media project funders. Mariane Pearl—the international journalist Angelina Jolie played in the movie adaptation of Pearl’s book about her husband Daniel’s death—lounged on the terrace in front of a view of the Capitol. Ted Leonsis, vice chair emeritus of AOL and owner of the Washington Capitals, kept most of his mingling inside. Christopher Turpin, executive producer of NPR’s All Things Considered, took the stage as master of ceremonies to honor Leonsis and Pearl for their contributions to international media. Other honorees were Tole Nyatta of Kenya, Hoang Quoc Dzung of Vietnam, and Natalia Ligacheva of Ukraine.
Scene: Guests filed into the Freedom Forum entrance and took the elevator to the Knight Conference Center Terrace, where a sunny evening and half-full conference room greeted them. Media professionals drank and ate mini-hamburgers and crab cakes while chatting, but the true party commenced outside, where guests posed in front of picturesque views of the monuments and introduced themselves to Pearl. The awards ceremony inside—refreshingly short—had a group of videographers and cameramen capturing the reactions of the crowd of journalists as they watched short dedication videos to the honorees.
Funny moment: Upon accepting the award, Ted Leonsis spoke of his vision for the future of social documentary: “I think many of us are very committed to using the pixels on people’s screens to try to do good.”
Boldface names: 1.5 out of 5
Swankiness: 1 out of 5
Food and drink: 1.5 out of 5
Overall exclusivity: 1 out of 5
Total score: 5 out of 20