Washington (CNN)– For the first time in its 124-year history, the Gridiron Club is, on a trial basis, partially lifting its "off the record" rule for its annual dinners.
"Ladies are always present; reporters are never present," has been a club motto since the beginning – and its spring and winter dinners billed as an "off the record" night of humorous speeches and musical skits, most of them good naturedly lampooning politicians and the reporters who cover them.
But club leaders announced the experiment Saturday morning, describing it as a bow to the reality of the "Twitter" age.
It is a one-time trial for the winter dinner, which this year features Sarah Palin and Barney Frank as the Republican and Democratic speakers, respectively.
The winter dinner is a smaller affair than the spring event, which normally draws the president and a "who's who" of Washington.
At the winter event, attendance is limited to members and their spouses or one guest.
Club leaders said the policy will be re evaluated after this weekend's dinner.
The event remains closed to media coverage - meaning reporters who are not members or invited guests cannot attend to cover the proceedings - and no photographs are allowed.
At a morning Gridiron meeting, club leaders stressed they hoped reporting of the event would be minimal and urged members not to type notes or "tweet" during the speeches.
But they said it has become common practice for accounts of the dinners to appear in media accounts, and so they had reluctantly decided to experiment with a new policy.