A Kiss Before Flying. Jane Velez-Mitchell Has No ‘Issues’ at NLGJA Fundraiser

By Chris Ariens Comment

Actual news got in the way of last night’s annual New York fundraiser for the journalism group NLGJA. Soledad O’Brien, who was to co-host with her HLN colleague Jane Velez-Mitchell, couldn’t as she moderated CNN’s Trayvon Martin town hall which airs tonight.

Don Lemon jetted up from Atlanta to co-host with Velez-Mitchell, who mixed and mingled before making a beeline for Time Warner Center herself to participate in the town hall.

Velez-Mitchell made the biggest splash of the night when, during her welcome remarks to the crowd, she pulled her girlfriend on stage and planted a big kiss on her. “I won’t be doing that!” Lemon joked. “Ben doesn’t like that kind of thing,” he said glancing over to his partner, Ben Tinker, who is a producer in CNN’s medical unit.

CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker talked about his network’s commitment to diversity in the ranks and on the air. CNN was the lead sponsor for the event which was held at the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams showroom in SoHo.

Also spotted in the crowd: NBC News VP Alex Wallace, former “Today” show co-anchor Meredith Vieira, “CBS This Morning” co-host Erica Hill, MSNBC’s Willie Geist, former MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer and Fox News meteorologist Rick Reichmuth.

We chatted with FBN’s Gerri Willis who told us she has a new appreciation for the work of the Supreme Court after anchoring her show from Washington during oral arguments on the health care law. We also caught up with Fox News’s Alisyn Camerota and new Fox News political analyst Sally Kohn, who is settling in to her role as progressive pundit both on air and online, which

includes dealing with the strident — but kind — email she receives from Fox News loyalists. Kohn — who does not come from the traditional democratic political machine, but rather from a background in community organizing — says her old friends keep her honest about her Fox News appearances.

We also spotted FBN’s Melissa Francis chatting up her old CNBC colleague Carl Quintanilla who was here with his wife Judy, a former CNBC producer-turned-architect. (See kids, there is life after TV news.) Also, CNBC’s Mandy Drury, looking forward to some R&R next week, far from Wall Street; MSNBC’s Tamron Hall and  Thomas Roberts, who bought tickets to the event for his MSNBC producing team; Jeanne Moos from CNN, former MSNBC anchor Jodi Applegate, now with WPIX, MSNBC regular Jonathan Capeheart and CNN regulars LZ Granderson and Will Cain.

350 people attended the event and more than $100,000 was raised for NLGJA programs and scholarships

CNN's Don Lemon, HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell and girlfriend Donna

FBN's Melissa Francis, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer and Tamron Hall

CBS's Erica Hill flanked by MSNBC's Willie Geist and Thomas Roberts

Fox News's Sally Kohn and Alisyn Camerota

CNN's Mark Whitaker, NBC's Meredith Vieira and host Mitchell Gold

CNBC's Mandy Drury

(Photos: Darren Gantt/NLGJA)