Jake Tapper Honored at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

While celebrities join Washington’s media and political elite for the Annual White House Correspondents dinner, the stated purpose of the dinner is to honor the great work of Washington’s best reporters.

This year, ABC White House Correspondent Jake Tapper will receive the Merriman Smith award for “excellence in presidential coverage under pressure” in the broadcasting category.  Tapper was chosen for breaking the news that “rating agency Standard & Poor’s was on the verge of downgrading America’s triple-A credit rating because of concerns over political gridlock in Washington.”

In the print category, Politico’s Glenn Thrush, Carrie Budoff Brown, Manu Raju and John Bresnahan won for their reporting on the deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.

The award “recognizes presidential news coverage under deadline pressure,” comes with a $2,500 prize and will be presented at the April 28th dinner.

Check out a clip from Tapper’s recent ABC interview he scored with President Clinton:

David Chalian moves to Yahoo News as Washington Bureau Chief

Hilary Rosen, Jo Dee Winterhoff, Campbell Spencer and David Chalian

PBS Newhour’s political editor, David Chalian, is moving to Yahoo News as their Washington bureau chief.  This is a big move for Yahoo heading into the 2012 election, having just announced a partnership with ABC News (which is where Chalian won an Emmy for producing President Obama’s inauguration).

Read the full story from Yahoo here.

ABC Wins Stars for WHCD

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos and Alexandra Wentworth at CURE Epilepsy NYC 2010 Event

There will be plenty of laughs and camera flashes over at ABC News’ tables at the annual White House Correspondents’ dinner. “Modern Family” favorites Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson will be joined by “Glee’s” Jane Lynch, actor Paul Rudd from “40 Year Old Virgin” and “Anchorman,” and actor/new mom Elizabeth Banks seen recently on “30 Rock.” ESPN’s Erin Andrews will also be at the main event.

Top management will be in town, including Disney President & CEO Bob Iger who will be joined by wife Willow Bay, Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney, ABC News President Ben Sherwood, and ABC Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief Robin Sproul.

Returning to DC for the weekend will be George Stephanopoulos and wife Alexandra Wentworth. They’ll get to catch up with senior correspondents Martha Raddatz, Jake Tapper, Terry Moran, and Jonathan Karl. Rounding out the team will be Political Director Amy Walter and Senior Washington Editor Rick Klein.

ABC will be bringing plenty of political star power as well. Guests include:
White House Chief of Staff William Daley & Bernie Daley
Tom Donilon (National Security Advisor to the President) & Cathy Russell (Chief of Staff to Jill Biden)
White House Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard
Senator Marco Rubio & Jeanette Rubio
Attorney General Eric Holder & Dr. Sharon Malone
Admiral Mike Mullen & Deborah Mullen
Senator Amy Klobuchar & John Bessler
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall (National Security Council) & Dr. Jeffrey Randall
Ambassador Salem Al-Sabah & Rima Al-Sabah
Former Secretary of Commerce and new US Ambassador to China Gary Locke & Mona Locke
Senator Mark Kirk
Amy Rule, wife of Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel

Barbara Walters producer to Piers Morgan

Katie Thomson with Nicholas Kristof at Goldman Sachs Reception in NYC, September 2010

Katie Thomson, one of ABC News‘ top producers is named Senior Broadcast Producer for “Piers Morgan Tonight.” Here is an excerpt from the CNN press release:

Thomson joins CNN from ABC News where she spent 15 years working primarily with legendary journalist Barbara Walters, delivering and producing award-winning interviews for 20/20 and The Barbara Walters Specials.  She has produced interviews with the last four presidents, celebrities, and top newsmakers of the day including Barbara Walters’ interview with Monica Lewinsky which was seen by more than 70 million viewers and was the highest-rated news event ever broadcast by a single network.

“I’m thrilled Katie Thomson is joining the Piers Morgan Tonight team. She brings unmatched experience and leadership in the booking and producing of big-name interviews and she will be instrumental in helping lead a talented team of bookers and producers,” said Jonathan Wald, executive producer of Piers Morgan Tonight.

