Damon Runyon Award 2020 Banquet will be virtual

The Denver Press Club’s board of directors has voted to move the format of the 26th annual Damon Runyon Award Banquet to a virtual experience, broadcast 6-8 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 12, live from the Denver Press Club.

“We considered all possibilities to avoid this outcome,” said Denver Press Club president Daniel Petty. “Given spikes in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks throughout the United States and concern from public health officials that a second wave of infections may come in the fall, we believe this is the best decision to keep you and all of our guests safe.

The honoree, broadcaster Judy Woodruff, will attend remotely from her home in Washington, D.C., where she has been broadcasting the evening news for the PBS NewsHour for many months. The Club intends next year to bring Woodruff to the event in person to honor her alongside the 2021 Runyon winner.

Those who have purchased existing sponsorships and tickets will still have exclusive access to the virtual event. The organizing committee has shortened the program — listed below — recognizing that watching an event on a screen for a long time can be challenging.

Journalist Laura Frank will interview Woodruff in a 35-minute Q&A while also taking attendees’ questions. VIP ticket purchasers will have early access to an exclusive Q&A with Woodruff at 5:30 p.m. — before the main program starts.

In lieu of a dinner, attendees will receive a gift box containing an event program, a Denver Press Club-engraved highball glass and a selection of Colorado-sourced snacks.

We are striving to preserve the exclusivity of this event for ticket holders and to make it easy to participate. Guests will have two ways to watch the event: 

  • Participate via password-protected Zoom meeting, which will allow attendees to watch and ask questions of Judy during the program while also interacting with their “table” ahead of time.
  • Watch via a private YouTube stream on a password-protected webpage at denverpressclub.org

The Club has hired Production Services International to help produce the event professionally and allow us to broadcast from inside the Press Club’s main lobby.

The financial support from our sponsors and attendees for this event — the Press Club’s largest annual fundraiser — has allowed the Club to offer a record-breaking $15,000 in journalism scholarships to students at nine colleges and universities throughout the state (you can view the winners here). With the help of the Denver Foundation, the Club has already distributed the funds to ensure these students immediately benefit and can further their studies.

As part of the evening’s program, the Club will be sharing pre-recorded videos to introduce each student, thanks to support from the Ten | 10 Group.

The Club would like to especially thank its sponsors. At the gold level: Rocky Mountain PBS and Colorado Public Radio.

Its bronze sponsors are: AAA Colorado, Arrow Electronics, Clarity Media Group/The Gazette/Colorado Politics, The Colorado Sun, The Denver Post, Ground Floor Media/IMA/Sander Marketing, KUSA-TV, KMGH-TV, Krystal Media, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and United Healthcare.

Its college sponsors are: Colorado College, Colorado State University Fort Collins, Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Denver and the University of Northern Colorado.

The event ensures the Press Club can continue to maintain its historic building and offer remote programming and discussions on the issues of the day while it remains closed.

All attendees will receive the Zoom and YouTube links a few days before the event.

Because this event is virtual, tickets are still available. People can continue to purchase tickets and seats from Blacktie Colorado at blacktie-colorado.com. For questions and inquiries, reach out to President Daniel Petty at president@denverpressclub.org.

26th Damon Runyon Award Tentative Program

5:30-6 p.m. Virtual VIP reception with Judy Woodruff
6-6:30 p.m. Table Talk in Zoom breakout rooms
6:30 p.m. Program begins
6:40 p.m. President’s Remarks
6:55 p.m. Al Nakkula Award for Police Reporting Presentation
7:05 p.m. Proclamation from the City of Denver for Judy Woodruff
7:15 p.m. Judy Woodruff Q&A with Colorado journalist Laura Frank
7:55 p.m. Closing Remarks
8:00 p.m. Program Ends

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