April Ryan on Yamiche Alcindor: She’s Going To Be In History Books

When President Trump told me to sit down during a White House press conference last November, I was frustrated and shocked. But at that same press conference, Yamiche Alcindor asked the president if he’s a white supremacist. And she did it with a smile. That takes grit.
Yamiche knows her craft. She’s serious about the beat. She’s a reporter that stands out because of her dedication; she watches and she listens. I was concerned for her after that press conference, because I’ve felt the sting of an ugly environment. But when I asked her if she got death threats, she told me “Oh no, I’m good. I watched you.” That moment last year was just one of many where Yamiche has proven that she’s fearless.
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Now, I don’t look at my job as paving the way for other Black reporters, and I don’t think Yamiche does either. We’re just working. But, when you’re working while Black in the public eye what you do directly and indirectly impacts the next generation of reporters of color. Just as we’re standing on the shoulders of Alice Dunnigan, Ethel Payne, and Ida B. Wells — the Black women who came before us — we know young, Black women will look to us as mentors too.

...When you’re a Black reporter, you’re not just preserving history, you’re making it. Yamiche is part of history; she’s going to be in history books.

When you’re a reporter, you’re documenting events and history — you’re not planning on being the story. But when you’re a Black reporter, you’re not just preserving history, you’re making it. Yamiche is part of history; she’s going to be in history books.
I started at the White House in 1997, and I’ve been one of the only Black women there. When Yamiche started in 2018, it was nice to see yet another person who looked like me. It’s a singular job, but it’s also a collective one. Although we work in different news organizations, we feel the same struggles and there’s a commonality. Yamiche and I will always be linked for that.
April Ryan is a journalist and author who has been a White House correspondent since 1997. She is one of three African Americans who have served on the board of the White House Correspondents Association.
DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY TRISTAN OFFIT. ART DIRECTION BY ISABEL CASTILLO GUIJARRO. PRODUCT BY LEE MISENHEIMER.
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