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The Fishbowl Interview With TNR’s Rachel Morris

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RM photo1.jpg Say hello to Rachel Morris, TNR‘s new managing editor. We swear we didn’t rig this. Last week our FishbowlDC Interview, Roll Call’s</em Paul Singer, said he wanted Cate Blanchett to portray him in a movie. And this week our interviewee says she, too, wants Blanchett to play her. Weirdly, she shares her name with a criminal involved in a meth ring in Wisconsin. Who knew?

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? I know I wouldn’t be a Bud Lime Light.

How often do you Google yourself? Not that often. A while ago I Googled myself and found out I share a name with a 21-year-old criminal from Wisconsin who tried to run down a police officer with her car, because the police officer was trying to arrest her for her connection to a local meth ring. She calls herself “The Penguin.” So now whenever I Google myself I check in to see how her trial is going.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? I’m from New Zealand. We’re chronically polite.

Who is your favorite working journalist? Too many to name just one, but if I have to narrow it down, IÂ’ll pick two: David Grann, for his superlative storytelling skills, and Katherine Boo, because she writes about subjects that few other reporters pay attention to.

Do you have a favorite word? I recently discovered “amanuensis.” Not only is it a cool word, I would like to have one someday.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? The First Lady.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? I hate pretty much all cell phone rings. Mine’s on vibrate.

When did you last cry and why? I’m not telling you that!

What word do you routinely misspell? Receive, even though I know about the rule with the ‘i’ and the ‘e’ and the ‘c.’

What swear word do you use most often? Ask Joe Biden.

What word or phrase do you overuse? Absolutely.


What TV show do you have to watch? I recently got addicted to Breaking Bad, which I’m trying to convert people to because it’s fantastic, but the season just finished. Soon, it’ll be Mad Men.

Where do you shop most often for your clothes? Mostly vintage/thrift stores.

Who do you prefer for daytime talk, Dr. Phil, Ellen, Oprah, Tyra or the women of The View? I never watch daytime TV. But I think Tyra is the most entertaining.

Pick one: Leno, Letterman or Conan? You should really add Jon Stewart to this list.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, which public official would you want to be trapped with and why? It’s not very surprising, but probably the president. You know people would be looking for him, so it wouldn’t turn into a LOST-type situation where you get stuck there for years. And in the meantime I bet he’d be interesting to talk to.

Who is your mentor? I’ve been lucky enough to have a few.

What’s the best advice you ever received in the course of your career? Read your writing out loud to yourself.

What and where was your first job in journalism? At an English-language newspaper in Vietnam.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? While many, many generally mortifying moments come to mind, I don’t really have a career-related one.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy most? I don’t have an all-time standout favorite, but I almost always prefer interviewing people who are not public figures.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy least? I can think of a couple of job interviews.

What’s the biggest scoop you’ve ever had? I’ve mostly worked as an editor, so I don’t have any blockbuster scoops to my credit.

When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes? It was a very well-executed office prank a little while ago. It was the first time I really appreciated that ROFLMAO is not just a convenient abbreviation for instant messaging.

When and why did you last lose your temper? It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it almost always involves health insurance customer service.

Which movie title best describes your journalism career?
Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Who would you want to play you in a movie?
If Robert Redford can be cast as Bob Woodward then I’m going with Cate Blanchett. Plus, she’s good at accents.

Name some jobs you’ve had outside of journalism. (Can start as young as teenage years): Receptionist; worked in a KMart, a Borders, and a jewelery store; picked apples, wrote scripts for CD tours of Civil War battlefields; production manager for a theater company.

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