Senior White House Corespondent April Ryan has been behind the scenes at the White House for 18 years. Her new book The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America.
She is one of just a handful of African-American, and in fact, any reporters of color, who regularly work the White House beat. While she says that several news outlets rotate reporters, that the White House press room is still so whitewashed is telling.
“That room does not reflect America at all,” says Ryan.
In some cases, economics may play a role, as the outlets have to pay for a seat and pay for their reporters to travel with the President via Air Force One. But news bureau chiefs do have a choice who they send to cover The White House and too often, those coveted spots go to white males.
Ryan say her journey has been one worthy of, well, a book.
“January 13th makes 18 years since I’ve been working in the White House. To come form where I come from -humble beginnings, middle class America, mother, father, one blue collar, one white-collar – my father was a stickler for news. He’d always watch Walter Cronkite. My mother was ahead of her time and was all into politics. So when I got to the White House, I started journaling. Those stories ended up being a labor of love,” Ryan said.
Though she’s been there almost two decades, Ryan says that she still remembers her very first day at The White House.
“It was amazing to come to this place where there was so much history. Dr. King fought for us in that building. To see those gates, to see this over 200-year-old building that I’m going to come into, not knowing that eventually 3 presidents would call me by name; the impact on policy that I would have, because a lot of times when we question these presidents, it can change policy. It is amazing. When I walk into the doors every day, I thank God, because it’s amazing to be there every day.”
Click the link above to hear the entire interview, including the reason why Ryan once wore sneakers in the Oval Office.
You can see April in person or watch her interviewed at the following places, times and locations:
Sat, Feb 14 Up with Steve Kornacki 8 a.m.
Sun., Feb. 15 –Meet the Press, Sunday morning NBC
Mon., Feb 16 – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Ann Arbor, Michigan District Library Reading, Autograph signing
Thurs., Feb. 19 6:00 p.m. African American Chamber of Commerce of NJ – Politics Award Hyatt Regency (New Brunswick, NJ)
Fri., Feb 20th -5:45-7:15pm Fairfax County Government Center Black History Month event 2015. The theme for this year’s event it “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture.”
Wed., Feb. 25 – 6 p.m. Howard University Bookstore 2225 Georgia Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20059
Sat., Feb. 28 – 6:00 p.m. Politics & Prose 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008