A White House reporter who’s usually asking questions found himself on the other side of that equation during a recent political science class at AIC.
Philip Wegmann covers the White House beat for Real Clear Politics which bills itself as an independent, non-partisan media company. Wegmann was invited by Professor Gary W. Boisseau, MEd, to speak to his Introduction to American Politics class via Zoom from Washington, DC.
“This is an exclusive for AIC, as he does not usually have the time to do these types of presentations,” said Boisseau. “Through many different connections, I am just trying to bring a completely different perspective to my students this semester.”
Wegmann told the students, “My job is to report what happened, not what I think about what happened.” He also shared that prepping to cover a story is like cramming for an exam.
The class concluded with a question-and-answer session during which a poli-sci student asked Wegmann whether being a journalist can be dangerous. He answered by sharing that he was once sucker-punched by a protester while covering a story about a demonstration. But he didn’t want to dissuade students from becoming reporters and encouraged them to consider careers in journalism.
Other topics of curiosity among the students included coverage of the January 6 events at the Capitol and whether Wegmann ever gets stressed covering the White House. He admitted to feeling nervous and even embarrassed on occasion, like when he was “yelled at” during press briefings by both President Trump and President Biden. “But,” Wegmann explained to the students, “My job is to ask hard questions, whether they like it or not.”