For the first time in recent memory, the president called only on female journalists -- eight in a row -- during an extended question-and-answer session at the White House. The lineup appeared to be a landmark moment for a press corps with a history of being a boys' club, where high-profile female correspondents were the exception, not the rule.
Though at least one brief news conference overseas saw one or two questions from only women, for a formal session at the White House, this appeared to be the first.
"In my 40 years, I'm sure there was never a full news conference where only women were called on," said ABC News' Ann Compton, who retired this year. Compton said the choices were also notable because they represented "core White House regulars" -- beat reporters who cover the president full time.
That group has gradually grown to include plenty of female faces. Women regularly fill close to half the seats in the briefing room and have made a majority of the small band of reporters that follow the president when he travels. The Tribune Washington Bureau's Christi Parsons serves as president of the White House Correspondents' Assn.
One White House official said the choices were made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
"The fact is, there are many women from a variety of news organizations who day in and day out do the hard work of covering the president of the United States," Earnest said in a statement after the news conference. "As the questioner list started to come together, we realized that we had a unique opportunity to highlight that fact at the president's closely watched, end-of-the-year news conference."
Earnest notified television networks before the news conference that they'd be left out. In an email, he wrote that each of the networks had been able to ask the president two questions since last month's midterm elections and all but one, Fox News, has gotten a one-on-one interview in that time.