SMPA students to attend White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner

Some students in the School of Media and Public Affairs will be able to rub elbows with journalists, celebrities and political elites next month at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

CNN selected SMPA to send a “limited” number of students to the event as guests of the network, according to the school’s email newsletter sent out Sunday.

CNN announced last month that it would make journalism students its guests at the dinner this year, rather than government officials or celebrities who are traditionally invited, according to Politico.

“We feel there is no better way to underscore our commitment to the health and longevity of a free press than to celebrate its future,” the network said in a statement to Politico. “We stand with the WHCA 100 percent and look forward to being a part of an evening dedicated to funding scholarships and honoring great journalism.”

SMPA undergraduate seniors aged 21 and older have to submit a resume, a paragraph on why the First Amendment matters and a paragraph on why they should attend the dinner by April 3 to be considered for a spot.

Since 2012, SMPA has awarded a $2,500 White House Correspondents’ Association scholarship and a seat at the dinner to a SMPA senior. Beginning with the Class of 2019, a SMPA freshmen has been awarded $10,000 over four years through the program.

SMPA has close ties to CNN and Frank Sesno, the school’s director, was a former Washington Bureau Chief at the network.

The SMPA students will not be joined by President Donald Trump, who tweeted last month that he would not attend the annual dinner amid ongoing conflict among his administration and members of the media.

This year’s dinner is scheduled for April 29.

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