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From the schoolhouse to the White House

Posted on January 29, 2018
By Emily Stone, reprinted from InterCom
Top photo provided by Josh Dawsy. President Trump with Dawsey in the Oval Office.


Walking into a room full of eager Journalism 501: Freedom, Responsibility and Ethics of the Mass Media students for a guest lecture can be tough, but when you're used to reporting on the White House, almost anything else is easy.

Josh Dawsey started his career at The Wall Street Journal as a City Hall reporter, then got picked up by POLITICO to be a White House correspondent. Very recently, he was poached by The Washington Post. 

An article in Vanity Fair by Joe Pompeo describes Dawsey as, “an energetic, ink-stained- wretch type with a hint of South Carolina drawl.”

Dawsey, a 2012 graduate from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, is making a name for himself in the political realm. If you’re on Twitter following the quick world of political reporting, Dawsey pops up at least ten times a day. If he’s not the one writing the article, then he’s being referenced by colleagues.

“He’s one of the most influential reporters on the Trump administration,” said Randy Covington, one of Dawsey’s former professors. Dawsey’s influence on journalism is what brought him back to the University of South Carolina on Oct. 26 to accept an award as one of the SJMC’s Outstanding Young Alumni. As a favor to his former professor, he agreed to speak to Covington’s class before the awards ceremony later in the evening.

Fresh off the plane from Washington D.C., suitcase in hand, Dawsey rolled in, ready to share knowledge and advice with juniors and seniors.

He started off with "It's fun."

Before moving up in the print world, Dawsey began his writing career at the University of South Carolina. His senior year he was the editor-in-chief of The Daily Gamecock, giving him background in a fast-paced environment. 

Another big advantage he had before graduating was hands-on experience. Carolina pushes students to get as many internships as possible. “I worked for the Free Times, but The Daily Gamecock is what really prepared me.”

Much like the current presidential administration, he moves fast. A story that was relevant three hours from when it was posted has the chance of becoming obsolete and outshined by something else.

“If you want to do well, you have to be nimble,” said Dawsey.

Balancing credibility and a good story hasn’t been an issue in the past, but the concerns of “fake news” have increased scrutiny on journalists. When facing this problem, Dawsey said, “I don’t write anything that I don’t check.”

“If I could give my college self any advice, it would be to slow down. Weekends are no longer cherished in the real world.”