Maggie Haberman, Courtesy photo
Maggie Haberman, Courtesy photo
It’s clear to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman that journalists assume people understand a lot about their processes.

“And they don’t,” she said.

Speaking at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater for the Indiana University Media School Spring Speaker Series, Haberman described how she became a White House correspondent and what it’s been like covering one of the most unconventional U.S. presidents.

Hired as a “copy kid,” Haberman performed mostly clerical work for the New York Post in the 1990s, but once a week she was a general assignment reporter.

Later in her career, a metro editor taught her two lessons: you cannot cover someone or something you hate, and never give in to bullying from the powerful when covering a story. She witnessed the editor’s commitment to the second lesson when he refused to keep a name off a list of the city’s 10 worst judges. A district attorney threatened to cut off access to his office if the editor didn’t comply. The judge’s name stayed and the editor lost access, but only for a while.

“As bad as things seem in the moment with a source or someone you’re covering, they usually calm down over time,” she said.

Haberman was reporting for Politico in February 2011 when political consultant Roger Stone started talking about Trump potentially running for president. She knew advisers were quietly helping Trump evaluate whether he should run. And she knew Stone attended those meetings, so she interviewed him for a story. Stone laid out what would happen if Trump ran; what the path would be, how much money Trump was willing to spend and what the messaging would be like.

The next day she got a statement from Trump’s staff informing her that Stone was not advising him.

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