Katy Tur was stationed in Europe for NBC News when she received a call asking her to come to the US to cover the Donald Trump campaign. This was a short time after his announcement. The field of candidates for the Republican nomination was already large. The presumption was that Tur would follow the campaign until Trump quit and then she could go back home to her apartment in Paris.
It didn’t turn out as planned. Instead, Tur received an assignment that ended up lasting over 500 days, flying in planes chartered by the press entourage and sleeping in hotels. Worse still her life was threatened by angry Trump supporters.
Trump’s first interactions with Tur were spent trying to lure her into being supportive of the campaign. When that failed the candidate began mentioning her in speeches as “little Katy” while she stayed in a “press pen” with other reporters, usually separated from a booing audience by no more than a row of bicycle racks. This despite multiple incidents of protesters being assaulted by Trump supporters while the candidate egged them on. The barrage of threats by Twitter and email led the Secret Service agents to tell her that they were going out of their way to make sure she was safe. Eventually NBC hired ex-agents to act as bodyguards.
Tur followed Trump through election day and suddenly found herself the main candidate to be the White House correspondent, a job traditionally going to the reporter who followed the campaign of the winning candidate. She turned the job down and currently reports from New York City.
In addition to her story of following Trump, including stories of an unwanted kiss and that she was the one to tell Trump about the release of the Access Hollywood tape, Tur also gives an insider view of traveling with a press crew. The life is one mostly of boredom and lack of Internet access on planes followed by a dump of information on landing that has to be dealt with. In between there are stories of reporters finding friends-with-benefits liaisons, desperate reporters trying to make sure they can take their hairspray on a flight, and even one reporter trying to slide down the aisle on a tray during takeoff.
Tur also tells of her being raised in a family of freelance journalist parents, the first to have a helicopter available to cover live car chases on LA television and there are some interesting, perhaps even accidental, insights into the life of a TV journalist.
If you followed much of the campaign for the many months before the election many of the stories will be familiar, though it’s considerably different in perspective through the eyes of someone on the scene and occasionally dragged into the story by the person she covered.