I'm An NBC Reporter In Trump’s White House — Here's The Secret To My Survival

Courtesy of NBC News
By Hallie Jackson

I wear two hats for NBC: I am both the chief White House correspondent for the network and I also anchor a show on MSNBC in the mornings. You hear when you first start covering the White House that the first six months are nuts and then it chills out, you’ll get a break. That has not happened. The appetite for news about this administration is as strong and intense as it ever was, and it only keeps building.

One of the biggest stories of the last year has been the #MeToo movement and the national reckoning that we have all covered, been a part of, and grappled with. One of the things that has helped me is being able to talk to my colleagues about it. I work with some incredible people in our White House unit, and everybody has had a variety of experiences. Talking through it with everyone, being able to share experiences, ask questions, and have a sounding board in the safety of this family has been really important. It’s something that I know personally has been of great value to me.

When it comes to women in the news business, now is a time — more than ever — when you’re seeing these really strong, incredible reporters be empowered to do what they do best. There are times when I’m in the front row of the briefing room, and I look down the row and it's all women. So I do think that is an acknowledgment of how many badass women are right on the front lines covering the Trump administration.

Courtesy of NBC News

The thing I always think about every day is just: Go and do your job. Whether you’re a man or a woman becomes less a part of the story.

It’s easy to be distracted by some of the noise. The epithet of "fake news" has been a challenge a lot of folks have been trying to overcome. I don’t like the phrase. I don't think it's funny. I think that it’s misleading in a lot of ways. But that is the preferred insult from people who don't like whatever story you’re reporting on.

When you’re getting insulted, you just have to remember: Hey, I know my stuff. I know my credibility here. One thing you have to do is tune out a lot of the noise, tune out a lot of the distractions, and just focus on what you do day to day.

Getting four hours of sleep a night is not conducive to feeling particularly great most days. It’s why I do try to make sure that even when there’s super long days at work, I get at least a little bit of sleep to combat the fatigue.

But I'm always connected to my phone. You’re always going to miss something if you were to take a total break from the news. One thing I’ve tried to do, though, is be really engaged in conversations when I'm with my family or my friends. I think it's important to be present with the people you love — that's one of my resolutions this year.

Courtesy of NBC News

Another was to read one fun fiction book every month. So when I get a chance, I'm trying to read something that is not related to politics or news, just to give my brain a break. I just finished An American Marriage and The Gunners. You’re never going to read the words "Donald Trump" or "the White House" in these books. To me, that’s totally fine for those moments of escapism.

If you’re not able to get away from it a little bit, I do think your head starts to spin. I’m not sure that you can ever fully check out, but when you can have those moments where it’s not totally top of mind, that’s not a bad thing.

The sheer relentlessness and the hours — it’s constant. That’s a challenge just from a sustainability standpoint. There’s so much to cover; there’s always different avenues to report on.

You always think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but it's sort of never-ending, which is awesome because you’re covering the biggest story in the world.

As told to Lauren Holter. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.