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The most elaborate party favor you’ll see this WHCD weekend: a ‘yearbook’ of Washington journos

IJR’s unusual party favor: a mock yearbook. (Emily Heil)

Guests attending the gamut of parties pegged to the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner are likely to hop into their departing Uber cars with more than a slight buzz and the business card from a deputy undersecretary of something.

It’s swag time! The bag of goodies given to departing guests at the annual Friday-night party hosted by Time and People magazines is famously groaning, and this year a party sponsored by Washington Life magazine promises a “surprise guest and swag” (expect restaurant gift certificates among the loot, we’re told).

But the award for most labor-intensive party favor has to go to the viral-news site Independent Journal Review, which created a 50-page hardbound mock yearbook featuring the members of the Washington press corps and White House officials in all their teenage glory. The news site’s staffers spent weeks scouring high-profile journos’ high school libraries and pestering their friends and even mothers to get access to vintage pics, which are laid out in a format familiar to anyone who ever inscribed the phrase “2 cool 2 B 4 gotten” onto a bookplate.

The VIPs attending the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner

The yearbook, which the Independent Journal Review plans to hand out at a Thursday-evening party, is a loving homage to the ultra-insidery feel that is the WHCD: There are senior superlatives (cutest couple? Andrea Mitchell and Alan Greenspan, of course), quotes beneath school photos, and even a letter from the principal of “White House High School,” a.k.a. retired CBS newsman Bob Schieffer. In it, he addresses his band of misfit kids with a nod to the annual dinner’s alternate moniker: “Welcome to the prom!”

Executive editor Michelle Jaconi explained that the startup news company is trying to stand out from the sea of bags stuffed with high-end beauty products and corporate-logo-emblazoned water bottles. “With every project we try to think about what we could do that no one else would do — or could get away with —and this concept just took over our newsroom,” she said.