Tag Archives: White House Correspondents Association

Merrill College Raising Money To Build Unique Record of U.S. Presidency

The University of Maryland will host the White House Correspondents' Association Pool Reports Collection.

The University of Maryland will host the White House Correspondents’ Association Pool Reports Collection.

WASHINGTON (10/10/18) — The University of Maryland, the White House Correspondents’ Association and the Freedom Forum Institute celebrated the start of a partnership Tuesday that will bring a permanent digital archive of White House correspondents’ pool reports to the university.

The White House Correspondents’ Association Pool Reports Collection — a unique record of the United States presidency — will be available online. It will consist of the reports written every day by members of the White House press corps on the activities of the president.

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism, College of Information Studies and University Libraries are collaborating to digitize and host the collection, provided by the correspondents’ association. The Freedom Forum Institute will work with Merrill College to develop educational programming related to the collection.

“Making this publicly available and making this searchable is important,” said Olivier Knox, president of the correspondents’ association. “It would be good for the public to get a better sense of what we do in the White House press corps.”

University faculty and staff, past and present White House correspondents and other journalists gathered at the Newseum Tuesday evening to formally launch the partnership.

The university is raising money to help pay the cost of digitizing the pool reports and making them searchable for researchers, journalists, students and the public at large. The university is also asking former correspondents to contribute any pool reports in their possession.

“We welcome whatever documents you have in your email, in your garage, in an old filing cabinet in the office,” Merrill College Dean Lucy A. Dalglish said.

If you have questions about the project of have material to contribute, please email WHCAarchive@umd.edu. To make a gift, click here.

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles

University of Maryland Partners with White House Correspondents’ Association to Host Presidential Pool Reports Collection

McKeldin Mall at the University of Maryland.

McKeldin Mall at the University of Maryland.

COLLEGE PARK (4/5/18) — The White House Correspondents’ Association and the University of Maryland are pleased to announce the creation of a unique new window into the world of the president and the press — a permanent and ongoing digital, searchable archive of presidential pool reports produced by White House correspondents.

The White House Correspondents’ Association Pool Reports Collection will be kept at the university and available online. It will consist of the reports written every day by members of the White House press corps on the activities of the president.

“This collection will be of invaluable help to scholars far and wide. A grand slam idea,” said Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and CNN presidential historian.

The presidential pool reports are produced by journalists who are part of a small group that covers the president — in the White House, at events, in the motorcade and on Air Force One — when it is not possible for the entire press corps to be present. Their written pool reports are disseminated to the rest of the press corps, once on paper, now digitally.

“The WHCA release of pool reports provides a valuable window into presidential history,” said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian and biographer. “These are the kind of contemporary materials that are treasured by historians.”

“This collection of pool reports will be an essential tool to historians of modern American politics,” said Julian E. Zelizer, the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Zelizer is also a CNN political analyst and co-host of “Politics and Polls.”

“It will also provide an important, archivally based window into the relationship between the presidents and the press, a subject that is gaining more attention in recent years,” he said.

The collection will be produced through a partnership including the WHCA, the University of Maryland — including the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, the University Libraries and the College of Information Studies — and the Newseum Institute.

“WHCA is proud to launch this historically significant project with our host, the University of Maryland,” said Margaret Talev (’94), the president of the association and Senior White House Correspondent for Bloomberg. “We thank the many journalists, historians and academics at institutions throughout the country for their input in furnishing the raw work and the vision for how this resource can serve the public. It’s a massive undertaking and we welcome support from organizations and individuals that would like to get involved.”

The WHCA sought to create the collection as part of its mission to ensure a strong free press and robust coverage of the presidency. At the same time, the partnership will develop educational and scholarly programs and publications based on the collection and presidential access and coverage.

“The University of Maryland is honored to have the opportunity to steward this valuable archive and research tool, a unique record of the U.S. presidency,” said Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the Merrill College. “We’re proud to make it available to the public and to scholars around the world.”

The collection will complement materials at the University of Maryland Libraries that document the history of radio and television broadcasting, including the Library of American Broadcasting and the National Public Broadcasting Archives.

“Archiving information and making it publicly available is not only essential to accessibility and transparency in current times, but also to the accuracy of how events are remembered in the future,” said Keith Marzullo, dean of the College of Information Studies.

Dalglish said a kickoff event is scheduled for Oct. 9 at the Newseum, where guests — including current and former White House correspondents — will be invited to celebrate the collection and share old pool reports in their possession, “whether they’re stored digitally or in boxes in basements.”

Work will begin this year and the archive is expected to be stood up over the next two years.

Gene Policinski, president and chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute, said the Newseum is honored to partner in preserving the reports.

“Journalism is known as a ‘first draft of history,’” Policinski said. “This WHCA material is literally the first drafts of such first drafts.”

About the WHCA:

The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) represents the hundreds of journalists who cover the White House. Its mission is to ensure a strong free press and robust coverage of the presidency by advocating for access to the president, White House events and administration officials. We also work to encourage new generations of White House correspondents through our college scholarship program.

