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New Kid on the Beat

New TV Series: How Do I Get a Job At…?

Mediabistro TV has launched a brand new series called “Score That Job,” which becomes the fifth original series to go into production. Starring  Mediabistro’s career expert, Vicki Salemi, the series tackles the question, “How do I get a job at…?”

Salemi, who has interviewed the likes of Katie Couric, Barbara Walters and Tony award winner Bernadette Peters, relentlessly grills HR execs and hiring managers and uncovers the truth about how to land a job at some of the most popular hip media companies out there. Salemi is undoubtedly an experienced interviewer. When she first began, she was a freelancer working for College Bound Teen magazine and had a day job in HR. “Angelina Jolie was my first celebrity interview ever in 2004…I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, Ben Affleck, Meredith Viera, she’s incredibly smart and savvy, Lady Gaga in 2008, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matt Damon, Madonna, and Girard Butler, it goes on and on.”

What are Salemi’s interviewing tips? “The key to a great interview is persistence and preparation,” she told FishbowlDC in a phone interview this afternoon. “Being on air [means] it flows more like a conversation. If I’m conducting a phone interview, the interview can go a different way or move in a different direction. When the cameras are on, you are in the hot seat. It’s also not letting them get away with anything, really pushing, getting granular. I think the best questions sometimes come up organically.” What’s more, she added, ask open ended questions. “I learned this from sorority rush. Ask, ‘how did you feel at this time, what was your biggest barrier?’” For the adventurous journalist, she recommends taking an improv class, which she did last year.

But not every interview goes well. What then? Read more

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WTF? With Matt Lewis

Before beginning this installment of our regular “WTF? with Matt Lewis” feature, our look at the sometimes unusual topics raised by Lewis, we need to introduce members of the cast.

Matthew Lewis: The moderate conservative who often publicly calls out fellow conservatives and Republicans for the sake of remaking the party in his image. He writes at The Daily Caller and The Week.

Ron Meyer: Self-identified conservative activist, self-promoter and press secretary for American Majority Action (AMA), a right wing nonprofit which aims to reduce the size of the federal government.

Celia Bigelow: Youth engagement director at AMA. Also, Meyer’s main squeeze (girlfriend).

Matthew Boyle: Journalist/activist of Breitbart News and noted ankle-biter.

Lewis published an “open letter” Sunday in The Daily Caller to take Meyer to task for making false predictions on FNC. Previously, Meyer told the network’s vastly Republican viewing audience two things: There was a coalition of House Republicans essentially staging a coup to remove John Boehner as speaker. More importantly, he said Boehner knew of the plan and would resign.

His second false statement was a prediction Boyle bolstered by reporting on it at Breitbart.

As we now know, Boehner was reelected by all but a handful of his fellow Republicans. Boyle responded to a request for comment but did not address the matter at hand.

Lewis posted his open letter after Meyer declined to appear on Lewis’s podcast. (We’re told Meyer initially said he’d like to do the show, but his boss refused to let him.) “I was hoping to casually drop some advice,” wrote Lewis in the letter. “But despite the fact that your bosses at American Majority Action had no problem allowing you to go on TV and talk shit about Boehner, talking with me on the record was somehow deemed too risky.”

So, Lewis shared his advice in the letter… Read more

Marty Baron’s Plan for WaPo: Revive the Metro Section

Marty Baron, the new executive editor of WaPo, spoke to The New Republic‘s Paul Starobin in a story out today on what happens now? He addresses where Baron will take the publication in the post Marcus Brauchli era. The TNR piece by the ex-Washingtonian bluntly says Baron didn’t offer many details as to what he will do, but he reads between the lines.

“In our conversation, Baron was for the most part unforthcoming as to his vision for the newspaper, with one telling exception—Metro coverage,” he writes, adding that at the Boston Globe, Baron shut down all foreign bureaus to focus on local coverage.

The story quotes NYT‘s Peter Baker: “There’s a perception it’s not the paper it was.” Starobin also says Baron still has a grudge against NYT‘s David Carr for writing a column saying local-oriented newspapers are irrelevant.

