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Posts Tagged ‘Andy Plesser’

Geeks Unite at the W in Puerto Rico

Beet TV is hosting its two-day executive digital retreat in Vieques, Puerto Rico. They hope you can join them for their FIVE HOUR webcast with digital leaders from Bravo/NBCU, Dailymotion, Digitas, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the Gannett Company, Forrester Research, GroupM,  MediaVest, MIT, Videology, the Washington Post Company and Zeebox.

The live webcast is on February 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Interviews will take place at the W Hotel in Vieques.  The event focuses on “developments and trends in the fast-emerging medium of digital video.” Hosting the live show are Rob Norman of GroupM, Jason Pontin of MIT,  strategist Ashley Swartz and Beet.TV’s Andy Plesser.

See the full list of panelists… Read more

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Party Host: ‘Don’t Take This the Wrong Way, But It’s Time to Get Naked’

Above: Just behind Finnish Embassy Spokesman Kari Mokko and the winding staircase is a door leading downstairs to the sauna. Below: A beet concoction.

I knew I was in for a unusual evening when the mustachioed dark suited man at the door of the Finnish Embassy greeted me with an emphatic “Welcome to Finland!” It was hearty, solid. He was going way out there with the Fantasy Finland experience.

Three things I knew going in:

1. There would be a Finnish buffet.

2. At some point in the evening we would enjoy a sauna.  Towels would be provided. It would not be co-ed.

3. A Tweeting stranger warned that Kari Mokko, the Embassy Press Secretary and Spokesman, usually goes sans towel.

The first person I met? Indeed, Mokko. He has longish well-layered hair. A groomed mustache/goatee. He’s a former Finnish TV broadcaster, so unapologetic about his looks and not overly concerned with seeing pictures taken of him. He’s dead serious about his sauna experience. But amusing, too. “I haven’t lost a single person yet,” he says of the 195-degree sauna. “Americans are very brave.” The whole ordeal is called a “Sauna Society” and some 300 journos, White House, State Department and Capitol Hill aides and lobbyists attend monthly gatherings. “I’m the benevolent dictator of the Society,” Mokko says. “It’s a pretty decent achievement. A great way to network.” The journalists belong to outlets ranging from CNN, AP and NYT to WaPo, Reuters, NBC, CNN, CBS, and Bloomberg. Any scribe can belong, really. You just have to want to belong. We’re just at cocktails, so Mokko is still clothed. Only men at the party will eventually see him disrobe. “Some people don’t do it au natural,” he says. “I always do it. It’s too hot with the towel.”

But he knows this is all kind of off-kilter for Washington. He explains saunas in Finland are common. “Five million people,” he says. “Two million saunas.” Most homes or apartments come with a sauna.

One thing’s for certain, he won’t be out-Alpha-maled.’s Andy Plesser is here to help organize the journo-sauna evening. When it’s time to say a few words, Plesser pipes up first, but Mokko interrupts and lays down the gauntlet: “I get to speak first. It is my building.” (He’s sorta joking but point made.) Plesser, at the time, joked, “He doesn’t know what the hell I’m doing here.” Later Plesser wins the off-the-wall comment of the evening award when, during dinner, he stands, smiles and announces, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but it’s time to get naked.”

Ladies first. The men will eat while the women use the sauna. After leading three female party guests to the sauna changing room, Mokko points to beige and white patterned square cloths that resemble place settings and says straight-faced, “These are butt linen.” He shows us the towels, the showers and points to the entrance of the sauna. He bids us farewell and shuts the door.

We all wrap ourselves in towels.

The sauna is warm, but not overpowering.  Relaxation factor: high. Soon enough, Washington stresses melt away and the air feels soft, restorative and soothing.  Time flies when you’re in a sauna with strangers. One woman lifts her arms high into the air. (There’s no easy way to say this, but there are balls of hair under her arms. Samantha in “Sex in the City” the movie comes to mind: “Jesus honey, wax much?” I look away.)

Once the female sauna-goers are out and in the dining room eating roasted beets, beef and beet salad, the men soon retire to the sauna. Come to find out, none wore towels. Weirdness factor: heightened but not impossible. Suffice it to say, just like cold swimming pools and bubble wrap, shrinkage happens.

Who showed up? Find out…

Read more

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From National Geographic: The Finnish Embassy

Unusual mid-party announcement

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but it’s time to get naked.” —’s Andy Plesser at the Finnish Embassy Monday night (more on this in a little while in a full write-up…).

Two journos discuss narcissism

“A buddy just made this observation about a mutual friend: ‘I don’t think anyone will ever love me as much as (he) loves himself.’” — AP‘s White House Correspondent Phil Elliott in a Monday tweet. To which WCP Managing Editor Mike Madden retorted to Elliott, “That observation could be about almost ANYONE if you’re talking people in media/politics.” Elliott replied, “Are there other?”

