The mix of glitz and government on the White House Correspondents Association dinner weekend can overshadow the purpose of the event: journalism.
On the eve of the annual dinner, Variety teamed with The Washington Post, SAG-AFTRA and the SAG-AFTRA Foundation for a Celebration of Journalism, held at the Post’s new headquarters in downtown D.C.
Members of the real-life Boston Globe Spotlight team from “Spotlight” — including Michael Rezendes and Walter “Robby” Robinson — were among those attending. This year’s best picture Oscar winner, which chronicled their investigative reporting that exposed the Boston archdiocese coverup of clergy sexual abuse, continues to soak up acclaim.
Surrounded by admirers, Robinson says he speaks an average of twice a week about the power of investigative journalism. “It’s really heartening,” he said. “The interest just continues.” “Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy and screenwriter Josh Singer are expected in town on Saturday to attend the dinner.
Among those at the event were Nina Totenberg, “The West Wing” alums Dule Hill, Allison Janney and Lawrence O’Donnell; SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris; “The Big Chill” alums Jeff Goldblum and JoBeth Williams; CNN’s Brian Stelter; Dan Balz, Chad Griffin, Hilary Rosen, Constance Zimmer, Cenk Uygur, Amy Dacey, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Nina Lederman.
Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan was joined by the Post’s Jason Rezaian, released in January after spending 18 months in an Iranian prison. Last year, many journalists were wearing “Free Jason” buttons at the dinner and surrounding events, calling attention to his captivity.