WATCH: Gwen Ifill, Bill Plante honored at White House press dinner with lifetime awards

The late PBS NewsHour anchor Gwen Ifill and CBS News correspondent Bill Plante were posthumously awarded the Dunnigan-Payne Prize for lifetime career achievement Saturday at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Watch the presentation in the video player above.

The annual black-tie dinner — known for its fun albeit ferocious jabs at Washington — took a more solemn tone this year as President Joe Biden and others at the event acknowledged attacks on press freedom across the globe.

“We are here to send a message to the country and, quite frankly, to the world: The free press is a pillar, maybe the pillar, of a free society, not the enemy,” Biden said in his speech.

WATCH: President Biden gives remarks at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opened the dinner with a pre-taped video about the importance of a free and independent press, calling reporters an “ally of the people.”

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were seated on the stage along with comedian Roy Wood Jr., a correspondent for “The Daily Show,” who was the evening’s featured entertainer.