BCA is very excited to announce Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, PEOPLE Magazine’s National Political Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief, as our guest speaker for the July 2017 Hospitality Breakfast.
“You? Again?” joked President George W. Bush, at the threshold of Laura’s puzzle room in the White House residence. “You’re like a bad head cold!” In more than 20 years as a national journalist, Sandra Sobieraj Westfall has been called a lot of names: Sonya; AP girl; Barney-Cam Reporter. And, courtesy of some in Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, “Bitch on the Bus.” (That one you can actually Google.) But the one that charms her almost as much as Bush’s “head cold” comes from a colleague, CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell: “Sandra’s the Barbara Walters of print journalism.”
Since 1997, Sandra Sobieraj Westfall has been a constant in the White House. She was a six-year White House correspondent for The Associated Press whose tenure there was bookended by President Clinton’s impeachment scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks when, in 2003, she moved to PEOPLE Magazine. She has an unparalleled ability to break high-profile interviews and exclusive “gets” with everyone from Presidents and First Ladies to high-profile politicians and headline makers. She believes in helping everyone find their story and the ability to connect through those stories.
Westfall has seen a lot, far beyond the Washington Beltway and Jersey Suburbs such as Michelle and Barack Obama’s Chicago kitchen; Bill Clinton’s private plane to rural China; Sarah Palin’s Wasilla living room for Eskimo bingo after Bristol’s high school graduation; Anthony Weiner’s baby nursery for the disgraced congressman’s first interview since his Twitter scandal; the kitchen of Elin Woods’ rental home on the eve of her divorce from Tiger. And, perhaps most poignantly, Elizabeth Edwards’ bedside.
Westfall’s stories on the pages-and covers-of PEOPLE led the magazine’s parent company, Time Inc., to inaugurate a company-wide Most Valuable Performer award for her in 2011. The White House Correspondents’ Association has also twice given her its Merriman-Smith Award for Excellence in Presidential News Coverage Under Deadline Pressure, for her behind-the-scenes accounts of the historic 2000 (Bush-Gore) and 2008 (Obama) Election Nights.
We are very excited to have her in our 2017 Speakers Series lineup and look forward to welcoming her to our BCA family in July.