Every administration takes its own approach to the press, but covering the White House of President Trump has brought on unprecedented challenges for reporters.
Trump’s is the first administration in memory to forego the daily briefings that used to supply reporters, and the nation, with updates on policy, official White House commentary on domestic and international events, and a daily opportunity to ask the questions meant to hold the administration accountable.
The vacuum of official information has been filled instead by the president’s Twitter account, by which Trump sets forth his agenda and presents his opinions in the early hours of each morning. On occasion, reporters will hear firsthand from the president during Oval Office gatherings with heads of state.
So what’s it like to cover the first presidential administration to communicate primarily by social media and to report in Washington in an era of political polarization?
On Monday, four leading political correspondents will be at Northeastern’s Boston campus to analyze and explain their roles in the era of presidential coverage by tweet. Their panel discussion, “Covering the Nation’s Capital,” will be held at the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex Auditorium on Monday, March 18 at 4 p.m.
It is the first installment of Northeastern’s new series, “The Civic Experience,” profiling the generation of cutting-edge leaders who are shaping media, politics, and policy. Speakers will describe what it’s like to be a journalist or political leader in an increasingly polarized and digitally driven world. As the old traditions are being chased away, new career doors are opening for young people across the spectrum—including those in Washington.
“This new series encourages students to see themselves as emerging leaders in media and politics and to recognize that they will soon be the ones with the power—and the opportunity—to shape our civic life,” says Michael Armini, the senior vice president for external affairs at Northeastern.
Future events will feature Nate Silver, founder and editor in chief of the analytics news site FiveThirtyEight, who on March 27 will explore the role of data in predicting and understanding the new landscape of American politics; and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a former Naval intelligence officer who was elected at age 29 in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. He will be discussing the influence of millennials in American politics.
The panel on Monday will feature a cross section of journalists who have followed different career paths to Washington.
Hallie Jackson, chief White House correspondent at NBC News, worked her way up as a reporter for local stations in Maryland and Connecticut. She moved to Washington in 2012 as a correspondent for 26 Hearst affiliates, and she has been in her current White House role since 2017.
Ed O’Keefe, political correspondent at CBS News, began covering congressional and presidential politics for The Washington Post in 2008. He moved to CBS in 2017.
Gabby Orr, White House reporter for Politico, covered Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency for the Washington Examiner. She moved to Politico in October.
Arit John, who previously covered the campaign of Bernie Sanders and the 2016 presidential election, reports on Congress for Bloomberg News.
The panel will be moderated by David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner who has worked for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe and for 15 years was executive editor and vice president of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
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