Teague Lecture 2022:

March 30, 2022

Legendary reporter and political analyst April Ryan — the White House’s first Black, female correspondent — is coming to MBU to discuss her 25-year career on the frontline of American politics. 

Story by Paola Ortiz ’22 

Save the date MBU family: The second annual Teague Lecture is bringing legendary reporter and political analyst April Ryan — the White House’s first Black, female correspondent — to campus to discuss her 25-plus year career on the frontline of American politics. 

Her talk will center around an assessment of the current state of American politics, and will be held at 7 p.m. in Francis Auditorium on Thursday, April 7. The event is free and open to the public, and will be livestreamed on MBU’s YouTube channel

Legendary reporter and political analyst April Ryan — the White House’s first Black, female correspondent — is coming to MBU to discuss her 25-year career on the frontline of American politics. 

RYAN, NOW 54, GREW UP  in crime-addled inner-city Baltimore and initially made a name for herself working as a radio news reporter covering urban issues after graduating from Morgan State University. 

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I wanted to do something of significance,” she told NewsOne reporters in early 2022. “I just decided to rely on faith in the belief that, if I set my mind to it, I was strong enough to succeed at anything.” 

Ryan’s determination — and knack for asking tough questions about issues of race like the outsized economic disparities facing Black and brown people — won her a job as a White House correspondent covering the Clinton administration for the American Urban Radio Network (AURN) in 1997. Early successes led to contributing roles at major national magazines like Essence, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Elle

Ryan eventually became AURN’s bureau chief, a position she held until 2020 when she joined CNN as a White House policy analyst. She is now chief correspondent and White House bureau chief for African American oriented streaming network, TheGrio-TV

“I’ve appreciated you and your reporting since the time I was president,” wrote Bill Clinton in a tweet commemorating Ryan’s 25th White House anniversary earlier this year. As a journalist you’ve always been “tough but fair — and totally on the level.”  

Famed White House correspondent April Ryan has reported on five presidencies and counting.

RYAN’S ABILITY TO SPOTLIGHT  racial concerns and increase awareness about social justice issues among top-tier politicians is legendary. Her many accolades include an NAACP Image Award for her 2015 book The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America, a National Association of Black Journalists Journalist of the Year Award in 2017, and a 2019 Freedom of the Press Award from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) for her 2018 book, Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House. She is also one of just three African Americans to have served on the board of the White House Correspondents Association since its formation in 1914.  

Ryan’s colleagues describe her as a groundbreaking legend. They admire her relentless advocacy for the public — especially around issues affecting underrepresented and minority groups. 

“She is someone who stands there on behalf of all of us to ask the questions that need to be asked, and to hold accountable the people who need to give ‘we the people’ the information we deserve,” said Mike McCurry at the 2019 RCFP award ceremony, who served as White House press secretary under Clinton. “Without people like April, we lose something vital in our democracy.”

From this vantage, Ryan views her work as a kind of higher calling. 

“I cover the White House … particularly issues that affect Black and brown Americans,” she said. “Now, what if they didn’t call on me? A certain segment of America doesn’t get the answers to some of their most pressing questions. If I don’t ask, who will?”

“I cover the White House … particularly issues that affect Black and Brown Americans. Now, what if they don’t call on me? A certain segment of America doesn’t get answers to some of their most pressing questions. If I don’t ask, who will?”
veteran White House correspondent April Ryan

THE MARGARET AND FRANCIS TEAGUE LECTURE SERIES  was established in 2020 to bring nationally renowned speakers to MBU’s campus to engage with the community and enable students to personally connect with industry leaders. Virginia Ferrell Nexsen ’82 is the daughter of Margaret Teague ’58. She funded the series in honor of her mother’s legacy at the university.

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