White House correspondent April Ryan will share her experience as a reporter “under fire” during the Donald Trump administration with the Cornell community on Thursday.
Ryan was elected “Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists in May 2017, according to the event page. She covered four presidential administrations as the White House bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks and became a CNN political analyst in 2017.
“The Daniel W. Kops Freedom of the Press lecture was founded to ensure that the Ithaca community had a yearly occasion to reflect on journalism and its relationship to a healthy democracy,” Prof. Noliwe Rooks, American studies said. “April Ryan is the perfect person to speak to us in this moment.”
Ryan has “asked tough questions of Donald Trump and his press secretaries,” according to Prof. Lawrence Glickman, American studies. Sean Spicer, Trump’s first White House Press Secretary, once singled Ryan out for criticism, Glickman said.
In a March White House press briefing, Spicer told Ryan to “stop shaking your head” after Ryan asked how Trump’s administration would “work to repair its image” and mentioned Trump’s vulgar comment about former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made in 2006.
“April, hold on, it seems like you’re hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays,” Spicer, then-White House press secretary, said to Ryan, according to NBC News.
One of the few African-American White House reporters, “April Ryan became an early barometer of the growing rancor that defines the current relationship between the White House, a free press, and so-called ‘fake news,’” according to Rooks.
Now, Ryan is under security protection after being personally threatened for her reporting, which may suggest our current political climate needs to be remedied, according to Glickman.
“Her visit to our campus is extremely important given the relevance of the issue of freedom of the press, not just in the US but the world,” Glickman said.
The lecture will take place in Klarman Hall, Rhodes Rawlings Auditorium at 5 p.m., followed by a book signing.