Covering Groundhog Day

“Not sure why covering Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney is one of my favorite @WTOP experiences. Long trip, freezing cold for several hours.” — WTOP reporter Neal Augenstein in a very early Tuesday morning tweet.

Tweeting from Egypt

“Yes, I’m tweeting like Jack Kerouac on Red Bull because I don’t know when can tweet again, thanks to communications crackdown. #Jan25 #Egypt.” — CNN’s Ben Wedeman from Egypt.

Weigel wants to win the evening

“Winning the early evening with Slatesters and adult beverages.” — Slate‘s Dave Weigel in a Monday tweet.

Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers


Hands-down favorite weekend observation

“Why do I get the feeling this guy is actually kind of a loser?” — NJ‘s Susan Davis in a weekend tweet, with the accompanying photograph, above.

Podhoretz has man crush on Borgnine

“Srsly, if you told me 30 yrs ago Ernest Borgnine would be most handsome 94 yr old who ever lived, I would’ve laughed.” — Commentary Magazine Editor John Podhoretz in a weekend tweet. In another tweet, he said, weirdly, “Stories about child abuse and murder have, since fatherhood, literally become physically painful to me, as if I had an abscessed tooth.”

Journo distracts himself with caramel corn

“Have eaten entire bag of caramel corn from fantastic, newly discovered @ackc_cocoabar, but have only written the lede. V long evening ahead.” — WaPo Book World Editor Ron Charles in a Sunday tweet.

Kurtz discusses his lack of power

“Just got my power back but Candy Crowley is still without and she is NOT HAPPY. Pepco last local utility to seek aid when snow started.” — The Daily Beast‘s D.C. Bureau Chief and CNN host Howard Kurtz in a weekend tweet. Crowley is a CNN colleague.

What’s wrong with this?

“Exclusive: Yahoo Delivering 1 Million Video Views for Washington Post’s “The Quick Fix” — Could Chris Cizzilla Beat Rachel Maddow?” — Beet. TV’s Andy Plesser in a weekend alert, making the WaPo reporter sound a little too close to Godzilla. (Oh we’re just messing with Plesser. He quickly redeemed himself with a quick correction of his mistaken spelling of Cillizza’s name in an e-mail. Read the story here.)

Guthrie to NYC, Holt gets Cairo

“On my way to nyc to anchor @todayshow tomorrow with Jenna; @LesterHoltNBC is en route Cairo to report for @nbcnews.” — MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” C0-host Savannah Guthrie in a weekend tweet.

Brady calls Volpe departure ‘huge loss’ for TBD

“Thrilled for @pvolpe on his new gig at the @nytimes. Huge loss for @TBD, but there’s no shortage of talent in that newsroom either.” — Former TBD GM and consultant Jim Brady in a weekend tweet after the news broke that TBD Managing Editor Paul Volpe is leaving for NYT. Volpe quit within three months of Brady’s resignation.

Wemple pulls out the pom poms

“@kevin_reiss.@TBD’s lost its Managing Editor & Redskins writer, & still hasn’t found a local news niche. Who feels good about TBD?” –  Self-described online “asshole” Kevin Reiss in a weekend tweet. To which TBD Editor Erik Wemple actually felt the need to respond, “Me.”

Politico scribe could do without winning the air

“In-flight wifi’s gonna make pres campaign trail reporting even more grueling. Wheels up was only break from filing demands (& editors).” — Politico‘s Kenneth Vogel (who, says his bio, “goes by Ken when he’s not in ostentatious reporter mode”)  in a weekend tweet. He covers money, politics and influence.

Unnecessary Tweet of the Day

“After the snow this week, are you ready for spring?” — WUSA9 in a (we hope) rhetorical weekend tweet.

Harris: Politico Profitable In Third Year, “Vast” Traffic For Online Videos

The headline of BeetTV’s interview with with Politico‘s John Harris was definitely that co-founder and editor believes the three-year-old project will become profitable this year.

Andy Plesser: Well speaking about the business proposition, just tell us, you know, you are an advertiser, you’re a free advertiser. How is that model working for you guys and how do you see the the business model developing?

John Harris: It works for us. We’re an advertiser supported publication. We are, we started two and a half years ago, so we’re in our third year. And we are on… we are profitable in our third year and we expect to finish the year as a profitable enterprise so I think that’s an impressive achievement to build a fairly substantial journalistic operation that also can can reach profitability in year three. That makes us very encouraged by the particular model that we have.

Harris also said covering the Obama administration is a big opportunity and that Politico has the most reporters of any news organization covering the White House. On videos on, Harris says they’re seeing “vast, vast numbers of traffic. More than we ever anticipated.”

Watch the interview above and check out the transcript here.