TNR doesn’t shy away from blatantly insulting WaPo’s political coverage Read more

The Hill Gets a New Publicity Team

If you’re a reporter covering the media you may have noticed new pitches flowing in for The Hill from Elizabeth Luke at High10 Media, a New York-based communications agency that also reps The Hollywood Reporter, Norman Lear‘s People for the American Way, NatGeo Network, Time Inc., Adweek, A&E Networks and Simon Cowell. The Hill has notoriously not had a publicist in a good while ever since Tricia Barba left the role in 2011 after about a year. Before Barba, they went years without a publicist. In January 2012 they brought on Megan McCourt as an editorial assistant to handle social media.

Now they’re giving High10 Media a try.

It’s hardly surprising that the publication would secure a New York-based firm considering The Hill‘s hands-on owner, Jimmy Finkelstein, resides in Manhattan. But what is a little confusing is that they’re not actually letting Luke autonomously speak to the media. When I asked her questions about whether she will serve in an actual role of spokeswoman, ironically she never replied, despite saying repeatedly in her emails, “Feel free to contact me with questions.” Editor Hugo Gurdon also did not reply to simple, basic questions we sent yesterday.

So who is actually speaking for The Hill? That would be High10 Media CEO Lisa Dallos, who said Tuesday morning that she would be handling my questions, but had to talk later because she was on an airplane. She explained quickly by email, “We were retained by The Hill to help promote its editorial and business interests — stories, events, special reports, and so forth. We work very closely with the client, in terms of what gets promoted. Elizabeth is part of the HIGH10 team working on the account.” On the subject of Luke, she said, “Elizabeth works with me, I run High10 Media, I oversee all the work with The Hill. I am the one to speak to.”

I told Dallos that Luke not being able to talk seems fishy. She replied, “Funny u think this is fishy. This would be a lot better if I could talk with you when I land.” She added, “It is very straightforward and not complicated. I am the CEO of company and lead work on all our clients Elizabeth as well as other members of the high 10 team work collaboratively to fulfill our clients needs.”

Luke seems qualified to answer questions and Dallos said I could call her or Luke anytime. Before joining High10 Media, Luke spent three years at Nielsen, most recently as a corporate communications analyst. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Communications. While it appears that Luke will not serve as an actual spokeswoman for the publication, Barba’s role also did not involve commenting on the record to reporters.

In a morning phone interview with Dallos, she said she’d be handling all questions related to the editorial and business sides of the publication. “Any of those questions feel free to call me,” she said. “I think the hope to have a coordinated communication effort under the guidance of Hugo and that we would be able to properly disseminate information to media on multiple subjects, whether it’s breaking news, evergreen and on announcements of whatever kind, both on the business side and the editorial side.”

So far, Luke typically sends out one email a day featuring a story they mark as “Breaking News.” Luke’s email intro on most pitches is as follows:

Good morning, I represent The Hill at High10 Media and am sharing this breaking story with you (link and text below) because it aligns with your beat and I thought you and your readers might be interested.  If you decide to cover this story, please link to the article and credit to “The Hill.”  Feel free to contact me with questions.  Thank you!

But maybe don’t take that second to last line too seriously. That’s not exactly true.

Another Day, Another Round of Sycophantic Love for Michelle Fields

FishbowlDC’s latest post on The Daily Caller’s Michelle Fields brought about another round of smears and attacks from her Republican friends. I can understand the reflexive defense of someone on the right. But what I can’t understand is how someone, anyone, can, after taking a moment to think about the criticism of her “work” as a “journalist,” could reach the conclusion that she is some new, exotic kind of journalist.

There are a few questions to ask yourself.

1) What is her “beat”? What does Michelle cover? It’s haphazard, at best. She goes to where liberals are and records herself asking them questions designed to elicit an outcome she knows she’ll get and wants. That’s not journalism, that’s activism. Which is fine, activism has its place, but it’s not journalism.

2) What stories has she broken? Not every story has to be Watergate or Presidents hooking up with interns, but they also can’t be “I was pushed by police.” Journalists cover stories, they don’t manufacture them.

3) What is the difference between what she’s doing for The Daily Caller and what she did for Students for Liberty? One is a news outlet, the other is an activist organization. The answer is easy – there is zero difference. She is still doing activism, it just has an outlet that lends it credibility.

