Journalist April Ryan’s impressive body of work and cutting analysis has landed her a top honor in her field.
The National Association of Black Journalists announced Tuesday that Ryan has been named the organization’s 2017 Journalist of the Year, an annual award given to a black journalist with a distinguished resume including in-depth work that is of importance to people of the African diaspora.
Ryan, who has been a White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks since 1997, is the only black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House, NABJ reported. With over 30 years of experience, Ryan has helped to provide media coverage of the nation’s last three presidents and also just recently signed with CNN as a political analyst.
“April Ryan is a true trailblazer and truth seeker. She’s dogged and unapologetic about her pursuit of the story,” NABJ President Sarah Glover said in a statement on Tuesday. “In the White House press corps circle, where too few black women have been given an opportunity to report, April has excelled and persevered in spite of the many obstacles she has confronted. Her work has risen to the top.”
Ryan has been heavily praised in past months for the professionalism she has shown during press briefings with White House press secretary Sean Spicer as well as news conferences with President Donald Trump. One encounter she had with Spicer in April sparked widespread criticism after he told Ryan to stop shaking her head as he spoke. The hashtag #BlackWomenAtWork immediately went viral as women of color everywhere shared similar experiences of disrespect in the workplace.
“We all have a job to do and some of the stories we are doing wouldn’t be told if it weren’t for us,” Ryan said of her responsibility as a journalist in a statement Tuesday. “We all need to keep pressing because the First Amendment is under attack.”
Ryan, who is a Baltimore native, is the author of two books, The Presidency in Black and White and At Mama’s Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White. She has received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work and also serves as a mentor to budding journalists. She expressed gratitude for the connections she has made and the honors she has received, including her most recent.
“It is wonderful to be honored by such an esteemed organization,” Ryan said. “I am humbled and honored. So many of these [NABJ] journalists do important work and I am so thankful they would think of me for this honor. It has been an amazing couple of months and you guys give me some wind to say ‘keep going.’”