April D. Ryan is veteran journalist who has been a White House correspondent for the past 18 years. She also serves as the Washington bureau chief for the American Urban Radio Networks.

Besides covering the Obama administration, April’s responsibilities include hosting “The White House Report,” a syndicated show airing on about 300 radio stations around the country. The Morgan State grad still lives in her native Baltimore which is where she is raising two daughters, aged 7 and 12.

April Ryan’s Mom meets Hillary Clinton.

Here, she talks about her new memoir, “The Presidency in Black and White.”

Kam Williams: Hi April, thanks for the interview.

April: Thank you, Kam.

KW: I believe we have a mutual friend in Jennifer Dargan.

AR:  Yes! I love her. She’s such a sweet person.

KW: I agree. She’s one of my favorite people. I have a lot of questions for you that were submitted to me by readers. Sangeetha Subramanian says: Hello Ms. Ryan. Congratulations on your book. I wish it lots of success and look forward to reading it. Advocacy seems like a constant tango between knowing which battles to choose and when. How do you find the balance between knowing when to pull back and when to go full steam ahead?

AR: Wow! That’s a good question. You’re right, Sangeetha, it’s kind of a dance we do that’s not scripted or choreographed. We just have to kinda feel our way through. For the most part, you ask questions about current events of the day or about what’s happening in the community. If you think you can get more of an answer, you follow up. But you do have to know when to pull back, otherwise you could make a fatal mistake, because that room is unforgiving. It’s just a dance that you have to learn how to do.

KW: What interested you in writing a memoir?

April Ryan, the Clinton Interview.

AR: A friend told me that I could not sit in that room and not write one. I basically started journaling from day one. I tried to work out a book deal during the Clinton years, but it was too soon. During the Bush years we did get a bite, but the editor got fired. Then, when President Obama was elected, my agent and I looked at each other, and said, “This is it!” And it was time.

KW: Who is the most likeable of the presidents you covered, and who was the smartest?

AR: I don’t want to answer that. Let me say this. All three are likable. One thing that many people forget is that they are human beings as well as presidents. When I had a soul food dinner with Bill Clinton and other black journalists, he said, “I came because you invited me and I like you, and I like the food.” He said it made him feel like he was back home again, and that you’d be surprised how, after becoming president, people only invite you out for a fundraiser or for this or that official function, but not for a simple dinner where you could just relax and be yourself. That was so telling. I actually felt sorry for him. President George W. Bush and I laughed so much, and President Clinton and I laughed a lot. They’re more gregarious than President Obama, but he’s funny, too. And he’s a nice guy. But he’s had to be more cautious about he’s perceived. All three of the presidents are very smart, although Bush played on the fact that people had low expectations of him. He looked more like the average person than Clinton or Obama.

KW: Which president aged the most in the job?

April Ryan, with George W. Bush.

AR: All three aged a lot, but Obama has aged tremendously. That job will put a lot of stress on you. I understand why he golfs and plays basketball. He looked like a little boy when he first ran for president. Now, you look at him and go, “Who is that?”

KW: Was there a meaningful spiritual component to your childhood?

AR: Yes, most definitely. My family is very, very much into the Black Church. I grew up in church. Sunday was always a big day for us. I did Sunday School… Bible study… I was on the usher board… I sang in the choir… all that stuff. Like a lot of kids, I had a period where I rebelled and didn’t want to go to church, but God is a strength for me. And I became closer to God after my mother died 8 years ago. I think this has really been a spiritual journey because for all intents and purposes, I should not be in the White House. I did not have a traditional reporter’s job. I fell into this by accident.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

AR: To be able to talk to my mother one more time, to be able to hug her and let her know how much I love her. I just really wish that she were here. 

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

AR: This business has changed from when I started out in the Eighties. You don’t have to major in broadcasting anymore because anybody who has a personality and a big following on a blog or on Twitter, can basically get on the air, participate and say whatever you want. I wouldn’t study journalism. It could be a hobby along the way while you’re doing something else. So, the delivery system is changing, so I would really rethink the idea of entering this industry.

KW: Thanks again for the time, April, and best of luck with the book.

AR: Thank you, Kam, and have a great one.

To order a copy of The Presidency in Black and White, visit:  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1442238410/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20