Michelle is an activist, plain and simple. And not even a particularly interesting one. Has she ever written any pieces? More words have been written about her on The Daily Caller (making herself the story) than have been written by her. At least “ambush journalist” Jason Mattera confronts people in power and asks them questions the mainstream media won’t, like Vice President Joe Biden. That’s actual journalism. Michelle doesn’t seem to have an interest in doing things like that.

Redstate’s Erick Erickson is a partisan and an activist, but he breaks news too. He’s not afraid of the truth, even if it makes someone on his side look less than favorably. He’s not quite Bob Novak, but he’s not that far away either. Speaking of Novak, he was a partisan, but he did actual journalism. He had sources, he made phone calls, he got original information, all the things that used to be called “leg work” by journalists. Any many still do it.

Try to find Slate’s Dave Weigel or Kerry Pickett of TWT and you’ll discover that they’re in the field. They’re in Iowa, New Hampshire, political events, talking with newsmakers and breaking news. Look for Michelle and she’s at an insignificant press conference asking people to make a donation to the IRS on her iPad. No one in their right mind would do that, and it wasn’t even original. How many op-ed pieces had been written at that point telling Warren Buffet he could write a check to the government while he was asking for higher taxes?

I don’t mind a hack, I don’t care for unoriginal hacks.

Michelle isn’t the only activist masquerading as a “journalist.” The most noted example of this the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein.

For those of you on the right who want to mindlessly claim FishbowlDC is a left-wing hack site, explain why this site broke the Weigel JournoList story and defended publishing private emails attacking the very conservatives he was covering by saying “this is serious for a blogger who covers conservatives. We have a vested interest in knowing and informing that a conservative beat journalist has a clear and angry opposition to the subject of his reporting.”, the story of Klein briefing Chiefs of Staff of Senate Democrats, called out Politico for ignoring Andrew Breitbart’s scoop in the Weinergate scandal, and many more.

The answer is you can’t.

This is a website dedicated to covering the media, not exposing media bias or taking sides in the media battle. If that’s what you want, there are plenty of sites out there that do just that, and do it well. This isn’t one of them.

There is no agenda here, as much as both sides would like there to be because it would help them dismiss it. It wasn’t “gossip” that Klein briefed the Democratic staffers — he eventually had to admit and explain it in his own newspaper.

That, and many other stories we’ve covered, is how we ended up with our criticizing of Fields. As much as some on the right would like to endear themselves to her for whatever reason, if you get your news from her you are not getting news at all. You are getting the opinions of 22-year-old activist who hasn’t been out of college a full year. That Brian Lamb would take an hour to get her “insights” can only be described as a quest for young fanboy viewers or insight into a new form of journalism some actually find appalling. And shame on Lamb for not asking Fields tougher, challenging questions about her “journalism” that many in the field are wondering.

BigGov Contributor Dan Riehl, who would like to see Michelle in a wet T-shirt contest (pretty sexist, if you ask me), tweeted out a passionate defense of Michelle’s “I get my news from Facebook” attitude from America Power Blog. It’s a glowing review of her CSPAN interview that barely touches the content of the interview and ignores the concept. Unsurprisingly, Michelle thanked them for “the honest post.”

Last night Michelle, ever the modest person, tweeted out that her interview was the 4th most watched interview on CSPAN. Well, videos of kittens and men getting hit in the crotch get a lot of views too. That doesn’t make them “journalists.”

It’s a Christmas Party, Damn It!

Last night we crashed the Heritage Foundation Media Christmas Party held at their posh Capitol Hill headquarters on Massachusetts Avenue because, well, why not? It’s Christmas, the season of giving, and what would giving be without someone there to take it? ‘Tis the season to party crash, after all, and it is the unofficial sport of Washington. Well, right after Hill staffers hooking up with interns.

First impression: Nice digs! The Heritage Foundation has some bucks, and they dropped some buck on the lobby of their 7th floor theater, where the party was held.

Second impression: This was a Christmas party, damn it! None of this PC “Happy Holidays” garbage here, it’s the Christmas season. Christmas tree glistening away in the reflection of the ceiling to floor windows overlooking Union Station, Christmas ties and freshly nogged eggs. OK, maybe not the egg part, but the rest was all Christmas.

