After covering five U.S. presidential administrations, theGrio’s April Ryan celebrates 25 illustrious years of service, thus making her the longest-serving Black female White House correspondent.
April Ryan made history this January as the longest-serving Black female White House correspondent and longest-serving African American reporter covering Black news. Her tenure spans five U.S. presidential administrations and many extraordinary historical events. When reflecting on this career milestone, a modest Ryan says, “I’ve questioned five American presidents [and] they’ve called me by name,” an honor many will never experience.
April Ryan defines this pivotal moment in her career as “humbling.” She goes on to tell theGrio, “I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where some would say the word failure is built into our very existence.” “But as fate would have it, the Morgan State University graduate would go on to become one of the most recognizable and accomplished Black journalists covering Black issues at the White House.”
As Ryan recounts her illustrious career as a Black woman in the White House, she admits to theGrio she “stands on the shoulders of Black history trailblazers like Henry McAlpin, the first African American reporter to attend a U.S. presidential news conference; Alice Dunnigan, the first African American female reporter to receive White House credentials; and Ethel Payne, who was coined the “First Lady of the Black Press.” April Ryan’s tenure also comes on the heels of Wendell Goler, the longest-serving Black male reporter to cover the White House, retiring after 28 years.
From traveling with Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama to Africa to visiting New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina with President George W. Bush, Ryan has used her reporting chops and charisma to build long-lasting relationships in Washington.
As April Ryan is honored by peers, colleagues, and distinguished political figures like former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, everyone agrees April Ryan is passionate, hardworking, and tough yet fair!
Jerry Lopes, Ryan’s former boss at American Urban Radio Network, fondly shares with theGrio that “April was always comfortable in her own skin [and kept] it real. I think newsmakers loved that about her and, as a result, bonded and confided in her – that’s part of what I call the April magic.”
Former President Barack Obama shared warm words in a statement saying, “Every day, you help keep our democracy alive by relaying timely, accurate information to the American people. Through multiple administrations and countless news cycles, you have asked tough questions to hold the White House accountable- all while ensuring that issues affecting Black communities get the attention they deserve. You have my enduring gratitude, and I look forward to seeing all you will accomplish in the next chapter of your unparalleled career.”
Former President Bill Clinton praised the White House correspondent with a tweet reading, “Congratulations on your anniversary, @AprilDRyan! I’ve appreciated you and your reporting since the time I was President — tough but fair and totally on the level. Here’s to many more years of good work.”
In another congratulatory tweet, White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki said, “I have known @AprilDRyan now through working on press team[s] for two Presidents. She is smart, tough as nails, passionate, has a great sense of humor, and pushes every day (believe me!) for more information for the American people. congrats @AprilDRyan”.
Allen Media Group Founder/ Chairman/ CEO Byron Allen doted on theGrio’s April Ryan in a celebratory social media tribute video, saying, “April’s an icon … she is a phenomenal, phenomenal reporter and correspondent. The work she’s done in D.C. over the last 25 years has just been outstanding and what I love about her is that she’s unapologetically Black about making sure politicians stay focused on what we need as Black people in America. She is simply a great American because her point of view is best for all Americans.”
theGrio’s moving tribute video also featured Representative Maxine Waters, Ben Crump, Dr. Martha Kumar, and Bernice King. All offered April Ryan high praise, deep appreciation, and encouragement as she continues her career!
As with most, all of April Ryan’s success didn’t come without some tribulations. During her time covering the 45th Presidential administration, April had viral exchanges with then-President Donald Trump and his staff, as she persistently sought the truth. While April said she doesn’t like to relive those moments, she emphasizes, “I’m still here.”
“I stand on the pillars of the Founding Fathers, who I’m sure were slave owners. They didn’t expect April Ryan to be here [but] I’m still here, reporting,” says a reflective Ryan. Even in April’s moments of adversity, she continues to climb to unimaginable career heights!
All year long, join theGrio as they celebrate the history-making and history-chasing April Ryan! Head over to theGrio.com to read their full editorial tribute or to their Instagram page @theGrio to view their social video highlighting April Ryan’s distinguished career and some of her remarkable White House moments!