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National Press Club

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The National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists, based in Washington, DC. 

The club has been a part of Washington life for nearly 100 years. Through its doors have come all of the Presidents of the United States since Theodore Roosevelt, as well as kings and queens, prime ministers, premiers, senators, congressmen, cabinet officials, ambassadors, scholars, entertainers, business leaders, and athletes. Its members have included all of the Presidents of the United States since Warren Harding and most have spoken from the Club's podium.

On March 12, 1908, thirty-two newspapermen met at the Washington Chamber of Commerce to discuss starting a club for journalists. At the meeting they agreed to meet again on March 29, 1908 in the F Street parlor of the Willard Hotel to frame a constitution for the National Press Club.

The Club founders laid down a credo which promised "to promote social enjoyment among the members, to cultivate literary taste, to encourage friendly intercourse among newspapermen and those with whom they were thrown in contact in the pursuit of their vocation, to aid members in distress and to foster the ethical standards of the profession."

With $300 in hand the founding members moved into its first club quarters on the second floor of 1205 F Street NW. By 1909 the Club had outgrown its new quarters and moved above Rhodes Tavern at the corner of 15th and F Streets. Once again the Club outgrew its residence causing a move to the Albee Building (neé Riggs) at 15th and G Streets.

In 1925, then Club president Henry L. Sweinhart, appointed a special building committee to plan for a permanent Club headquarters. A deal was negotiated with the Ebbitt Hotel which allowed the Ebbitt to move to the Albee building and allowing the National Press Club to demolish the hotel to build the National Press Building. The building included retail space and office space intended for Washington news bureaus with the Club occupying the 13th and 14th floors. In order to increase their funding, the National Press Club struck a deal with Fox to build a theatre as part of the building. The National Press Building opened its doors in August of 1927.

During the Great Depression, the building and the Club struggled financially. The Club, however, was on the way to being recognized as one of the world's premier journalistic organizations and managed to find additional funding from wealthy individuals. Regular weekly luncheons for speakers began in 1932 with an appearance by President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Since 1932 the Club has hosted an average of 70 luncheons each year which provides a national forum for Presidents, Prime Ministers, business and cultural leaders, members of the Cabinet and Congress. Over the years, the Club has hosted such newsmakers as Nikita Khrushchev, Madame Chiang Kai Shek, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Charles deGaulle, Boris Yeltsin, Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat, and the Dalai Lama.

Today membership in the club is open to all active journalists, former journalists, government information officers, and to those considered by journalists to be regular news sources.

Speaking at the National Press Club to mark his retirement, CBS commentator Eric Sevareid summed up what the National Press Club means to its members when he called it the "sanctum sanctorum of American journalists."

"It's the Westminster Hall, it's Delphi, it's Mecca," said Sevareid, "the Wailing Wall for everybody in this country having anything to do with the news business; the only hallowed place I know of that's absolutely bursting with irreverence."

Pieces

Caption: Harvey Levin, Credit: NPC
The founder of TMZ, Harvey Levin, talks to the National Press Club about his website, and of the business of celebrity news.

  • Added: Nov 16, 2011
  • Length: 53:56
Caption: Ray LaHood at the National Press Club, Credit: Noel St. John
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood discussed the Jobs Bill, distracted driving and other transportation issues at a National Press Club luncheon o...

  • Added: Oct 17, 2011
  • Length: 01:00:15
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Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, discusses his views for cutting the federal budget during an October 5...

  • Added: Oct 05, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Elon Musk, Credit: NPC
The CEO of SpaceX describes the goals of his company, which is NASA's most important customer.

  • Added: Sep 29, 2011
  • Length: 54:02
Caption: PRX default Piece image
Jobs, the economy and the race for the GOP presidential nomination. These topics and others are talked about during a roundtable discussion featuri...

  • Added: Sep 15, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the National Press Club, Sep. 6, 2011, Credit: Al Teich
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, assessed the state of U.S. security in the 10 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks at a National Pre...

  • Added: Sep 06, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Hilda Solis, Credit: NPC
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis talks to the National Press Club about the Obama Administration's plans to help the nation's economy.

  • Added: Sep 02, 2011
  • Length: 54:03
Caption: Former Gov. Gary Johnson, NM at the National Press Club August 19, 2011, Credit: Noel St. John
Johnson, a 2012 Republican Presidential candidate, spoke at a National Press Club luncheon on August 19th.

  • Added: Aug 23, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Sheila Bair, Credit: NPC
The outgoing FDIC commissioner gives her final speech at the National Press Club. She discusses the financial crisis that occured during her time a...

  • Added: Aug 12, 2011
  • Length: 53:57
Caption: Michele Bachmann, Credit: NPC
The Republican congresswoman and presidential candidate speaks to the National Press Club about the United States's financial concerns and her plan...

  • Added: Aug 02, 2011
  • Length: 54:02
Caption: Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko speaks at a National Press Club luncheon, July 18th, 2011.

  • Added: Jul 21, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
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NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. says human space exploration is not ending and astronaut Mark Kelly downplays rumors he'll follow his wounded...

  • Added: Jul 06, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
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Actor-activist-patriot Gary Sinise announced the formation of The Gary Sinise Foundation at a National Press Club luncheon June 30. The Foundation ...

  • Added: Jul 06, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
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Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft says globalization is "reducing freedom of action of the nation state." Scowcroft spoke at a Natio...

  • Added: Jun 21, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Tom Vilsack, Credit: NPC
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack describes his hopes for his upcoming meeting in Europe with the other G20 agriculture ministers

  • Added: Jun 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:01
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Fox News Commentator and author Juan Williams talked about his experiences as a journalist and commentator at a National Press Club luncheon on May...

  • Added: May 27, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
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What does the death of Osama bin Laden mean to the United States and the Middle East? A National Press Club political roundtable addresses these qu...

  • Added: May 23, 2011
  • Length: 01:48:00
Caption: General James Jones, Credit: NPC
Former National Security Advisor James Jones speaks to the Press Club about challenges facing the United States and the recent military mission tha...

  • Added: May 21, 2011
  • Length: 53:59
Caption: Ted Turner (l) and T. Boone Pickens, Credit: Al Teich
Pickens, the legendary Texas oil man elaborated on the need for cleaner fuel to save our country. Sharing the dais, his fellow billionaire and lar...

  • Added: Apr 23, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
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The national budget is one of the main topics during a political roundtable hosted by Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau Chief Rick Dunham. Other ...

  • Added: Apr 12, 2011
  • Length: 54:00