National Press Club

NPC Roasts and Toasts Christiane Amanpour, 2008 Fourth Estate Award Winner

November 24, 2008 | By Jerry Zremski

The 300 people who attended Friday's Fourth Estate Award dinner for Christiane Amanpour of CNN knew they were going to see one of the world's great journalists receive the National Press Club's highest honor -- but they didn't know they were going to see Madeleine Albright do stand-up comedy.

The former secretary of state stole the show at the dinner, regaling the "elites" in the audience and noting that the National Press Club must be anti-American -- because it chose to call itself the National Press Club rather than the American Press Club.

That was just one of countless memorable moments at the dinner, which also featured laugh-a-second roasts by Wolf Blitzer of CNN and Richard Cohen of The Washington Post and a video tribute from broadcasting legend Barbara Walters.

Despite all the hilarity, the purpose of the occasion could have not been more serious. NPC President Sylvia Smith said the Club chose Amanpour because of the example she had set and the ground she had broken during her 25 years at CNN.

"Throughout her career, Christiane has put her life on the line time and again to get the story," Smith said. "What’s more, she’s shattered a glass ceiling. She paved the way for any brave young woman who might have the passion to travel to the world’s danger zones and the talent to bring the stories found there into living rooms worldwide."

For the first time, the dinner served as a fundraiser for the Club's Eric Friedheim National Journalism Library. Thanks to generous donations from CNN, Aviva, Toyota, Harris Corp. and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, the dinner raised nearly $50,000, putting the library on a much more stable financial footing.