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Former press secretary Dana Perino delivered UNC's 2014 Park Lecture

Dana Perino  said when she became the Press Secretary for President George W. Bush, the first female Republican to hold the position, it was not a job she had planned. 

“Every single time I have made a big plan, something’s happened,” she said. “You know the saying, 'If you want to make God laugh, make a plan?' That’s happened to me.”

Perino delivered UNC’s Roy H. Park Distinguished Lecture Thursday evening to students and faculty in Carroll Hall.

She was the second female to serve as White House press secretary and worked on the Bush administration senior staff from 2007-09. 

Perino spoke about a range of topics from forgiveness in politics and journalism to the criticism she has faced.

“Criticism is as fleeting as popularity," she said. "You don't have to worry about it."

Perino worked as a journalist before entering politics. She also worked in public relations before working at the White House. Now, she is a Fox News co-host of a daily news show called "The Five."

Perino said her love affair with news began at home with her family.

“When I was in third grade, my dad started a tradition with me that I had to read The Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post every day before he got home from work,” she said, “And I had to pick out two articles to discuss with him before dinner.”

She told students who want to learn how to communicate to keep working.

“Just when you think you know how to write, you don’t,” she said.

Junior journalism major Augusta DeKemper said regardless of her political affiliation, Perino had a lot of good advice to offer students.

“I thought it was really refreshing to hear a woman’s point of view, especially a conservative woman’s point of view,” DeKemper said. 

Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tar Heel Nicole Comparato , journalism professor Daniel Kreiss and Christopher Helton, president of the Carolina Association of Black Journalists,  were on the question panel and asked Perino about her experiences.

Helton said having Perino as a guest lecturer helped promote something the School of Journalism's professors teach students: objectivity.

“In order to be more engaged and have an opinion rooted in substance, we need to be able to understand both sides of the fence,” Helton said. 

“So being able to bring in someone like Dana Perino, who has a lot of experience with the Republican party with President Bush, we’re able to gain insight that we can add to opinions that we are going to form.”

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