Buzzfeed’s alternative WHCD party strategy — skip the dinner — pays off

April 28, 2013

Even amid an orgiastic glut of White House Correspondents’ parties, it turned out there was marketspace for even more, as the wild crowds at Buzzfeed’s first-ever WHCD party proved Saturday night.

But credit the six-year-old social-driven news site for finding a unique niche in the party-hopping circuit: Instead a party before or after the big dinner with the president, Buzzfeed skipped the gala and threw a rival bash at the same time, blocks away at an Adams-Morgan bar.

Lines formed early outside the Jack Rose saloon — mostly 40-and-under media/political gadflies without the pull to get a dinner ticket — with a few crafty individuals sneaking through the kitchen door to ensure a spot inside.

 

How it was like the WHCA dinner:The crowd shmoozed noisily all night, barely hushing their voices when the founder of Buzzfeed took the mic for a few words.

How it was different: People danced!

When it announced the party, Buzzfeed implied that it had been rebuffed from the official dinner; WHCA officials said that the news site didn’t attempt to buy a table until days after all the seats had been sold and distributed. If they wanted to get attention on the party scene, the counter-programming strategy seemed to work. As the crowds surged, attempts to cordon off areas of special access broke down; an upstairs floor was opened to all parties, creating some space to move on the downstairs dance floor.  Oh, was this supposed to be a viewing party?: As the president took the podium on C-SPAN, very few heads were pointed towards the screen.

Best of WHCD photos, tweets and breaking news on “The Grid”

Recap of the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Full party coverage on The Reliable Source

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Mark Berman · April 27, 2013