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The White House Correspondents Association Dinner

Inside the Washington Beltway the White House Correspondents Association Dinner is a big deal. It's called "the prom" by some, the "nerd prom" by others. Here's what it's all about.

Each year (2011's was on April 30), the White House Correspondents Association, (which is exactly what it sounds like, a group of reporters who cover the White House,) sponsors a dinner at the Washington Hilton. About 2,500 people attend.

The dinner raises money for scholarships and gives awards to journalists.  It is attended by reporters, editors, publishers, news executives and often, but not always,  the President of the United States. Since it is a fundraiser, news organizations purchase seats and invite guests. The dinner is telecast by C-SPAN.

The tradition started in the 1920s. It used to be that the news organizations would invite people they wanted to impress--advertisers, reporters' sources, etc.  That started to change in the late 1980s, when...

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