How Do I Become a White House Correspondent?

Jessica Ellis

A person with an equal love of politics and journalism may seek his or her dream job by attempting to become a White House correspondent. A thorough education, in-depth knowledge of politics and government, and a keen journalistic instinct are all qualities needed to become a White House Correspondent. Perhaps most importantly, a good White House reporter must be able to maintain journalistic integrity and ethics in a highly charged, political environment.

A White House correspondent may have first covered the president on the campaign trail.
A White House correspondent may have first covered the president on the campaign trail.

A college education is typically the first step necessary to become a White House correspondent. Many political journalists have four-year or graduate degrees in journalism, political science, government, or communications. In addition to required studies, an aspiring political journalist needs to stay up-to-date on both current and historical events that affect the political climate. Since the issues on the table at the White House may cover everything from agricultural legislation to foreign affairs, journalists must try to have a broad range of knowledge across as many topics as possible. While in school, students may want to apply for any scholarships related to political writing or broadcast performance, as these programs may lead to important connections within the political media world.

A White House correspondent may work in radio.
A White House correspondent may work in radio.

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Journalists may have to train for many years before being considered ready to become a White House correspondent. During college, students may want to take internships or summer jobs with broadcast, Internet, or print media companies in order to start increasing their practical knowledge of the political media environment. Following graduation, many start to look for jobs as reporters based on their resume and any broadcast experience or printed articles they may have accrued. While these first jobs may be at a local level and seem far from the hallowed halls of the White House, it may be important for new journalists to gain practical experience and hone their instincts on a smaller playing field before jumping into the enormous stadium of national political coverage.

It may take many years to reach the level of reputation and experience often deemed necessary to become a White House correspondent. Journalists seeking this career destination must make a considerable effort to distinguish themselves as writers, investigative reporters, and ethical newsmen. Despite all this hard work, many also consider it important to spend time socializing and networking in the media industry and the political scene. Not only can a strong social presence lead to contacts for future jobs, it may also be a way to find leads on interesting political stories.

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