Third impression: Top-shelf booze. This soiree was for media types, after all, and even conservative media types love them some alcohol. There was plenty to be had here, Bombay Sapphire, Absolute, etc. No bathtub gin/rail swill here, that stuff is for liberals and this was a 1% party.

Fourth impression: These people know how to eat. The buffet spread had crab cakes (delicious), chicken breast slices (delicious), tiny wieners baked in croissants (huh?). Yes, the tiny wieners were a bit out of place, but they weren’t all that bad, actually. And the dessert table? A diabetic coma waiting to happen, but what a way to go.

Fifth impression: Who goes to a conservative media party? Turns out a lot of people. The room was full of Heritage staff, Hill staff and media types from Human Events, The Washington Times, Roll Call, The Hill, Fox News, etc. Surprising was the age range. While there was a disproportionate share of curmudgeons there (looking at you, Cal Thomas, John Gizzi and Al Regnery), there were a lot of young people there too. Jason Mattera, the soon-to-NOT-BE-Editor-in-Chief of Human Events, Vince Coglianese from the Daily Caller, Conn Carroll from the Washington Examiner, and boybander extraordinaire, Slate’s own Dave Weigel.  Also in the crowd, towering over it and the only thing in the room taller than the Christmas tree was Jim Pinkerton, the 6 foot 9 inch writer/contributor for Fox News.

Overall impression: A much better party than expected. Though, admittedly, the expectations were low. Probability of adding this party to the must-crash list for next year? High.

Stinking Up the Joynt

Washingtonian‘s newest blogger Carol Joynt spent the last three years feeding scooplets about herself to outlets like DCRTV, FishbowlDC and countless other Washington sites. Over the last year and a half we’ve received numerous requests to cover her events, some of which we have. But by all indication, DCRTV’s frightening proprietor Dave Hughes has been the most generous in indulging Joynt’s requests for publicity (although we never actually saw him at a Q & A Cafe — not sure the Ritz lets those types in). And, when Joynt headed to the Washingtonian, Hughes didn’t disappoint: He got an early heads up about Joynt’s move from New York Social Diary and wrote it up.

So Joynt gets to Washingtonian and her first in-depth profile is about…guess who? That’s right, Hughes, the “journalist” who lifts more copy than anyone in Washington. See here, here and here. Is that going to be Capital Comments’ legacy, you scratch my back I scratch yours? Or, kiss up to Carol and the magazine will repay you kindly? That visual is troublesome — and we don’t want to contemplate scratching Hughes’s back literally or otherwise.

We reached out to Joynt for comment on why she chose Hughes as her first subject. She claims Hughes wasn’t first to get her news because of her but rather because of a Washingtonian press release. We hardly think Washingtonian has Hughes on speed dial. What’s more, when Joynt sent FBDC the news, there was no release. So, sorry, we call B.S. on that one.

In her story, Hughes astonishingly says people steal stories from him. Joynt, in a subsequent email to FishbowlDC, says all media reporters accuse one another of stealing. But the truth is, not everyone steals. Contrary to Hughes’s vivid imagination and Joynt’s sweeping the matter under the rug by saying everyone does it, here in the Fishbowl we literally countdown the seconds from when we post something local to when it suddenly and mysteriously lands on DCRTV.

Self-pimping and back scratching are all part of a long tradition at Washingtonian‘s Capital Comment, so perhaps Joynt will fit right in. See how Editor Garrett Graff maneuvered his work into favors in a piece by Wonkette from 2007.

To be sure, Joynt insists writing on Hughes was no special favor. “Nah, no favor,” she wrote by email. “He’s posted about me but principally about my show, which is legit, and going to Wash is legit, too. He got that from their press release. Q&A stuff he gets in emails sent to my list. He’s a good story because all the people in local radio and TV read him religiously. Besides, my experience with Washington media is that everyone is routinely accusing everyone else of theft. They can take it up with each other.”

