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The FishbowlDC Interview with Roll Call’s Paul Singer

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Say hello to Paul Singer, an investigative reporter for Roll Call. There are things you may or may not not know about him. For one, his appreciation for actress Cate Blanchett. For another, the fact that he spent a summer “hauling ancient bird crap” out of Union Station’s roof for its restoration. He has worked for National Journal, UPI and the Cleveland Bureau of AP. He teaches journalism at Georgetown. By the way, he chose the stuffed animal monkey for his picture. We didn’t see any need to argue with him about it.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Seltzer in a glass bottle with a pump top.

How often do you Google yourself? Almost never — Google Reader does it for me.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa) Me: Well, actually, I want ALL of the money you owe me. Him: But then there wonÂ’t be any left for anybody else. How much do you really NEED?

Who is your favorite working journalist? Mark Benjamin of Salon. He breaks the stories that other people hijack to win awards.

Do you have a favorite word? Molly

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

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Vibrate

When did you last cry and why? The last time I remembered my father is dead. Which was just now. Thanks for the reminder.

What word do you routinely misspell? All of them.

What swear word do you use most often? All of them.

What word or phrase do you overuse? “Oops.”

Find out which movie best describe Singer’s journalism career and what odd jobs he has had outside of journalism after the jump…


What TV show do you have to watch? The Sunday afternoon one with the Pittsburgh Steelers in it.

Where do you shop most often for your clothes? These days, on-line at Carhartt or Cabela’s.

Who do you prefer for daytime talk, Dr. Phil, Ellen, Oprah, Tyra or the women of The View? For daytime talk I prefer C-SPAN.

Pick one: Leno, Letterman or Conan? “Pick one” for what? For my basketball team? Definitely Conan.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, which public official would you want to be trapped with and why? Jack Murtha, because there is so much I still want to ask.

Who is your mentor? Al Sosenko, the founder of Inside Washington Publishers. He taught me that the best stories are where everyone else isn’t looking.

What’s the best advice you ever received in the course of your career? “You’re not going to want to eat that.”

What and where was your first job in journalism? I started my own little newspaper when I was 9 – does that count? What’s your most embarrassing career moment? If I told Fishbowl, it would be my second most embarrassing career moment. Let’s just say it involved a lot of red wine.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy most? I had been trying for two months to figure out where all the federal Katrina relief money had gone, and gotten nothing but blank stares and stonewalling from every federal agency. I finally sat down with a local guy who handed me a stack of FEMA printouts … and there it was, thousands of individual projects, the status of each one, and why none of the money had been spent. I literally had tears in my eyes. The holy grail.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy least? The one with the guy who had been molested by his priest.

What’s the biggest scoop you’ve ever had? This one. It went GLOBAL. (God bless the AP.)

January 18, 2002|PAUL SINGER, ASSOCIATED PRESS
CLEVELAND – Polka rocks.

More and more aficionados are infusing the music with rock ‘n’ roll in hopes of showing a new generation that polka is not just Old World music played on big accordions by men in polyester suits.

When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes? The Ethics Committee’s PMA report. (Note to readers: This would be the PMA Group lobbying firm, under investigation for the links between earmarks and campaign contributions. Paul explains that it concluded lobbyist believe their contributions buy access and favors, but said no one in Cingress is at fault.)

When and why did you last lose your temper? Francisco f—ing Cabrera knocks in Sid Bream. My spirit was so broken, I haven’t lost my temper since.

Which movie title best describes your journalism career? “The Muppet Movie.”

Who would you want to play you in a movie? Cate Blanchett.

Name some jobs you’ve had outside of journalism. (Can start as young as teenage years): I used to be a roadie for music festivals; I was very briefly a professional actor; I spent a summer hauling ancient bird crap out of the roof of Union Station during its restoration; on a few joyous occasions I have been paid to play in a band.

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