So What Do You Do, Ann Compton, President of the WHCA?


I spoke with ABC’s Ann Compton for’s series “So What Do You Do?” and asked her all sorts of White House Correspondents Questions (oh, guess what: More WHCA guests!), like…

    How do you think Craig Ferguson will walk the delicate line of poking fun of the president? Will he be more polite or prodding?

    I know a lot has been written about how we as journalists try to pick someone who will not offend (Imus was not a WHCA dinner, remember). Truth is I went looking for someone fresh and even outside the box. During the writers’ strike I started TiVo’ing Craig Ferguson on the Late Late Show because believe me I don’t stay up that late. I found him enchanting. And when his producers told me he was about to become a US citizen, that cinched it — who better in this season to feature at the dinner than a first-time, uncommitted voter?

    What do you say to the charges made by some news organizations that the annual dinner has become too cozy, too bloated and too Hollywood-centric?

    Cozy? The old days were cozy, with reporters and campaign advisors drinking late into the night. Bloated? Hey, call it successful. In recent years we haven’t come close to meeting demand for tables, and we are the largest press dinner of the year with 2800 seated guests. And the more Hollywood guests, the more requests for tables the next year. Only regular members who cover the WH, and news organizations which cover Washington and are associate members, can purchase tables. No lobbyists, corporations, foreign governments, or um, blogs.

Read the rest here.