I sat down with Baltimore native, and White House correspondent, April Ryan recently. We talked about her life growing up in the area and the new addition to her book “The Presidency in Black and White.”
Q: Talk about your childhood, where you grew up, etc
I come from a working class family. We’ve lived all around the Baltimore area: Northwest, Northeast, and Baltimore County.
Q: Who or what inspired you to become a journalist?
My big mouth ::both laugh:: I was very curious about everything in life. I’ve always asked questions. I remember my dad would ALWAYS watch the news, which I always thought was ‘boring.’ But he would remind me that that’s how we find out if the world was ending or not. You just DON’T tell your child that.
Q: What was it like meeting Nelson Mandela in September of 1998?
It’s still a great feeling. I was a baby when Dr. King died. Nelson Mandela was THAT person for me, just in another country. His words are seared in my heart and mind.But to see someone who had that conviction..that stance for people NO MATTER WHAT..it’s incredible.
When he came to the White House, we couldn’t take pictures with him because the flash would trigger limestone that was still embedded in the back of his eye. To touch the flesh of a hero..a saint. It was something.
Q: What is your take on the fake news phenomenon that has popped up in the past year and a half?
I try not to pay attention to it because I’m not fake. I don’t like the fact that people are playing with facts and news..news is not to be played with. The First Amendment allows freedom of the press, but it’s horrible when someone manipulates it. When I read a sensational headline, I check the source because I want to focus on what’s real. Everyone should pay attention to what sources are credible and which ones aren’t.
Q: How is the current administration different from that last three?
The polar opposite of the last three in every which way imaginable. There’s an all out war on the press from one side. Look, there’s no guide book to be President. He’s never governed before. He’s coming from his gut and the people around him.
Q: Why did you feel the need to write an epilogue to the book featuring the new administration?
This is my fourth President, and whether you like him or not, President Trump is a game changer. His ideas, his attempts at policies, his moral compass..he’s gone against the grain Democrat AND Republican.
Q: What has been the reaction to the book?
I’ve had some people call me a race baiter, but no I’m not. I’ve asked the same questions to each President I’ve covered, so to those people, you can look it up! This isn’t my first rodeo, I’ve been doing this a long time.
Q: Who inspires you?
I purposefully do not live in DC. I love the city, don’t get me wrong, but I want to be surrounded by people I know. I’m REAL.
It’s inspiring to see my children grow up and become young women. Watching the goodness of people after the hurricanes, and Charlottesville..we’re all in this TOGETHER. I’m surrounded by a lot of love. All in all, I’m just a kid from Baltimore.
April Ryan’s book is available now! Buy a copy
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