The President Communicates
The ability to communicate effectively and efficiently to the American public is one hallmark of a successful presidency. Mastering the media of the period, whether newspapers, newsreels, radio, television, or even the internet, is crucial to a president's capacity to excite people and convey the hopes and aspirations of his administration.
For some, the challenge of keeping up with the technological changes and demands in various media greatly limited their presidencies. Others achieved much politically because of their proficiency. Franklin Roosevelt, for instance, used the radio masterfully to speak directly to the American people, and Ronald Reagan's ease with television earned him the nickname "the Great Communicator."
Communicating the Presidency
James K. Polk (1845-1849) was the first presidential candidate whose nomination was telegraphed, from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., in May 1844.
William McKinley (1897-1901) was the first chief executive to appear on a newsreel while president.
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) established the first White House press room.
William H. Taft's (1909-1913) burial was the first presidential funeral broadcast on radio.
Warren G. Harding (1921-1923) installed the first radio in the White House.
Calvin Coolidge's (1923-1929) 1923 State of the Union Address was the first such speech to be broadcast on radio.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) was the first chief executive to appear on television as president, at the opening of the New York City World's Fair in 1939.
Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) held the first televised State of the Union Address in 1947.
John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) held the first live televised news conference in 1961.
William J. Clinton (1993-2001) gave the first presidential Internet address to the nation, in June of 2000.