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FishbowlDC Interview: Get Down to Business w/ Bloomberg’s Lizzie O’Leary

lizzieheadshot.jpgSay hello to Lizzie O’Leary. As a Washington correspondent for Bloomberg TV, O’Leary traveled with Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. Currently, you can catch Lizzie reporting from the White House, Treasury Department and Capitol Hill or on “Political Capital with Al Hunt.”

You moved to Bloomberg TV from NPR. What has been the “best” and “worst” parts of transitioning from radio to TV?
Getting to play with another media form is great. Doing television well involves essentially learning a new visual language, and trying to use it (always a challenge in stories that involve numbers). The worst part is losing some of the flexibility of being a one-man-band, which you can do in radio. And worrying about your hair.

What has been your biggest career challenge?
Probably going from zero to 60 covering economics. I think I covered a Fed meeting in my second week at Bloomberg. Had absolutely no idea what was going on.

What was the proudest moment in your career?
Recently, we broke the Chrysler bankruptcy, which was satisfying. But overall, I think Bloomberg did some very good coverage of the dangers of sub-prime mortgages early on. We did one on Katrina survivors with exorbitant mortgage rates that I’m still proud of.

Who is your dream interview?
Otis Redding.

What was the most embarrassing moment of your career?
I’ve told this story before – but it was just. so. excruciating. When I was a PA at ABC I made fun of an interviewee’s name, which sounded kind of dirty. Of course the microphone was hot and he heard the whole thing.

What single person played the biggest role or had the biggest influence on your career?
Melissa Block. Tough, fair, and always herself on the air. Something to aspire to.

What does your morning reading list include?
Well I’m often up at 5, so I read a lot the night before. But Bberg, the NYT, WashPost, Politico, the Journal, and dealbreaker.com, which I love.

How many emails do you receive a day? How many do you answer?
Easily 500. And I answer too many.

Who would win a fair fight — you or Tim Burger?
Seriously? Burger does not fight fair. But neither do I and I can take him.

What is one of life goal that you’ve yet to check off your list?
Racing a Shelby Mustang through the streets of San Francisco.

Who is your favorite active journalist (excluding anyone from Bloomberg)?
I have Google alerts for anything by David Rogers or Anne Garrels.

What subject line in an email grabs your attention?
“Your order has shipped!”

If you were a carbonated beverage, what would you be and why?
That’s too easy. Fizzy Lizzy. They spelled it wrong, though.

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