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The FishbowlDC Interview With TPM’s Igor Bobic

Say hello to Talking Points Memo Assistant Editor Igor Bobic. Born in Bihac, Bosnia, Bobic moved to San Diego when was 7. “I moved during the war,” he explained in a phone interview this afternoon. “Basically we left. My mom was persecuted for awhile, so that’s why we left. She comes from a Muslim background; my dad comes from a Christian background. My mom’s uncle was the Chief of Police. Due to various political factors, his opponents were trying to get to him through my mom. They threw her in jail for a couple days. Pretty much after that, they decided it was time to get the hell out of there.” What was his experience like from a  7-year-old’s perspective?  “From what I can remember, a lot of fear, basically,” he said. “I don’t talk about it too often because I’m not the only one. A lot of people went through the same thing.” Fast forward to journalism. Bobic says he really wasn’t interested in it at all until after he graduated college from the University of California-Irvine. “I was going to go to law school for some stupid reason, but then decided to give an internship with TPM a shot.” Bobic began the day after President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been shot and killed. “I got to go to the Hill, go to all the press conferences,” he recalled. “Got a job offer, ended up staying.” It’s a job that involves interacting and sometimes arguing with reporters. “I’ve gotten cussed out before, but it’s fine,” he said. You work around it. You’ve gotta know the people you work with and their temperment. It’s basically understanding where they’re coming from.” Future goals? He really wants to report on Capitol Hill.

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be? Whiskey Ginger

How often do you Google yourself? Unfortunately my mother does this job for me. It’s quite scary.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)?
(On a crystal clear connection) “I’m having some trouble hearing you I think you’re breaki –”

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Politico’s Ben White. Dude keeps it real. Just not in the afternoon. He’ll also enlighten you on any number of subjects, including but not limited to banking, entitlements, Taylor Swift and HBO’s “Girls.”

Do you have a favorite word? You wouldn’t be part of TPM if you didn’t use “fail” incessantly. We get a bonus if you can manage to sneak it into a headline.

Who are you named after and what are people’s general reaction to your name? Igor Stravinsky. “Eegor? Eyegor? Eyygor? Eeyore?….Ivan?”

Who would you rather have dinner with – NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, ABC’s Martha Raddatz or Fox News’ Megyn Kelly? Tell us why. I’d take Megyn Kelly to dinner. Karl Rove’s election night meltdown made for great TV.

The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Scandal’s Kerry Washington, Homeland’s Claire Danes or any of the women from FNC’s “The Five”. Who will it be? (None of them is not an option.) I’ve actually met some members of “The Five” (which I enjoy), and it made for awfully awkward conversation. I’d love to do that again.

What swear word do you use most often? I throw out a lot of audible “f*cks” while I’m editing. Also, it’s remarkable how much leeway I have to swear in Bosnian without anyone knowing.

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.) No one. I like sleeping in on Sundays.
On a serious note for a moment, if you could have dinner with a person who has died, who would it be? My grandfather. He fought against Nazis in former Yugoslavia and was held in a German concentration camp for two years. He died before I was born.

Who is your favorite Boybander and why? (Ezzy, Hazy, Weigel, Attackerman, Beutler) As Brian Beutler’s former intern, I would of course have to choose Slate’s Dave Weigel.

When you pig out what do you eat? Ramen for days. There’s an amazing spot that just opened in Adams Morgan, Sakuramen. Just don’t make the mistake of going on a Monday; it’s closed.

What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? We want the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible. If it’s a certain kind of underwear we don’t want to know about it. Can’t be thankful enough for my standard issue black peacoat. Barely even knew these things existed in Southern California. Now, I can’t live without it.

Pick one: Mad Men, Scandal or Homeland. Homeland, duh.

Have you ever had a tarot card reading? Never. That scene in Big where Tom Hanks makes a wish at this creepy fortune telling machine named Zoltar that wouldn’t stop bizarrely opening and closing its mouth made me swear off all
pseudoscience as a kid.

Have you ever had a near-death experience? I was in an off-road racing accident once in college. The car took a dirt turn too quickly, lost traction, barreled down about a 25ft drop nose first into a creek, and came to rest on its side. As water trickled in, I crawled out through the passenger door, luckily escaping with just a few minor scratches. I know it’s cliche to mention the “life flashing before your eyes” bit, but that’s all I can remember while I was flying through the air.

Ever been arrested? Not yet.

Tell us a secret not many people know about you. I bought a Creed album once. Let us never speak of it again.

What scares you? Loud commercials.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? I wrote an entire post with a slew of references to “Jay Z” once, sans hyphen. You can only imagine the correction (and the shame).

Have you ever been fired? No.

When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes? When I saw this moving video. Also pretty much every day at TPM — I’m incredibly lucky to work with some of the smartest and most hilarious people in the business.

When and why did you last lose your temper? See answer above about pigging out. Breakfast cereal of choice: Cocoa Pebbles. Not Fruity Pebbles, mind you. Those are a disgrace to mankind.

Who would you want to play you in a movie? Denzel Washington because he’s a badass. Morgan Freeman for the voice. Edward Norton for some crazy.

Hotel you stay at when you visit Manhattan: Hotel de Friend’s Shitty Couch With Lots O’ Cat Hair

From TMZ Founder Harvey Levin: You are about to be served your last meal. What will it be? Panda Express. I’m pretty sure I’m single-handedly putting the employees of my local Panda Express through school right now.

From Maynard Institute’s diversity news reporter Richard Prince: Best time you ever had with your clothes on? Every time I find myself in Vegas.

From Boston Globe’s Bobby Caina Calvan: “If you could take something to the grave (and afterlife) with you, what would it be?” My Seinfeld DVDs.

Finally, please come up for a question for our next FishbowlDC interviewee. This one may live on indefinitely. Make it good. Favorite bar in D.C.?

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