Uh Oh! More Tension at National Press Club

As Washington moves into one of its quietest times of the year, the National Press Club is chock full of friction.

As controversy swirls around suspended member Sam Husseini, NPC elections are underway and slated for for Dec. 9 and the Young Members candidates are latching onto and taking strong stands. A group of young members calling itself “Let’s Press Ahead” is supporting Husseini by condemning his suspension “in the strongest of terms.” They insist journalists are “professional antagonists” and stress the importance of “asking tough questions.”

There is also some confusion about rules. Late last week, Sarahanne Driggs, Director of Membership Retention, dispatched a letter to members about a Meet and Greet on Nov. 21 — an evening described as an opportunity to meet Young Member Candidates and listen to “spirited discussion” about their platforms. Members of the “Let’s Press Ahead” campaign aim to “make a positive difference …especially during these challenging and changing times in our profession.” In her email, Driggs said members would get a chance to hear from those running on the “Let’s Press Ahead” ticket on their vision for the Club’s future.

Driggs’ note also mentioned Sherlock Holmes Night on Dec. 7, an evening of costume contests, Holmesian decor and cuisine. This is where things get dicey. NPC Executive Director William McCarren sent out a subsequent email explaining that there will be no “formal” program involving the candidates. He stressed that social events and committee funds are not to be used for campaign purposes. He insisted that Sherlock Holmes Night will not involve any candidates forum.

Read the two letters from Driggs and McCarren after the jump…


From Sarahanne Driggs:

Young Members,

On Monday, November 21, stop by the Truman Lounge to meet your fellow Young Member Candidates for food and drinks. Join the Young Member’s Committee for a spirited discussion with YM candidates running for NPC office on the Let’s Press Ahead ticket. The event will be hosted by Clothilde Le Coz, Vice-Chair of the Young Members Committee. Candidates from the Committee—Tim Young, Justin Duckham, Bill Murphy, Jamila Bey, Ben Dooley and Emily Whitten–will be on hand to discuss the campaign and share their vision for the Club’s future, including developing a new media strategy and increasing membership value. A selection of delicious appetizers will be provided.

For more information about the candidates endorsed by the Young Member’s Committee, please visit:www.letspressahead.com or the group Let’s Press Ahead on Facebook. And, mark your calendars for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows on the evening of December 7, 2011. The event will include: Holmesian décor, music, and menu a Victorian and Sherlock Holmes costume contest a mystery scavenger hunt a themed fundraising raffle for our non-profit journalism library dinner and a showing of the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie and more!

Lastly, Pub Quiz is on December 16th!


To:       YOUNG members
From:  The Office of the Executive Director

Congratulations to all who put together the Sherlock Holmes event that is upcoming for this Monday evening and for which you just received a note from Sarah Driggs. It looks like great fun and a good time will surely be had by all. However, in her haste the note Sarah sent included information that the event would have a kind of formal program related to the elections or the various slates of candidates. That will not be happening as Committee Social events and committee funds are not to be used for campaign purposes as I am sure you understand. After all how would it be if the Speakers Committee started booking our Presidential Candidates on C-SPAN! Anyway, have fun, discuss what you will but do not come expecting a political program as it will not be happening as advertised.  Sorry for the confusion. Have good weekends all!

Bill McCarren