Prominent journalist April Ryan receives Gwen Ifill Next Generation Award

“I wanted Black women to feel seen. I wanted them to feel seen and heard,” said Ryan.

Grace Tamborella, News Editor

The Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities held its fourth annual Gwen Ifill Forum on Feb. 11, 2023. Senior White House Correspondent April Ryan received the Gwen Ifill Next Generation Award.

The 2023 Ifill Forum theme was “Leadership and Democracy: The Enduring Power of Black Women.” According to her biography on The Grio’s website, “Ryan is the longest-serving Black woman reporter in the White House press corps and has served on the board of the prestigious White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) for 25 years.”

Ryan’s experiences as a Black White House Correspondent motivated her to write her new book, “Black Women Will Save the World: An Anthem.” 

“I wanted Black women to feel seen. I wanted them to feel seen and heard,” said Ryan.

NPR named Ryan’s book a “Book of the Day” in October 2022, saying  “‘Black Women Will Save the World,’ combines memoir, reporting, and analysis to highlight the strength of trailblazers like Stacey Abrams, LaTosha Brown, and herself–but she also opens up about the personal cost of always having to be resilient,” 

During the event, Ryan spoke about being a Black woman in her field. “Black women who were speaking out on issues of the community were vilified… we cannot let that narrative be,” she said.

“The issues of race were my life’s work,” said Ryan. “There were people who didn’t wanna hear it… it’s a story that you need to hear… the founding of this country… who helped make this country,” she said, expressing the importance of telling stories that often received pushback. 

During the moderated discussion, Rehema Ellis, NBC News Chief Education Correspondent and Simmons alumna asked Ryan, “how are Black women gonna save the world when this is the reality?”

“Black women have been sounding the alarm for a long time… the words that you write create momentum and movement… it’s a constant fight to get answers and truth,” responded Ryan.

To the next generation of reporters, Ryan said, “tell the story. The rest will be dealt with.”