Relationships between politicians and the media who cover them are constantly being highlighted, but on Tuesday, Sept. 26, in the National Press Club’s historic ballroom, fun and friendly competition will prevail as lawmakers and reporters compete in the Press vs. Politicians Spelling Bee.
Confirmed contestants representing the Politicians Team are Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va), Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md).
Those confirmed in the press corner are 2016 champion Art Swift (Gallup), Alexandra Petri (The Washington Post), Molly Ball (The Atlantic), Ben Jacobs (The Guardian) and Seung Min Kim (Politico).
The Bee will be emceed by Clinton Yates (ESPN’s The Undefeated) and Kelsey Snell (The Washington Post). Dr. Jacques Bailly, the Scripps National Spelling Bee’s official pronouncer and 1980 winner of their competition, will officiate. Ananya Vinay, champion of the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee, will serve as the guest judge for the event.
To start the show, Vinay will challenge 2016 Press Club Spelling Bee champion Swift in a one-on-one spelling match.
Beyer will return this year hoping to reclaim his 2015 championship title, and an intensely competitive Washington press corps is defending its 2016 victory, the first-ever in the history of the event.
The first such event was held in 1913, with newly elected President Woodrow Wilson in the audience for the inaugural showdown, which was won by members of the House and Senate. The Press vs. Politicians Spelling Bee was reinstituted on its 100th anniversary in 2013 and has become a Washington tradition since. Politicians have beaten the Press two out of the last three years.
Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the Bee will start at 7:15 p.m.
Tickets are available at www.press.org/spelling-bee. Proceeds from the event support the activities of the Club’s nonprofit Journalism Institute, which defends press freedom worldwide, provides training for news professionals, and scholarships for the next generation of journalists.