Steve Buttry has always had unusual titles. His current title is no exception – he’s TBD’s Director of Community Engagement. What is that? He explains, “I’m in charge of making TBD part of the community conversation. Whether in community blogs, on our site or in social media, we want to stimulate and contribute to the conversation. Yes, I like the title. I chose it.” At the American Press Institute he was “Director of Tailored Programs” (he went on the road and did trainings). He was “Editor and Innovation Coach” at the Cedar Rapids Gazette, where he worked most recently before he left Iowa for Washington.
Buttry grew up a military brat. He was born at Sampson Air Force Base in western New York. He lived at the northern tip of Japan when his father was stationed at a spy base. In England he learned to read. In Shenandoah, Iowa, he graduated high school. Sunset, Utah – five years. Ohio – three years. Florida. No memory.
Buttry first met TBD GM Jim Brady on Twitter. They steadily followed each other and eventually exchanged direct messages. Buttry said he wanted on board TBD. It just so happened, the two men were on a panel together in Columbia, Mo. The job interview happened in a hotel bar. And so it was meant to be – Brady hired him.
If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? A Corona. I used to drink a lot of Diet Coke. The doctor said it was bad for me, in fact, worse. I’ve sworn off sodas but not beer.
How often do you Google yourself? I’ve got a Google alert set up, so everyday. I have ego Google – there’s actually a term for that.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? ‘We no longer have a job for you.’ I’ve said that to 14 people. They were good journalists. It broke my heart.
Who is your favorite working journalist? Colleen Kenney, Lincoln Journal Star, maybe the best feature writer in the business.
Do you have a favorite word? Possible.
Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? Michelle Obama. She’s a more interesting person and a more honest person. I would enjoy conversing with her more. I’d love to interview Sarah Palin, but that doesn’t mean dining with her. She’s shallow. Egocentric.
What’s the name of your cell phone ring? When my wife calls, it’s Mimi’s theme from “La Boheme.” Otherwise default for iPhone.
When did you last cry and why? In April I was visiting my mother who has Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s is doing to her what Alzheimer’s does. We had some difficult private moments that brought tears.
What word do you routinely misspell? I don’t. I’m actually a pretty good speller. I look up words. I know how to spell.
What swear word do you use most often? Probably f–king as an adjective. More than as a verb.
What word or phrase do you overuse? Probably f–king.
Note to Readers: Today we’re running a special Tuesday edition of the FishbowlDC Interview since we scrapped the feature just for the day this past Friday. In this interview you will noticed one new question at the end. We are asking readers to come up with a question for the next FishbowlDC interviewee. Buttry wasn’t too hard on our next victim, but we trust it’s going to get hairy as things move along. Look for our next FishbowlDC Interview on our regularly scheduled day – Friday.
Read more Buttry after the jump…