To read the full press release go here.

Ben Sherwood Back at ABC News

He’s written the great American novel, had it turned into a movie (starring heartthrob Zac Efron, no less). So what do you do now, award-winning journalist, bestselling author and digital media entrepreneur Ben Sherwood?

Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group can tell you: Sherwood’s the new president of ABC News, responsible for all editorial, programming and digital aspects of all ABC News programs on the ABC Television Network, ABC News Radio, ABC News.com and ABC News NOW.

It’ll be a return trip home, although no longer sitting at the kid’s table. Sherwood was previously an investigative producer on ABC’s “PrimeTime Live”, and then Executive Producer of “Good Morning America” from 2004-2006 until he left to concentrate on his writing career. He’s publishedThe Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud (2004) or “Charlie St. Cloud” known to moviegoers, and The Man Who Ate the 747 (2000) which is being developed into a motion picture and Broadway Musical.

Sounds like Sherwood is whistling a happy tune, according to the official Disney/ABC press release Sherwood says: “It’s a great honor and privilege to be asked to lead this amazing news organization and I am humbled by the opportunity. For more than 20 years, I’ve known firsthand of the passion, excellence and integrity of the people who work for ABC News. I am thrilled to be coming back home, and look forward to harnessing our innovation and creativity to build on our great history of success.”

Sherwood is taking over for David Westin who announced in September he was stepping down after thirteen years.

WHC Insider Interview with Jake Tapper

ABC News’ Jake Tapper has plenty to smile about at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

Aside from snagging the “it” political guest – Scott Brown, the new Senator from Massachusetts – Tapper will be going home with the Merriman Smith Award for presidential coverage under deadline pressure in the broadcast category.

Tapper spoke with WHC Insider’s Tammy Haddad at the White House about his penchant for Twitter, and keeping his prestigious journalism award out of the reach of his two young children.

WHC Insider Interview with Jake Tapper, ABC News from whcinsider on Vimeo.

Dishing on WHCA Dinner

WHC Insider’s Tammy Haddad sat down with ABC News’ David Chalian and Rick Klein on the ABCNews.com show “Top Line” to chat about the evolution of the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner into an all-out weekend event – including the annual brunch she co-hosts on Saturday morning.

In a town where politicians and notable folks tend to avoid the press, it’s one of the few times when the invitation bearing, ticket holding, media is suddenly in demand:
“This is the only time they call us and beg…. This is the only time where everyone has to stand in line together.”

Inside the ABC News Booth at the White House

Inside the ABC News Booth at the White House from whcinsider on Vimeo.

The glamour that is associated with being a White House correspondent, and the glitz of the premiere political beat, wears off pretty quickly once you’re actually inside the cramped and sometimes clammy work spaces where the press corps spends its days and often its evenings and nights.

ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jake Tapper gave WHCInsider a tour of the press set up and operations inside the West Wing.

Check out our earlier story on the renovation of the White House Briefing Room.

Basic Black and a Cool Eye for the WHC After-Parties

cox-on-top-thumbThe original Wonkette Ana Marie Cox, now of the TheDailyBeast and Air America and author of a provocative piece about the White House press corps, talks with ABCNews’ Web anchor and noted author Rick Klein about what to wear for Saturday night’s WHCD and handicaps chances of getting into different after parties.

WHCInsider Exclusive: ABC News' Guest List for White House Correspondents Dinner

Bon Jovi, Kate Walsh, Taye Diggs, Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Meghan McCain, Antonin Scalia and More

ABC News will have its share of political and entertainment stars at its tables:

6th Annual Can-Do Awards

David Axelrod, White House senior advisor, and his wife Susan Axelrod
Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff
Peter Orszag, Director, Office of Management and Budget
Valerie Jarrett, senior presidential advisor
Jackie Norris, First Lady’s Chief of Staff
Leon Panetta, CIA Director
Susan Rice, UN Ambassador
Justice Antonin Scalia
Meghan McCain
Jon and Dorothea Bon Jovi
Kate Walsh
Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel