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FishbowlDC Interview With Bloomberg TV’s Megan Hughes

Say hello to Megan Hughes. She’s a Washington Correspondent for Bloomberg Television and comes from Cleveland.

Hughes tells us she and her family were really into sports growing up. Her father was a coach and she and her two brothers played soccer.

Hughes’s has always had an interest in television; while in high school, she served as a host for a cable access show, “Fairview Forum,” that covered the in’s and out’s of the local school system. After earning a masters in journalism from Northwestern University, her first professional job was as an on-air reporter at ATV (Aruba Television). That began a decade-long career in television news, including five years covering Washington politics. She’s also covered stories overseas including Thailand after the tsunami and along the DMZ in South Korea.

Let’s begin.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be?

Zima

How often do you Google yourself?

Never! Now, Bing on the other hand…

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)?

I honestly can’t remember ever raising my voice or swearing at a boss. I guess I’ve had a pretty great group of bosses. Or I have a really bad memory.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why?

She’s a close personal friend, but I really admire Lisa DesJardins from CNN Radio. She’ll stay up all night combing through the minutiae of the budget or reading the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, and manages to balance Capitol Hill doggedness and the highest level of integrity. I’d also give an H/T to Mike Allen for his thoughtful aggregating at ungodly hours. It is appreciated as much as my first cup of coffee — that’s a tremendous amount.

Do you have a favorite word?

My first favorite word is onomatopoeia. My second would be sizzle or splat.

What word or phrase do you overuse?

“I saw that on Twitter hours ago.”

Who would you rather have dinner with – CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, ABC’s Diane Sawyer or NBC’s Tom Brokaw? Tell us why.

I’d have to go with Diane. She’s someone I’ve admired since I was hosting a cable access show in high school, and she’s been the definition of pioneer for women in this industry.

What is the most interesting conversation you’ve had while reporting a story and who was it with?

Wow, there have been a lot in 10 years of reporting. Most recently, I’d point to the conversations I had in advance of the Supreme Court hearing healthcare case. It was fascinating to see how it impacts different sectors. Cleveland Clinic’s CEO Toby Cosgrove really opened my eyes to the complexities of hospital budgeting. I had no idea how much money hospitals lose treating Medicaid patients.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring?

Timba.

It’s 3 a.m. and you get up to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Do you check your BlackBerry?

Usually.

What word do you routinely misspell?

I misspell the last name of the Bloomberg colleague I must submit receipts to on an almost daily basis. It’s “Morisette.” Or “Morrissette.” To compensate for my frustration at an already tedious task, I take extra care to add a cheery “Thanks!!!” at the end of each email. Three exclamation points. Ron Morrisette probably thinks I’m a psychopath.

Find out what Hughes’ favorite chocolatey curse word is after the jump.

What swear word do you use most often?

I’ve actually trained myself to say “Fudge,” even if I’m alone in my apartment and slam my finger in the door. I think it is from watching so many re-runs of “A Christmas Story.” (Which, if you didn’t know, was filmed in Cleveland.)

If you weren’t a journalist what would you be?

Do I get to assume I’m talented and employed at my chosen new role? If yes, I’ll be a professional beach volleyball player. When that gets old, I’ll sit on the Supreme Court.

You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.)

Nice try. I know better than to pick favorites in this town. I will say that I’d pick reporters who really know their beats rather than pundits. I’ve also always loved the idea of a “dream team” reunion of some of my former colleagues at WIS in Columbia. We had a lot of talent move on to CNN, NBC, Fox, and elsewhere. And South Carolina politics just never stop giving.

When you pig out what do you eat?

Cheese.

If you could influence journalism in one way right now what would it be?

I’d like to see clearer lines separating pundits from journalists. Maybe pundits could wear crazy jackets like some of our traders do, so people could tell the difference. I’d also give reporters unlimited travel budgets, flexible deadlines, and job security.

When did you last cry and why?

I am a Cleveland Browns fan. Enough said.

What TV show is your guilty pleasure?

“Eastbound and Down” is horrifically inappropriate but Kenny Powers taught me a lot about what it takes to be a champion. I thought the show might have jumped the shark with the Cherry Blossom episode, but I continue to watch. “Sometimes when you bring the thunder, you get lost in the storm.”

What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia in one trip.

Pick one: Kim, Khloe or Kourtney?

Khloe.

Have you ever had a near-death experience?

Fortunately, no. But I have broken a lot of bones.

Ever been arrested?

Not that I remember.

Tell us a secret not many people know about you.

I see dead people.

What scares you?

Hackers

Who is your mentor?

Even now, more than 10 years out of Northwestern, I still consult with my Medill professors: Mary Coffman, Sharon Kornely, Joe Angotti. They’ve never stopped teaching.

What and where was your first job in journalism?

An NBC affiliate in Aruba called ATV. I think the English-speaking newscast may be defunct now, but it was an incredible experience.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment?

I am fortunate YouTube wasn’t big when I was starting out in this business. It would deflate this good fortune by sharing something here. Okay okay. There was that time outside of the Supreme Court a guy was dancing over my shoulder in a monkey suit with a giant banana. I just wish I knew if he was for or against the Affordable Care Act. It would have been a much easier ad-lib.

Have you ever been fired?

Fired? No. Laid off/unwilling recession participant? Yes.

When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes?

Listening to Mitch Hedberg on a road trip does it every time. We also have a pretty funny newsroom for a bunch of financial/policy nerds.

When and why did you last lose your temper?

Not sure—but it probably had to do with single-tracking on the Red Line.

Which movie title best describes your journalism career?

The Adjustment Bureau

Who would you want to play you in a movie?

Kristen Wiig

Name jobs you’ve had outside of journalism. (Can start as young as teenage years)

T-ball coach, flak for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Gap sales clerk, microbrewery waitress

Do you have a me-wall? If so, who’s on it?

What is a “me-wall?” That sounds crafty. I don’t have the time or patience for crafts.

Who should just call it a day?

Mike Holmgren

From TMZ Founder Harvey Levin: You are about to be served your last meal. What will it be?

Low-country boil or oyster roast. Pretty much any seafood feast enjoyed over a picnic table wrapped in brown paper with a cold beer.

Finally, please come up for a question for our next FishbowlDC interviewee. Make it good.

Outside of POTUS, who would you like to have 24-hour direct cell phone access to for stories?

 

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