White House Correspondent and CNN Political Analyst April Ryan addressed Upper School students in an assembly to discuss the importance of journalism. She later met with faculty, staff, and parents as part of Gilman's Community and Diversity programming.
A Baltimore native, April Ryan attended Seton High School and Morgan State University. She has covered the White House through the administrations of four U.S. presidents. In recent months Ryan has unexpectedly become news herself, as she has made headlines for her interactions with President Donald Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during press briefings.
"Washington is a town that is not necessarily for the outsider, and it takes a lot for an outsider to get in. And we see an outsider who has come in, for better or worse. [Donald Trump] is a businessman who has changed the game forever. No matter what side of the spectrum you sit on, this is a historic time," she said.
Ryan believes her responsibility is to bring the concerns of the public to the president's attention. She noted that freedom of the press was built into the Constitution, within the First Amendment. "[Journalists] are under attack today. [The current administration is] trying to discredit us, so that your voice will not be heard."
Ryan discussed the proliferation of fake news, challenging students to go outside of their comfort zone and follow current events by reading "news that is real." With the availability of social media, she said, everyone is now a "citizen journalist." She encouraged students to hold lawmakers accountable. "You have more power than you think," she said.
April Ryan is the author of The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America, and the recently-published At Mama's Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White.