Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke at the 2022 National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists Convention and Career Fair on Saturday.
In the panel moderated by the association presidents, Jean-Pierre updated hundreds of reporters on President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 status and reflected on her service in the administration, including being the first Black LGBTQ+ woman to take the role as press secretary.
“As I look out … I see some folks that I recognize, some folks who are firsts who are friends of mine in here,” Jean-Pierre said. “It is not easy. It’s hard to — it’s hard to have this conversation ‘cause there’s nothing rosy about it.”
Jean-Pierre also talked about Biden, who is recovering from his second bout of COVID-19. She praised Biden for his work ethic while fighting the virus.
“It’s hard to keep up with him, I’m gonna be very very honest,” she said. “He goes and he goes and he goes. We all have a hard time keeping up with him. He has — he’s laser laser focused on the job at hand which is not an easy one.”
Jean-Pierre also said the Biden administration differs from former President Trump’s administration who oftentimes berated journalists.
Answering a question about whether the administration plans to address the increasing distrust between the public and the media, Jean-Pierre said “first and foremost, we’re not going to attack the media like the last administration, which put so many journalists in harm’s way.”
Valerie Roberts Evans, a Southern Methodist University professor, said that the press secretary meant a lot to her in terms of representation.
“Being an African American woman, she understands what it means when other people see her in that position,” she said.
Haniyah Philogene, a Forbes multimedia journalist, said she thought it was “inspiring” that Jean-Pierre was realistic about her journey to becoming press secretary.
“And she specifically said you break glass ceilings, but then there’s glass all around you that you still have to navigate, advocate, push through right,” Philogene said. “There is a lot of work and a lot of turmoil and I think that was a beautiful analogy.”
Amanda DeJesus is a senior at Seton Hall University where she studies journalism and political science with a minor in Spanish. She is interested in pursuing a career in print/digital and audio journalism. Reach her at amandadejesus849 [at] gmail [dot] com and on Twitter @itsamandaparis.