NBC News’ Kristen Welker to accept 2023 National Press Club Fourth Estate Award

Kristen Welker (Photo courtesy of NBC News)

Kristen Welker, NBC News chief White House correspondent and incoming moderator of “Meet the Press,” will receive the National Press Club’s Fourth Estate Award during a gala in her honor on Nov. 28 in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes journalists who have made significant contributions to the field and is the Club’s most esteemed prize.

Welker, who on Saturday appeared on her final broadcast as co-anchor of “Weekend TODAY”, is known for her political reporting, which has appeared across all NBC News and MSNBC platforms, including “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt,” “TODAY,” “Meet the Press,” and NBCNews.com. She will be the second woman and the first Black journalist to moderate “Meet the Press.”

The Fourth Estate is the top honor bestowed on a journalist by the National Press Club Board of Governors. Previous winners include: Christiane Amanpour, Dean Baquet, Marty Baron, Wolf Blitzer, Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, Lester Holt, Gwen Ifill, Andrea Mitchell, Clarissa Ward, and Susan Zirinsky.

“Kristen’s coverage of the White House and Washington through multiple administrations consistently demonstrates her skill, integrity, and dedication to high journalism standards. Her reporting commands our attention, just as her moderation skills command a debate stage,” said Eileen Drage O’Reilly, president of the National Press Club. “Kristen embodies the values we celebrate with this award and is a fantastic role model for journalists worldwide. We are thrilled to honor her and celebrate her role as incoming moderator of ‘Meet The Press.’ ”

This year’s Fourth Estate gala will also commemorate a Club milestone: The Fourth Estate Award is now in its 50th year. The gala will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. ET followed by dinner and the awards program starting at 7 p.m. at the National Press Club. Tickets for the gala are $175 for National Press Club members, and $350 for members of the public. Tickets can be purchased here.

The evening also will honor the winners of the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Awards: Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been detained in Russia since March 29 and is falsely accused of espionage, and Iranian journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, who are currently in prison awaiting sentencing on charges related to national security, which can carry a death sentence.

Kat Stafford of the Associated Press, the winner of the Neil and Susan Sheehan Award for Investigative Journalism, will also be honored on Nov. 28.

The gala is a fundraiser for the Club’s nonprofit affiliate, the National Press Club Journalism Institute. The Institute provides training that equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public, advocates for press freedom, provides career support for journalists, and provides scholarships to aspiring journalists.

For information on sponsorship opportunities, please click here or email Beth Francesco, executive director of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, at [email protected].

About Kristen Welker

Starting Sept. 17, Welker will become the 13th moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the longest-running show on television. She will be the second woman to moderate the program and the first journalist of color to moderate a Sunday public affairs broadcast.

Welker joined “Weekend TODAY” as co-anchor in January 2020 and began covering the White House for NBC News in December 2011, traveling domestically and internationally with President Barack Obama, then-First Lady Michelle Obama, and then-Vice President Joe Biden. Welker also covered President Donald Trump’s administration, the 2020 presidential race, and is currently leading the network’s coverage of all aspects of the Biden administration.

During the 2020 general presidential election, Welker moderated the final presidential debate between Trump and Biden on Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Welker received universal praise for her performance, and USA TODAY wrote that she was “praised for ‘masterclass’ debate moderation.” In November 2019, Welker co-moderated the fifth Democratic presidential debate hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, GA alongside Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, and Ashley Parker of The Washington Post.

During the 2016 presidential election, Welker reported from the trail covering former Sec. Hillary Clinton’s campaign. She broke the exclusive that Biden decided not to run for office that cycle.

Prior to the White House beat, Welker was a network correspondent based in Burbank, California, joining NBC News in 2010. During her first year at the network, Welker was nominated for a national Emmy Award for her role in NBC News’ midterm election coverage. She won a national Emmy Award for her role in NBC News’ coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Welker was also a researcher on “Weekend TODAY” early in her career and an intern for “TODAY” while in college.

Welker previously worked at WCAU-TV, NBC’s Philadelphia-owned and -operated station, where she anchored the NBC 10 weekend newscasts and started as a general assignment

reporter in April 2005. She also previously worked at WLNE-TV in Providence, Rhode Island, and KRCR-TV in Redding, California.

Welker, a native of Philadelphia, graduated cum laude from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in American history. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, John Hughes, and daughter, Margot Lane.

About the National Press Club

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major journalism organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and around the world.

About the National Press Club Journalism Institute

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press, and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy. As the nonprofit affiliate of the National Press Club, the Institute powers journalism in the public interest.

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