National Press Club's 90th Bash

By Means, Paul C. | Insight on the News, May 4, 1998 | Go to article overview

National Press Club's 90th Bash


Means, Paul C., Insight on the News


What began as a whim to give reporters a place of their own has blossomed into the world's premier media organization, catering to both the press and presidents.

The 90th birthday of the National Press Club, April 3, begins much as any day in the club's recent history Sunrise-pink clouds dot a blue sky, resembling the Japanese cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin six blocks away.

Early-morning deliveries of pastries and newspapers are made as usual to the club on the 13th and 14th floors of the National Press Building at 14th and F streets.

Early risers pedal stationary bicycles and lift weights in the club's gym, an activity that would have been unimaginable to reporters 90 years ago. Others are giving the morning papers a read over coffee, juice, rolls and fruit in the club's Fourth Estate dining room.

Representatives of trade and special-interest groups stack their news releases on tables outside rented meeting rooms, preparing for news conferences scheduled to inform reporters -- and their readers and listeners -- about a myriad of issues.

At 9 a.m., club activities begin. The library, a godsend to freelance reporters and small news bureaus without their own

reference centers, opens its 21 computer stations connected to the Internet and major computer reference services. Retired members browse in the reading room among U.S. and foreign newspapers, magazines, newsletters and professional journals. Other members, in need of specific information, seek help at the reference desk.

A press-club morning newsmaker, Zurab Zhavania, chairman of the parliament of the Republic of Georgia, discusses with reporters the current situation in the Caucasus, including the recent attack on President Eduard Shevardnadze.

At another morning-newsmaker program, 95-year-old GOP Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina notes, "Two Washington institutions have been around to witness most of the events that define the American experience of the 20th century: Myself and the National Press Club." He promises to be around for the club's centennial celebration, when he will be 105.

A morning panel discusses the current state of the press: "Chasing the truth at any speed -- getting it first and getting it right." Senior Washington correspondents including Charles McDowell of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Frank Sesno of CNN and moderator Marvin Kalb of Harvard University focus on issues facing news media, including how fairly to report the alleged escapades of President Clinton.

At 11 a.m. the Reliable Source bar opens, serving more chablis and Perrier than hard liquor in these health-conscious nineties.

The club's luncheon speaker, retired CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, a member of the club for almost a half-century and first recipient of its prestigious Fourth Estate Award, warns members and those listening on C-Span, National Public Radio and other networks, against buyouts in the news business and overemphasis on stockholder profits. Cronkite laments that few organizations have foreign bureaus anymore, which he believes is dangerous. "We must tether the auditors," Cronkite says, "and free the editors."

In a small room on the 14th floor, members are engaged in two activities which have been a part of the press club's life since its first day. The Friday afternoon small-stakes poker game begins, gin-rummy players deal the cards, and at the nearby pool table the balls roll and click.

As evening arrives on this anniversary, more than 1,000 members and guests arrive for the birthday celebration, including two representing speakers at the original open house in 1908 -- Japanese Ambassador Kunihiko Saito and a "Buffalo Bill" Cody look-alike.

It was tough to be a newsman when the club was founded -- yes, there were women in the business back then, if not in the club, including some of the most famous and best paid. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

National Press Club's 90th Bash
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.