Political journalist April Ryan has racked up 30 years in news sectors that have few women in general and even fewer Black women. If career longevity is a skill, then Ryan is a master.
The White House correspondent and D.C. bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks continues to ask the tough questions as she advocates for freedom of the press and acts as a role model for journalists of color everywhere.
1. SHE’S AN HBCU GRAD
When Ryan attended Morgan State University, she realized that her gift of gab and natural curiosity would make a broadcast journalism career the perfect fit for her. She eventually nabbed a spot on the college radio station and felt an adrenaline rush.
2. SHE’S NOT AFRAID TO ASK FOR MORE
Early in Ryan’s career, she worked as an announcer at Baltimore’s V-103 radio station, where she interviewed Johnnie Cochran. When she felt ready for a promotion, she asked the station to create a news director position that had not existed before.
3. SHE PLAYS THE LONG GAME
A freelance opportunity with American Urban Radio Networks turned into an offer for her to become the Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent at age 29. She has spent more than 20 years covering four U.S. presidents, starting with the Clinton administration, and became one of only three Black members of the White House Correspondents Association to ever serve on its board in the organization’s more than 100-year history.
4. SHE HAS A FEW SIDE HUSTLES
Like so many journalists, Ryan has more than one source of income. At the beginning of her career, she moved from one television station to another while freelancing for other networks and radio stations. Today she secures her bag with several revenue streams. In addition to her post with American Urban Radio Networks, she’s an author of three books, a CNN political analyst and a lecturer.
5. SHE INSPIRED
Ryan is one of the women who inspired this hashtag, which went viral on Twitter in March 2017. On it Black women were encouraged to share their workplace horror stories. Ryan also penned an eye-opening op-ed in The Washington Post last November about her experience being a Black woman reporting on the Trump presidency.
6. SHE DOES THE LEGWORK
Working in the White House motivated Ryan to write her first book. In 2001 she signed up for the Odyssey program at Johns Hopkins University to support her desire to write a long-form narrative. Fourteen years later The Presidency in Black and White was published.
7. SHE EMBRACES REPRESENTATION
Ryan once noted that she was the only Black woman correspondent at the White House until Yamiche Alcindor started in 2018. The veteran reporter gives back to her community by mentoring young journalists and helping them develop their talent for broadcasting.