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Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Conference Call with the White House

By Kiera Wright and Times Staff Writer

There was a conference call opportunity for aspiring journalists with Jon Decker, White House correspondent for SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel and host of “White House Insider.” Decker is also a contributor to MSNBC and London’s LBC Radio, a journalism professor at Georgetown University and a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

During the conference call, nearly 10 students and young journalists received tips and had the rare opportunity to ask Decker questions. The discussion was very engaging and I listened attentively as he spoke about his experiences and the lessons he has learned as a journalist. Decker expressed that his experience being a White House correspondent has been a humbling one. He also noted that some of his favorite stories included being at the
White House on 9/11 and the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

“I think covering the White House and my approach to news in general has made me more humbled. I am very appreciative of my ability to do what I do,” Decker said.

The discussion moved very hastily because time was so limited. However, Director of The Institute on Political Journalism Joe Starrs, who was the host for the conversation made sure we all had a chance to ask our questions. Topics included ethics, the White House briefing room and the changing of news mediums. One of the tips that Decker offered involved the willingness to learn.

“Always be open to learning and make the most of your experiences,” Decker said. “Media is changing so much and it’s important to bring value to an organization by being versatile. [Covering news] is a marathon not a sprint.”

I think the conversation went very well. Everyone had great questions and with the extensive background and experience that Decker has, he could definitely be an inspiration to aspiring political journalists. The key piece of advice that I took away from this conference call was in three forms. This includes developing good sources for information, making sure the reporting that I conduct is fair and establishing longevity in my approach. Hopefully I can make it as far as Decker one day.

Kiera can be reached at

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