About the University of Maryland:

The University of Maryland, College Park is the state’s flagship university and one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. Its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 60 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit http://www.umd.edu/.

About the Newseum Institute:

The Newseum Institute, headquartered in Washington, is the education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. The Institute includes the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center and NewseumED, an online learning platform for teachers and students. The Institute regularly hosts compelling programs that engage in the central debates of our time, including the role of a free press in a democracy, ongoing threats to journalists, and the significance of religious freedom in a pluralistic society.

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles

The WHCA Dinner: An Incredibly Humbling Experience

WHCA Scholarship winner Becca King '17 with Dean Lucy Dalglish.

Becca King with Dean Lucy Dalglish.

By Becca King ’18

I think it’s very safe to say that Saturday night was one of my most incredible experiences, and I am so grateful to the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the White House Correspondents’ Association for the opportunity of a lifetime. I can honestly say I am still starstruck that I was able to shake hands and talk with CBS Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett, someone I have consistently watched and idolized.

From the beginning, we all knew this year would be a bit different from previous ones, and it was. But the night was truly a celebration of the First Amendment, the truth, and everything that journalism stands for. It was a chance to really reflect on why we all do what we do everyday. It isn’t an easy job, but sitting in that ballroom, it was evident that everyone is incredibly passionate about this field. That makes me so excited to be a part of this profession.


Becca on Live TV being congratulated for her scholarship. Screenshot courtesy of C-Span.

Becca on Live TV being congratulated for her scholarship. Screenshot courtesy of C-Span.


As a scholarship recipient, I had the honor to meet with the White House Correspondents’ Association Board and so many other dedicated journalists. I got to know other scholarship winners from across the country as well as my mentor, Jacqueline Alemany, a White House reporter for CBS News. Standing on stage in front of the packed ballroom, hearing my name announced, and then shaking hands with THE Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein was nerve-wracking and surreal but also an incredibly humbling experience.

I walked away from last night feeling extremely blessed, but also incredibly excited and driven to take on the world of journalism. I think Hasan Minhaji put it best: “Thank you to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein for inspiring a generation of journalists, and thank you to Donald Trump for inspiring the next.”

Read the WTOP article about all the WHCA scholarship winners.

About the WHCA Scholarship

The scholarship is given to honor the memory of Frank R. Cormier, WHCA president in 1967, who for two decades exemplified the best qualities of White House correspondents in his crisp dispatches for the Associated Press. An annual award of $20,000 is divided among four students at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. The other Merrill student scholarship winners include Simone Thomas ’17, Naomi Harris ’17, and Simret Aklilu ’19.


Becca was joined by four other Merrill College students at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner – including Michael Stern, Danielle Ohl, Tali Richman, and Ellie Silverman.







White House Correspondent’s Dinner: “I Needed to Pinch Myself”

Editor’s Note: Merrill Journalist Naomi Harris ’17, was honored (with other scholars winners) Saturday night (April 25) during the White House Correspondent’s Association dinner as the winner of the $17,000 Frank Cormier scholarship. Naomi says she hopes to become a foreign correspondent some day and is interested in producing documentaries focused on international issues of women and equality.

We asked her to write a brief narrative about her experience:

By Naomi Harris ’17

Naomi Harris with the Obamas.

Naomi with President and Mrs. Obama at the White House Correspondent’s Association dinner April 25.

In a room full of long gowns, crisp tuxedos and big smiles, it did not come as a shock that I needed to pinch myself. I never thought accepting such a gracious scholarship from the White House Correspondent’s Association would lead me to a ballroom with celebrities, politicians and journalists for the 2015 dinner.

But this past Saturday I had the great opportunity of introducing myself to some incredible people and meeting the Obamas. The night was full of laughter and a rare but pleasant atmosphere shared between the administration and the press. Christi Parsons, the president of the association, reminded all of us it is incredibly important to maintain access in order to inform the public as much as possible about the current news of the White House.

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Thomas: White House Correspondents’ Dinner Brought Dreams to Life

By Simone Thomas

White House Correspondents Association Dinner honors Merrill Journalist Simone Thomas. She's standing next to First Lady Michelle Obama.

Merrill College of Journalism freshman Simone Thomas is smiling next to First Lady Michelle Obama in this photo by J. M. Eddins, Jr.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. –  My time at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner still seems surreal when I look back on the experience. It felt like a moment that brought some of my many dreams to life.

Meeting President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made me emotional because I was in the presence of people who I admire greatly, but never expected to meet in my lifetime. It was an honor to be invited and recognized as a scholarship recipient, but it was an even greater honor to be in the presence of the First Family and share a precious personal moment with them.

It was also really meaningful to be in the same room as prominent journalists who I revere and look up to as inspiration. Seeing actors who I watch on television but never thought to ever personally see gave me much excitement as well.

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