On Monday, the White House Correspondents’ Association and GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs hosted a panel to discuss the past, present, and future of minority journalists in the White House press corps. The panel comprised Fusion’s Jim Avila; former WHCA President Ed Chen, currently with the Natural Resources Defense Council; WaPo managing editor Kevin Merida; David Nakamura, White House reporter for The Washington Post; AP’s Sonya Ross; NBC News Washington bureau chief Ken Strickland; and NBC News White House reporter Kristen Welker and was moderated by American Urban Radio Network’s April Ryan.
The discussion took place more than 70 years after Harry McAlpin of the Atlanta Daily World became the first black journalist to cover a White House news conference and 100 years after the first White House Correspondents Dinner.
“Some of the traditional ways to get to a place like the White House coverage – those still exist, but there’s other ways,” said Merida, referring to less traditional and often more digital coverage of the White House.
Strickland added, “The reason why it’s important to have diversity for more than just diversity’s sake is that many of the issues covered in Washington largely affect diverse populations…You want those voices at the table, to have the discussion.”
To watch the full panel conversation in entirety, look to GW’s website later in the week.