Some journalists around town were skeptical of Joynt’s hire. A Georgetown “friend” remarked to FBDC on condition of anonymity: “Carol’s a dear friend but anyone who’s spent time with her knows that Carol’s all about Carol. I’m surprised Cathy Williams didn’t know that. There’s worry amongst some of Carol’s Georgetown friends that the improvements desperately needed to resuscitate the Cap Comment section won’t happen and that she’ll  damage the magazine by filling it with vanity projects and source greasing like this one.”

With a friend like that, well, who needs friends?

Cohen’s Politico Email Will Soon Expire

Friends and sources of Richard Cohen (a.k.a. the door knob), now with CQ and previously with Politico, are receiving this email about Cohen’s new beat and how to reach him:

“I am pleased to report that I have become the House leadership reporter for
Congressional Quarterly. Effective immediately, please change your email listings for me to: My previous address of will discontinue in the next few days. Thanks for your assistance.

Rich Cohen”

Journos Weigh in on Daily Caller’s Newest Hire

The Interwebz are abuzz with news that the Daily Caller has hired Ginni Thomas.  The Tea Party activist, anti-health care reform lobbyist, and the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will serve as a special correspondent for the Caller.

In a Business Wire story this morning, Daily Caller publisher Neil Patel said, “Ginni is always upbeat, she has an unbelievable amount of energy and enthusiasm and she knows our political system as well as anyone in Washington. We could not imagine a better person to take on this role.”

But others are wondering if all that energy is really enough to work as a journalist. And most are coming to the conclusion that no, it probably isn’t.

Slate‘s Dave Weigel writes about Ginni Thomas’ “misadventures” and career changes over the past year or so and says “she prefers to ignore requests and then snipe [journalists] from some safe vantage point about how unfair they are to her.”

Jennifer Epstein and Ken Vogel at Politico report: “Thomas comes to the Daily Caller job without any journalism experience, though in a speech last year she did encourage supporters to stop following traditional media and to instead turn to cable news, the Internet and her own website to find information. Blasting people with ‘an extreme point of view’ who have ‘burrowed into the media, our churches, schools and publishing houses,’ she suggested listening to conservative talkers Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin instead.” Vogel wondered on Twitter: “Given her difficulty holding a job, how long before Ginni Thomas quits @DailyCaller” before linking to Weigel’s piece.

Salon‘s Alex Pareene headlines his post: “Tucker Carlson hires Ginni Thomas to interview people, for some reason” and refers to Thomas as a “paranoid conservative activist.” Pareene’s “not convinced she can string together coherent sentences. She’s a paranoid weirdo who seems more than slightly dumb.” No mincing of words there.

The Daily Beast joked that “even detractors are greeting her hire with an admission that she’s willing to make the tough phone calls, a skill that should hold her in good stead in journalism,” referring to an odd phone call Thomas made to Anita Hill in October, requesting an apology for sexual abuse allegations Hill made about Clarence Thomas during his Senate confirmation hearings more than 20 years ago.

Why Mickey Kaus Loves The Daily Caller (and Hates Most Everyone Else)

Mickey Kaus‘ blog, kausfiles, is officially at The Daily Caller, and officially at home in Washington media culture as he bashed other news organizations in one of his first posts.

Kaus says working at Newsweek was “sort of like setting up your tent in a bombed out building.” He describes editor after editor leaving the publication and, knowing the “occupying army” would soon come for him, he called Tucker Carlson. (He didn’t contact The Daily Beast, he writes, because he was afraid they’d either fire him or hire him. He wasn’t enthused about either option.)

Kaus, who has been at his new home all of a few days, paints his new publication as a nirvana that other outlets couldn’t possibly be. He prefers The Daily Caller because “the people here seem to be actually having fun, while the people at The Daily Beast seem to be having a desperate sort of faux-fun as they try to madly generate playing hits.” He thinks Tina Brown, though talented, is wasted on the Internet.

At The Daily Caller, Kaus observes, “there is a slightly disorganized, understaffed rough-and-ready attitude that’s vastly preferable to a perfectly organized hierarchy of editors who busy themselves trying to shape your copy.” Kaus likes that. And it didn’t hurt that his new site quickly set up a suitable blog template for kausfiles, “a technical feat Slate was unable to accomplish in a year and a half.”

That enough sucking up for one post by Kaus or what?

Read the rest here.