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Salena Zito        

National Political Reporter for the Washington Examiner & Contributor for the Wall Street Journal

Salena Zito is a veteran political reporter with more than 20 years of award-winning experience in print and broadcast journalism. With her trusty Jeep that shows 400,000 miles on the odometer and a refusal to travel on interstates, Zito is a reporter who harkens to an older generation of journalism, one that listens to the stories of everyday Americans in places far outside the artificial bubbles of Manhattan and the Beltway. This willingness to travel and listen made Zito one of the only journalists to understand the outcome of the 2016 election long before her peers. One of the last scribes of middle America, she famously identified the root cause of their failed coverage and underestimation of Donald Trump by concluding, “The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

Zito is currently a national political reporter for the Washington Examiner, a post she has held since 2016, and is a regular contributor for the Wall Street Journal. She was previously a columnist at the New York Post and The Atlantic. Throughout her career, she was a reporter and columnist for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where her columns were must-reads for those seeking to understand the Pennsylvania political landscape. Her columns have been syndicated in more than 200 local, regional, and national newspapers nationwide. Zito was a CNN contributor for five years and remains a frequent broadcast guest for her insights on the American electorate.

In 2018, she won the New York State Associated Press’ first-place column award for her coverage of American politics outside the DC Beltway, as well as winning the Barbara Olsen Award for Excellence and Independence in Journalism. She has won the prestigious Clarion Award an unprecedented three times. Throughout her more than two decades in print journalism, she has interviewed every president and vice president in the 21st century. Zito was one of the few national reporters who accurately predicted Donald Trump's rise. She credits her insights and reporting to her unique approach to exploring American communities. She does not fly nor use interstates when reporting, instead traversing the country’s backroads that link the American heartland.

Named one of the best books of the year by Foreign Affairs in 2019, Zito co-authored "The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics." The book was the culmination of years of on-the-ground, shoe-leather journalism that saw her interview citizens of long-forgotten towns and rural communities throughout the “middle of somewhere” America. A rarity in the modern U.S. media landscape, Zito’s bestseller received bipartisan praise, with Jake Tapper asserting that “her voice channeling and explaining…voters is invaluable for the Trump era.” Rush Limbaugh claimed that “Salena Zito is unique: a truth-telling reporter who found the America that elected Donald Trump.” Put bluntly, Peggy Noonan stated, “If you want a fuller understanding of the political moment we’re in, and you should, you read Salena Zito. I mean this both literally and seriously.”

Zito has taught journalism at the Harvard Institute of Politics, Washington and Lee University, the University of Pittsburgh, and was a Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College. Before her journalism career, she worked for the Pittsburgh Steelers and held staff positions for both Democratic and Republican elected officials in Pennsylvania. A Pittsburgh native, she currently lives in Western Pennsylvania.

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