A large crowd of former and current CNNers gathered at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Saturday night to celebrate the network’s thirtieth birthday.
The bash — an unofficial gathering organized by former CNN producer Elissa Free — drew over three hundred people and was emceed by former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw.
“It was a celebration of what we had built,” former CNN correspondent Kelli Arena tells TVNewser. Arena, who started her career at CNN in 1984, said that joining the then-four-year-old network “was a labor of love… There was an energy and an innocence about the place. We brought live to the air things that people had never seen live on the air before.”
CNN founder Ted Turner addressed the group, telling attendees he was proud of what staffers have accomplished. Former CNN president Tom Johnson also spoke.
Current CNNers in attendance included anchor Wolf Blitzer, News Standards and Practices EVP Rick Davis, Political Director Sam Feist, and correspondent Jeanne Meserve.
Former CNNers in the house included Cissy Baker, Ralph Begleiter, Charles Bierbauer, Mike Boettcher, Tony Collings, Roger Cossack, Patty Davis, Bill Dorman, Rusty Dornin, Bob Franken, David French, Frances Hardin, Leon Harris, Sandy Kenyon, Jamie McIntyre, Brooks Jackson, Kathleen Koch, Eileen O’Connor, Chris Plante, Frank Sesno, Mark Shields, Linda Taira, Mary Alice Williams, and Judy Woodruff.
“It was a lot of reminiscing about the little network that could,” Arena said. “There was no griping, no discussion about the current CNN — that’s not why people were there. People were there to celebrate what we had accomplished. It was like a family reunion.”
More photos, after the jump…
(photo by Richard Kolko)