Celebrating Global Journalism Excellence: Meridian’s Third Annual White House Foreign ‘Press Pass’ Party

A lady standing behind a podium raises her champagne glass while the gentleman behind her raise theirs as well.
Symone Sanders Townsend (MSNBC) and Jim Acosta (CNN) deliver a toast during Meridian’s Third Annual White House Foreign ‘Press Pass’ Party at Meridian House in Washington, DC on April 25, 2024. Photo by Jess Latos.

Through their lenses, foreign correspondents not only shed light on the triumphs and trials of American society but also unveil the rich tapestry of perspectives that define life in the United States. In anticipation of the prestigious White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Meridian partnered with the White House Foreign Press Group (WHFPG) to host the Third Annual White House Foreign ‘Press Pass’ Party on April 25. This dynamic celebration gathered a distinguished audience of foreign diplomats, U.S. government representatives and prominent media figures to honor and celebrate the indispensable role of journalists worldwide in upholding democratic values through a free and open press.  

The evening commenced with a warm welcome address from Meridian’s Chief Executive Officer Ambassador Stuart Holliday, who set the stage for an evening of meaningful discourse and reflection. Jade Shields, Vice President for Corporate Affairs at Ferring Pharmaceuticals, then highlighted journalism’s profound contributions to global dialogue, particularly its power to shape narratives and drive change.  

Richard Latendresse, White House correspondent for TVA and President of the WHFPG, delivered a poignant address that articulated the profound impact and responsibility of journalists in conveying the complexities of American society to global audiences. “We, the White House Foreign Press, have to balance the madness and dynamism of this exceptional [American] society,” he asserted, elucidating the challenges of reporting on sociopolitical issues such as school shootings, racial tensions, and violent protests. Drawing parallels to his extensive coverage of international events, particularly the Olympic Games, he emphasized that, akin to Olympic athletes from diverse backgrounds, White House correspondents bring forth a spirit of solidarity and understanding to their reporting.  

To conclude the evening, Symone Sanders Townsend and Jim Acosta delivered a heartfelt toast to journalism, affirming its enduring relevance in contemporary society and championing truth. 

This celebration is part of Meridian’s ongoing commitment to promoting journalistic excellence and fostering international dialogue. For over 60 years, Meridian has brought journalists from around the world to the U.S. to promote in-depth, accurate, and balanced foreign reporting through our direct access to authoritative American information sources. Through journalism exchanges like the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists, Meridian continues to advance journalism in the digital age, promoting the role of media as a force that can ensure government transparency and emphasizing the importance of press freedom in democratic societies.  

This event was made possible through the support of

              Merck & Co., Inc.           

Project summary

Celebrating Global Journalism Excellence: Meridian’s Third Annual White House Foreign ‘Press Pass’ Party | April 2024
Number of Attendees: 250
Impact Areas: Media and Journalism
Partners: Private Sector