Young political reporter sparks curiosity

Lauren Balser asks Bloomberg reporter Tyler Pager about the gender makeup of the political press corp. Photo by Julia Robbins

At 24, Tyler Pager is covering the 2020 presidential election for Bloomberg News. He worked on The New York Times metro desk for eight months. In college, he worked at The Boston Globe, Politico and USA Today. Before that, he was a Medill journalism cherub.

Pager returned to the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute to give a lecture on political reporting. He talked about finding stories, addressing audiences and using different tools for political reporting. His goal was to teach cherubs skills they could apply during high school and eventually in college.

Pager had already visited nine states for the election. He planned to travel to Iowa to follow Joe Biden the next day.

Joseph Ramos of Arlington, Virginia, said he liked Pager’s stories and his youth. Seeing a successful 24-year-old was part of the reason Ramos felt more connected to him than to other guest speakers.

“Who he is as a person is intriguing,” Ramos said. “He seemed similar to us, more so than the other lecturers. You see this guy who you don’t feel is much older than you getting stories published on the front page of The New York Times. It’s inspiring to see somebody that young be so successful.”

Lily Dozier of Camas, Washington, said Pager made her want to be a journalist even more.

“As a young person, it’s super cool to travel and explore the country,” she said. “It was encouraging because that’s a part of journalism that appeals to me.”

At the end of Pager’s lecture, a lot of cherubs raised their hands to learn more about his personal experiences reporting, his relationships with politicians, and his path to success. After the formal questions session ended, cherubs ran to line up on stage, eager to ask more questions. Pager then promised to host a fireside chat in the dorm lounge from 10-11 p.m. for anyone with more questions.

Cherubs have most of their free time at night. They watch movies and play games. Dozier chose to spend it in the lounge.

“A lot of my friends went and did something,” she said, “I said, ‘No, guys, I’m gonna ditch you. I want to talk to this guy.’”