Ann Mary Devroy
9 October 1948
|Died||23 October 1997 (aged 49)|
|Education||B.A., Journalism, 1970|
University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire
Ann Mary Devroy (// DEV-roy; 1948–1997) was an American political journalist. She was a White House correspondent for 15 years, for the Gannett Company, USA Today (1979–1985), and The Washington Post (1989–1997). She covered four presidents including Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and 10 White House chiefs of staff.
Life and career
Ann Mary Devroy was born October 9, 1948, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. While she was a journalism student at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, she interned at the Milwaukee Journal and worked as a reporter for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. After she received her bachelor's degree in 1970 Devroy began working for the Courier News, a New Jersey newspaper owned by the Gannett Company. In 1977 she moved to Gannett's Washington bureau. She covered Congress for two years before becoming White House correspondent for Gannett and its new national newspaper, USA Today.
In 1985 Devroy joined The Washington Post as political editor on the national news desk—a job that would allow her to spend more time with her young daughter. As deputy national editor, Devroy directed coverage of the 1988 Presidential campaign. In 1989 she returned to the White House beat. Andrew Rosenthal of The New York Times, who was Devroy's main competition, described her as "the scariest and most generous reporter I've ever known. She would kick your butt 24 hours a day."
When no one else pays attention, we do.
She was also a prolific reporter. Over 2,300 stories carrying Ann Devroy's byline appeared in The Post from 1989 through 1995.
Devroy was not part of the Washington TV punditocracy. She turned down frequent requests to appear on camera participating in press panels. Devroy made a rare television appearance as Tim Russert's guest on his CNBC show March 28, 1994.
As a cost-saving measure, The Post once floated the idea of ending expensive press charter flights to out-of-town presidential events, proposing instead that its reporters fly commercial. Devroy fired off a response concluding that the short-sighted move to economize "diminishes our commitment to White House coverage ... and erodes a lesson I have spent a career beating into every White House I cover: Don't screw with The Post. When no one else pays attention, we do."
"Ann Devroy was the toughest and fairest White House reporter I knew," said George Stephanopoulos, senior adviser to President Clinton in his first term. "She knew when she had a story, and she knew when to kill one. She revered the office of the presidency and the role that reporters play in keeping it honest."
In May 1994 Devroy received a journalism award from the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, for distinguished reporting on the presidency. She received the foundation's seventh annual prize for her articles on President Clinton's foreign policy and his effort to sell his domestic program, Vice President Al Gore's record and an evaluation of former president George H. W. Bush.
Devroy died at her home in Washington October 23, 1997, age 49, of uterine cancer. President Bill Clinton issued a statement that day on learning of her death: "For more than a decade, no journalist dominated and defined the White House beat with the kind of skill, shrewd analysis and gruff grace that Ann brought to her reporting."
After Ann Devroy's death, The Washington Post created an annual journalism fellowship at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. Featured speakers at the Ann Devroy Memorial Forum are listed below.
- 1998: David S. Broder
- 1999: David Maraniss
- 2000: Leonard Downie Jr.
- 2001: Gwen Ifill
- 2002: Karen DeYoung
- 2003: Lou Cannon
- 2004: Andrea Mitchell
- 2005: Mike McCurry
- 2006: Dana Milbank
- 2007: Robert G. Kaiser and Bob Woodward
- 2008: Dana Priest
- 2009: Dan Balz
- 2010: Helen Thomas
- 2011: E. J. Dionne
- 2012: Bob Edwards and Gene Weingarten
- 2013: Ruth Marcus
- 2014: Scott Wilson
- 2015: Al Kamen
- 2016: Terence Samuel
- 2017: Jenna Johnson
- 2018: Ashley Parker
- 2019: Tracy Grant
"Her reputation was one of fairness and accuracy, a gift for straight and impartial news reporting, and a tenacious pursuit of information," wrote Martha J. Kumar in The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics. "Both in interest and in style, Ann Devroy was ideally suited to the White House beat. Devroy not only had the persistence required to strip the bark off the White House publicity tree, but she also possessed an avid interest in understanding the institution she covered, including the rhythms of its operations over time. ... Ann Devroy established a lasting standard of how the White House should be covered."
- Smith, J. Y. (October 24, 1997). "Ann Devroy Dies; Covered White House for Post". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-10-14.
- Broder, David S. (October 24, 1997). "The Core of the Press Corps; Ann Devroy Fiercely Embraced a Tough Job". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-10-14.
- McCaslin, John, The Washington Times, October 24, 1997
- Kaiser, Robert G., remarks at Ann Devroy's memorial service November 1, 1997; reprinted in the pamphlet Ann Devroy of The Washington Post: Colleagues Remember a Woman and Her Work, page 41
- Shepard, Alicia C. (September 1995). "The Pundit Explosion". American Journalism Review. University of Maryland, College Park: Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Archived from the original on June 1, 2012. Retrieved 2016-10-14.
- March 28, 1994, episode information, Tim Russert, CNBC
- News Bureau (May 10, 2004). "George Stephanopoulos Pledges $25,000 to UW-Eau Claire Foundation's Devroy Fund". University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Archived from the original on May 20, 2014. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
- "Past Reporting Prize Recipients". Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. Retrieved 2016-10-14.
- "Two Post Reporters Win Ford Journalism Awards; Presidential, Pentagon Coverage Cited". The Washington Post. May 7, 1994. Retrieved 2016-10-14.
Ann Devroy was honored for presidential coverage and Barton Gellman for coverage of the Pentagon and defense issues.
- "Ann Devroy, 49, who covered the White House". The Baltimore Sun. October 24, 1997. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
- Clinton, William J., "Statement on the Death of Ann Devroy" October 23, 1997. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara
- "History of the Forum". Ann Devroy Memorial Forum. Communication and Journalism Department, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-14.
- "Devroy Forum Presenters". Ann Devroy Memorial Forum. Communication and Journalism Department, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Archived from the original on 2018-01-07. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
- Wermund, Emily (March 16, 2018). "Devroy Memorial Forum to feature Washington Post White House reporter Ashley Parker". University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
- Wermund, Emily (March 19, 2019). "Devroy Memorial Forum to feature Washington Post managing editor Tracy Grant". University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
- Kumar, Martha J. (March 1998). "Ann Devroy, the Washington Post: 1948-1997". The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics. 3 (2): 131–134. doi:10.1177/1081180X98003002013.
- C-SPAN Video Library:
- Media Coverage of Clinton's First Year, March 15, 1994 (1 hour 38 minutes, with Charles Royer, Mark Gearan, Thomas Oliphant, Charles Peters, Margaret D. Tutwiler)
- White House Press Corps (vignette), April 26, 1993 (8 minutes, with Larry McQuillan, Helen Thomas, Brit Hume, Wolf Blitzer)
- News Discussion, May 7, 1985 (57 minutes, with Carl Rutan)
- War Powers Act, September 16, 1983 (60 minutes, with Brian Lamb)
- News Discussion, February 10, 1983 (50 minutes, with Bruce Collins)