TheGrio assigned coveted White House press briefing room seat for 2022

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After less than a year of providing leading White House coverage of the Biden-Harris administration for Black America, theGrio has been assigned a designated seat in the White House press briefing room. 

Karine Jean-Pierre in press briefing room
Reporters raise their hands as White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a daily press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on July 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) announced theGrio’s fourth-row seat on Friday with its first updated seating chart in five years. The new seating arrangement goes into effect on Jan. 3, 2022.

TheGrio is the only “new media” assigned one of the 49 coveted seats.

“As we continue to invest enormous resources to build a world class news operation, and as the only 100% African American-owned media outlet with a seat in the White House press briefing room, we are proud and honored,” said founder, chairman, and CEO of Allen Media Group, and owner of theGrio, Byron Allen.

WHCA President Steven Portnoy acknowledged that the association made great efforts to ensure that the new seating chart for the briefing room accurately reflected the diversity of America by offering seats to news outlets covering 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for diverse communities. 

“To enhance diversity in the briefing room, assignments have been given to organizations that target Black, Hispanic and LGBTQ audiences, as well as readership and viewership that lies across the ideological spectrum,” Portnoy said in a statement. 

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TheGrio, helmed by White House Correspondent and D.C. Bureau Chief April D. Ryan, has been a leading voice in 2021 on various national issues impacting Black communities from voting rights and policing to fair housing and environmental justice.

Ryan, who will celebrate 25 years as a White House correspondent on Jan. 13, 2022, secured major high-profile political interviews in 2021, including Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“It is great to meet 25 years of covering the White House with this seat assignment for theGrio to further deliver news to those who depend on our White House coverage. After covering five U.S. presidents, I am so proud to be part of a team that works hard to advance the stories pertaining to the underserved and Black America,” Ryan said in an official theGrio statement. 

April Ryan interviews Colin Powell
White House correspondent April Ryan interviews Colin Powell. (Photo: Courtesy of April Ryan)

“I look forward to continuing this crucial work in 2022 on behalf of Black Americans who deserve a voice in the briefing room who will represent them, their experiences and their concerns as American citizens.” 

The White House press secretary, and occasionally the president, has been briefing the media from the press briefing room since the construction of the White House’s press offices in 1969. However, formal press conferences have been taking place since 1913. Allen announced the opening of theGrio’s D.C. Bureau and the signing of April Ryan in December 2020. Since then, theGrio has consistently attended briefings and covered American politics and policy.

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