Francesca Chambers brings her passion for journalism to her new role as USA TODAY White House correspondent
Bob Sillick | for editor and editor
A journalism degree can take the budding reporter far, but it’s a lifelong passion for journalism that recently led Francesca Chambers to be named Gannett’s White House correspondent for USA TODAY. She shared the roots of this passion during a webinar in late May 2022 with Mike Blinder, host of E&P Reports and editor of Editor & Publisher.
“I was always interested in journalism when I was a kid. I started a little newsletter about my house and my neighbors,” Chambers said. “That interest turned into a passion in middle school and high school. , where great teachers encouraged me to follow my passion. This allowed me to become co-editor of my high school newspaper and put me on a course to take and graduate from the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Kansas.
Discover the full “E&P Reports” Vodcast interview
Chambers followed the advice she shares with journalism students today by taking an entry-level job as a web editor straight out of college. This first and valuable learning experience in the profession launched her on the path to the White House.
Serendipity often leads to opportunity, and Chambers was in the right place, in Washington, DC, at the right time. The Washington Examiner expanded its political and government coverage and offered Chambers a job as a reporter in 2011. More important to his career, The Examiner allowed him to cover a wide range of stories, including many of his own.
After three years at The Examiner, she joined DailyMail.com in April 2014 as a senior White House correspondent. The 2016 presidential election put Chambers in a position to be integrated into the campaigns of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. She is also often on the road with Republican candidates.
While at DailyMail.com, she covered the Obama and Trump administrations and was part of the DailyMailTV team that received an Emmy in 2019. Her experience and reputation led her to be named McClatchy’s senior correspondent at the White House in October of the same year. She remained with the company until she joined USA TODAY.
Chambers has had many mentors throughout his career. Yet she cites, in particular, the advice and impact of Susan Page, of USA TODAY in Washington, DC, bureau chief and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, and Colleen McClain Nelson, editor of The Sacramento Bee and McClatchy California regional editor. .
As many professions focus on promoting DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), Chambers is aware that she represents a role model for journalism in a major medium.
“I encourage young journalism students and working journalists to be brave and confident as there are more DEI opportunities. All those tasked with covering the 2022 election cycle should not be afraid to reach out to candidates and ask the hard questions,” Chambers said. “Cultivate a wide range of sources, including those independent of the candidate you’re covering.”
Chambers is heavily involved in promoting journalism as a profession as she sits on the board of directors of the White House Correspondents’ Association and its public mission committee, which awards scholarships to journalism students.
Bob Sillick has held numerous leadership positions and served myriad clients over his 47 years in marketing and advertising. He has been a freelance/contract content researcher, writer, editor and manager since 2010. He can be reached at [email protected].