The AP’s Senior White House Correspondent Visits Lynn
The Associated Press’ Senior White House Correspondent Darlene Superville visited Lynn’s campus to discuss her career and her thoughts on journalism in the current political climate.
The Associated Press (AP), a not-for-profit news cooperative, stations teams in over 100 countries to research and report breaking news. Superville began her career with the AP in 1988 as a newswoman in Newark, N. J. after graduating from New York University with a B.A. in journalism.
“I went to NYU, studied journalism there, and then interned with the AP,” said Superville. “I spent about six years in N.J. and then eventually transferred to Washington.”
Superville reports on historic political events such as presidential candidates, campaigns and administrations. Superville covered the 1996 presidential campaign and supervised the AP’s national political desk during the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
“I did a number of beats in Washington and eventually ended up working on the politics desk for four presidential elections,” said Superville. “After Obama was elected, I decided that maybe I’d like to go to the White House. Our bureau chief at the time always asked the staff what they wanted to do. I said I wanted to go to the White House. He took that under consideration and eventually said, ‘Okay, yes. We want you to go to the White House.’”
From 2009 until 2017, Superville worked collaboratively as a member of the AP’s five-person team assigned to the Obama presidency and served as the AP’s chief reporter covering former First Lady Michelle Obama. Superville and seven others currently cover the Trump presidency for the AP. As a reporter with the unique experience of covering the Obama presidency and the Trump presidency, Superville described the differences between the administrations.
“One of the big differences between the Obama administration and the Trump administration is the tweeting. We’re all always looking at Twitter because [President Trump] could tweet anything at any time of day. He announces policy on Twitter, personnel appointments or dismissals. Before, those kinds of things happened at a White House briefing,” said Superville. “The level of turnover is a lot higher than the previous administration. Just look at the Department of Homeland Security. They’re now on their fifth DHS Secretary, and President Trump hasn’t even finished his third year in office.”
Superville spoke with two students from iPulse, Lynn’s student newspaper, and a representative from Palm Beach Post before taking to the stage for her official appearance with Dr. Robert Watson, distinguished professor of American history. Superville shared her thoughts and hopes regarding the continued rise in tension and animosity between some political parties and the press.
“There certainly are people who are trying to undermine the news industry. I think some conservative voters are taking their cues from conservative voices,” said Superville. “There are some lawmakers and leaders around the world who have started to adopt the ‘fake news’ mantra. It is spreading, but I’m of the mind that at some point it will turn around, and people who, today, see some journalists as ‘fake news’ will realize the value of independent journalism.”
At approximately 12 p.m., Superville joined Dr. Watson on stage. Members of the Boca Raton and Lynn communities sat mesmerized as Superville described flying with Air Force One and traveling around the world to report on the First Family. Recently, Superville accompanied Ivanka Trump to Morocco in exchange for a twenty minute interview in which Ivanka stated her opinion on the impeachment inquiry.
“Her basic answer [on impeachment] was that she thinks it’s just another attempt by Democrats to overturn the election. Then we moved on to the impeachment inquiry and the whistleblower,” said Superville. “Under law, [the whistleblower] is supposed to remain anonymous and protected. I asked [Ivanka] if she wanted to know who the whistleblower is. She said she did not think the identity of the whistleblower is as important as knowing the whistleblower’s motivation, knowing why they did what they did.”
Superville and Dr. Watson concluded the interview and invited select members of the audience to join them in a ‘Q & A’ style reception. During the reception, Superville encouraged journalism students to work hard and remember their purpose during this politically tumultuous time.
“It’s hard to hear yourself be called ‘fake’ and ‘an enemy of the people,’ but at the same time you have to keep in mind that you have a job to do,” said Superville. “I keep my focus on the reporting and the stories and try to get it right. It’s our responsibility and obligation to continue to try and ask questions.”