Say hello to The Atlantic‘s Garance Franke-Ruta. By far the most challenging thing to tackle about her is her complex name. “A lot of it has to do with pronunciations,” Garance (pronounced Gaaarohnse) said in a phone call. “A lot of people think there’s a “tz” at the end instead of a “ce.” Sometimes people resort to calling her “G” or “GFR.” Still, others have had trouble with the second syllable of her first name. And believe it or not, there’s another Garance in journalism. She’s an AP writer in California. Weirder still, the two Garances have crossed paths — in college and at WaPo. Franke-Ruta was a reporter there and Garance Burke was an intern before Franke-Ruta arrived. “For awhile people were having trouble sending me email,” she said. “Because it was going to the other Garance.” The reporter has worked at a number of Washington publications that include NJ, TNR, WCP, The American Prospect and WaPo. In December she made the move to The Atlantic. Getting back to that unusual name, Franke-Ruta is named for a character in a French film from the 1940s called Les Enfants du Paradis. No, she’s not French. But she was born in Cavaillon, France and lived there until about two months of age. What does she think o her own name and does she think the film fairly represents her? “I have seen the movie. It’s very long,” she said. “It’s a classic. And it’s very long. It’s not a name I’ll probably pass on. Let’s put it that way.”
If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? A Mexican Coke in one of those little glass bottles.
How often do you Google yourself? Almost never. I have Google Alerts on my name though so I can be pointlessly notified every time I tweet see who’s picking up my items, if there’s anything I need to respond to, stay attuned to the conversation, etc.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? I had one editor who was a screamer, and another who used to floss his teeth while meeting, so it was more how they said things. Both smart men though.
Who is your favorite working journalist? I admire the work of so many different newspaper, magazine, and online journalists who are doing so many different sorts of things – from Dan Balz to Ryan Lizza to Alexis Madrigal to Andy Carvin to the gang behind The Awl, which has had really terrific coverage of what’s going down in Madison — that it is hard to pick just one. Journalism is many different kinds of things these days, many in the midst of evolving. I’ll just say, because it’s an easier call, that of all the chatty television show hosts, Rachel Maddow is most fun to watch, perhaps because everything about her emergence as a major television personality has been unexpected and she still does things differently.
Do you have a favorite word? I never use this one but I just love that it exists. “Anstandsrestchen” is the German word for the thing left on the plate out of politeness (you know, when no one wants to be the person to take the last of something). Because of course the Germans have a word for that.
Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? Sarah Palin, no contest. A) She’d be more likely to make news and B) I’m kind of fascinated by her.
What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Standard BB ring.
When did you last cry and why? Tuesday morning, when I found out Rev. Peter Gomes died. He was one of a kind.
What word do you routinely misspell? Reince Priebus. And I completely sympathize with any problems he’s ever had in that regard.
Find out Garance’s favorite swear word…