Life After A Trojan: From the West newsroom to the White House press room

In this episode of Life After A Trojan, Seung-Min Kim ’03 talks about her career as a journalist and her time spent covering the white house.

Paige Albright, Podcast Editor

Seung Min Kim, a 2003 graduate of West High, got her start in journalism writing for the athletics section for the West Side Story. Her career has been one of many journalists’ dreams, working for Politico and The Washington Post. While covering the White House for The Post, she gained access to one of the most publicized presidencies in American history. 

The lessons she and many other journalists have had to learn covering the White House under the Trump administration has changed the way many journalists and broadcast companies function. As the press faced scrutiny from the Trump administration, they learned the value of verifying their facts.  

“Under President Trump, it was just so important for reporters to have a really strong grip of the facts,” Kim said. “It was just so much more important than ever, for journalists to be armed with the facts that you can’t just really kind of wing it when you’re pressing the President of the United States on a question, and you have to be really prepared with the facts, the data, the context. And that was, I think, a really good lesson and is relevant for any president that we cover.”

As the frustration over false claims made by the Trump administration came to a boiling point in the pressroom on more than one occasion, many journalists were entangled in heated exchanges over the truth. While Kim herself did not wish to experience any such exchanges, she stressed the amount of planning and crafting that went into the questions she asked.

“One thing that I learned on the White House, is just how much time reporters and correspondents take to phrase their questions, whether it’s in a briefing or whether it’s in a press conference with the President of the United States, writing out exactly what you’re going to say and how you’re going to present the question,” Kim said. 

While the leadership might have shifted in Washington, Kim says the partisan divide is more present than ever. While she remains hopeful that President Joe Biden can begin to mend the divide despite the political tribalism that is Washington today, she str