On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
American journalist and author, April Ryan, has had a busy few years. In between working as a White House correspondent and Washington D.C. bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, doing political analyst work for CNN, the 53-year old reporter also managed to publish her second book, At Mama’s Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White.
Twenty years ago, I was green. Twenty years later, they call me a veteran. There’s a lot that I can still learn. That place is very dear to me. The issues are very dear to me. I just can’t believe that 20 years later, I may be one of the longest-serving White House correspondents who happens to be African-American. It’s a very interesting position. It’s a very interesting time. I’m just thankful for each day.Veteran White House reporter April Ryan on Trump: ‘He’s different … I govern myself accordingly’ | The Undefeated
As a 23-year White House correspondent veteran, Ryan has covered four presidential administrations, and has personally interviewed the likes of Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, and more. But nothing could prepare her for the Trump administration.
In one incident, during an April 2018 press conference, the White House Press Secretary at the time, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called Ryan’s question “absolutely ridiculous” when the reporter asked if Trump was considering resignation. Ryan subsequently received death threats and had no choice but to hire a bodyguard for her safety.
“I’ve had some people wait for me outside the White House,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “Do I have a bodyguard? Yes, I do. Am I paying for it? Yes, I am. And, I think [Sanders] should have to pay for it, especially if she’s stirring it up with her boss.”
Despite all the craziness that came with covering the Trump administration (just ask Maggie Haberman), Ryan took it all in stride, and continued to do her job as a journalist. In a 2018 profile with The Cut, Ryan described her typical daily routine, juggling multiple professional roles as well as two teenage daughters.
Ryan wakes up at 5am every morning, and starts checking her phone for missed calls, texts, emails and Twitter. She’ll get some work done while at home in the morning while helping her kids get ready for school — “I make sure they have their homework, lunches, and everything that they need with our nanny. I’m also fielding calls from sources and following up on things that came up overnight.”
After that, Ryan’s on the phone with her boss at 7.45am to plan their coverage for the day, then she’s off to the White House. “Every place is my office — I get calls in my car and I do work at home — but I have a work space in the White House and a seat in the briefing room,” she described to The Cut.
“My White House workstation is the size of two phone booths put together. It has a lock, a door with a window, and I have a shade on mine. Some days, when people check the room, they don’t even know if I’m there or not.”
In between writing and reporting on the White House, Ryan also found time throughout her day to work on her book. When asked how she managed to publish a book while juggling her multiple jobs and family life, Ryan explained:
Everyone takes time off to write a book, but I don’t. Here’s what I do: First of all, I got Microsoft Word on my phone. I write everywhere — on the plane, train — and I even dictate. I can be sitting in the doctor’s office, and I’ll write. I can be sitting waiting for the briefing to start, and I’ll write. I can be sitting with my kids watching a movie and I’ll think of something and I’ll write. Some days I wake up at 4 a.m. to write. Other days, I wake up in the middle of the night to start writing. You have got to find those stolen moments and carve out time.How I Get It Done: April Ryan, White House Correspondent | The Cut
On most nights, Ryan is home in between 7-8pm and tries to switch off completely from the job. “When I leave the White House, I cannot stand talking about politics when I get home,” she said in an interview with The Undefeated. “I watch it. I read it and I eat it. I switch it off.” She’s usually in bed between 12-1am — “I do need a lot of sleep — but I don’t get it. On the weekends if I have nothing going on, the best thing I can do is sleep in until 9 a.m.”
Before you go…
Check out more daily routines from Barack Obama, Joe Rogan, Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and plenty others.