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White House reporter to speak April 27 at 20th Devroy Forum

| Dr. Maureen Schriner

The Ann Devroy Memorial Forum represents a special connection between Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a connection that flows through the department of communication and journalism and illustrates how Blugolds touch the world and the world gives back.

Washington Post political reporter Jenna Johnson, who has been covering Donald Trump on the campaign trail and in the White House, will speak at the 2017 Devroy Forum at 7 p.m. April 27 in UW-Eau Claire's Schofield Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Johnson spent more than a year writing about Trump's presidential campaign, traveling to 35 states to attend more than 170 political rallies and interview hundreds of Trump supporters. She has worked at The Washington Post for nearly 10 years and previously covered Maryland politics, higher education, local news and a number of breaking news stories, including the Aurora movie theater shooting, the Boston bombings and the trial of Jerry Sandusky. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Devroy Forum also will feature the awarding of the next Devroy Fellowship to a UW-Eau Claire journalism student, who will spend three weeks as an intern at The Washington Post.

“It’s shaped my outlook in so many ways,” says Courtney Kueppers of her 2015 Devroy Fellowship. Kueppers, a 2015 UW-Eau Claire journalism graduate, is now an online editor for Wisconsin Public Radio’s news division in Madison.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the annual Devroy forum and fellowship honoring Ann Devroy, a Blugold alumna who graduated with a journalism degree in 1970. Devroy built a career in news that spanned from the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram to the USA Today and The Washington Post. She spent 15 years as White House correspondent, reporting on four presidents and building a reputation as a tenacious, fair reporter. After Devroy died of cancer in 1997, the Devroy Forum was established through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation with support from her family, friends and The Washington Post staff.

For 20 years, journalists and columnists from national media in Washington, D.C., have traveled to UW-Eau Claire to speak at the Devroy Forum to share their experiences and perspective about politics on the Hill and journalism. In turn, a Blugold student has spent three weeks interning at The Washington Post.

Kueppers said her internship was a valuable experience that offered her the chance to interact with high-caliber reporters in a large news operation. The value to her was being part of a news organization operating with precision across a broad scale, on issues that matter to people, from local to international. The experience “made me a better journalist overall,” she said. One experience Kueppers recalled involved helping to report on a major winter storm that hit the D.C. area. While a winter storm in Eau Claire may be covered by one or two reporters, The Washington Post coordinated reports across the D.C. metro area to explain how the storm affected the nation’s capital. 

In the journalism program at UW-Eau Claire, Kueppers said she was inspired to work hard from her freshman year to pursue a Devroy Fellowship, and she had what she describes as “really talented classmates” working alongside her on campus. A co-worker of Kueppers at Wisconsin Public Radio, Breann Schossow, is another Blugold alumna and Devroy Fellow. 

As Devroy Forum speaker this year, Jenna Johnson will once again bring the world of Washington to UW-Eau Claire, and another Blugold will get the chance to fulfill a dream and work alongside some of the best journalists in the world at The Washington Post.