White House Reporter Talks with Students about Covering President Trump

Matthew Nussbaum, a White House reporter for Politico, spoke to students in The Publishing Industry class. (Photo: Carly Mathes)

By Carly Mathes

What is it like to be a White House reporter covering President Donald Trump?

“It’s been this insane stretch since January,” said Matthew Nussbaum, a reporter for Politico, who was a guest speaker in The Publishing Industry class at Rowan University. “The Trump coverage has been all encompassing.”

Nussbaum talked to students about the challenges of the 24/7 news cycle, being banned from Trump campaign events, and the stress of covering a president who can break news at any moment on his Twitter account.

“It’s the story of the century, and it’s not going away,” he said.

Nussbaum, a native of Haddonfield, NJ, started his professional career with a summer internship at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, where he said he learned the fundamentals of reporting. After graduating from Yale University with a degree in history, he went on to intern at the Denver Post, where he covered two death penalty cases. After a short stint as a suburban reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Politico hired Nussbaum to cover the federal budget, a subject he admits he didn’t know much about. But he said that Capitol Hill is a great place for a young reporter to learn.

“The First Amendment is a great thing,” he said. “You can walk up to anyone and shove your iPhone in their face.”

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Nussbaum covered the debates and primaries, then traveled with Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Mike Pence on the campaign trail. On November 8, when Donald Trump was elected president, Nussbaum said he was “as surprised as everyone else, even though I was covering it.”

Nussbaum told students that he believes young reporters have an advantage in the news business because they are open to technology and “knowing how to take pictures on your phone, as basic as it is, is really important.”

“Have an optimistic outlook on this industry, even if it seems like the numbers aren’t adding up right now,” he said. “Be willing to get out there. There is a lot of opportunity for young people who are hungry and willing to work a lot of hours.”

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