Who: the National Press Foundation’s annual dinner
Where: The main ballroom at the Washington Hilton
When: Thursday, February 28, at 6:30 PM
Scene: The NPF dinner always stands out among the spring whirlwind of press dinners/grown-up proms for two reasons: 1) The journalism awards are the central part of the evening, not lame jokes by a tired comedian or politician; 2) the dinner ends on time—last night it went over its scheduled 9:30 close by just seven minutes. Anyone who has sat through a gala as it passes 10 PM and drags towards 11 knows what a glorious treat punctuality can be.
The dinner, which began with a private reception sponsored by National Journal as well as a public counterpart on the outskirts of the giant ballroom, featured awards to legends such as Tom Friedman (who didn’t see entirely happy to get a lifetime achievement award, as it typically goes to someone past their peak), Dana Priest and Anne Hull for their Walter Reed expose in the Washington Post, and WJLA’s Gordon Peterson, who got the warmest and most sustained applause of the night.
The dinner chairs, PR exec Gloria Dittus and the Wall Street Journal’s Gerry Seib broke all records for the Foundation, raising more than $800,000 and attracting 1,250 guests.
Food: Salad, mini crab cakes, and salmon with a delicious risotto.
Drink: Lots of wine, courtesy of Pernod Ricard, but the drink of choice was Jack Daniels on the rocks.
Bold-faced names: 3 out of 5
Swankiness: 3.5 out of 5
Exclusivity: 3.5 out of 5
Food and drink: 3 out of 5
Overall: 13 out of 20