TVNewser FishbowlNY AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote PRNewser SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

The FishbowlDC Interview With Slate’s David Plotz

fishhead.jpgPlotz_preferred_1.jpg Say hello to Slate’s Online Magazine Editor David Plotz, a funny man who is clearly unafraid to use the word “f–k”. This may be the most number of times I’ve written (or heard) f–k in the course of an interview. F–k. F–k. F–k. What fun. It’s “deeply” fun (you’ll understand this reference by the end of the interview.)

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Fresca. I was caught on film once yelling about how someone didn’t replace the Fresca in the office fridge.

How often do you Google yourself? Not very often. Once a month, it’s usually pretty specific. Who is your favorite working journalist? David Grann of The New Yorker.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? That’s not even a question – Michelle Obama. She has this air of intelligence and wit and she’s very funny. She’s tough and she’s a total babe. Sarah Palin is also a total babe and interesting in her own way – but not my way.

What word do you routinely misspell? Reality. I didn’t know there was a difference between realty and reality for a very, very long time.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? It’s whatever the default is. [This was followed by a long string of expletives as he attempted to figure out how to find the cell phone ringtones on his rather complicated BlackBerry.] Honestly, I still have not figured it out.

What swear word do you use most often? F–k or F–king. Usually directed at my computer.

What word or phrase do you overuse? Deeply. I say deeply all the time. It’s such a stupid phrase. I’m mocked for it constantly.

What TV show do you have to watch? “Friday Night Lights”

If you were trapped on a deserted island, which public official would you want to be trapped with and why? Energy Sec. Steven Chu. The dude is so smart he would cobble together some elaborate communications system. He’s a pretty charming guy. I don’t think he eats a lot so I’d probably get the lion share of the food.

What’s the best advice you ever received in the course of your career? It’s from my colleague Slate media columnist Jack Shafer. Replace every “is” and “are” in a story with the word ‘f–k’ and then go back and replace those ‘f–ks’ with active verbs. So you’re going to have he “thumped” or he “pummeled.” It’s going to have more muscle.

What and where was your first job in journalism? City Paper, 1993, a job which I got because I wrote my undergraduate thesis on [former D.C. Mayor] Marion Barry. Jack Shafer had an opening and made me a staff writer.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? In 1996 I wrote an article about how it was logistically impossible for the President to have an affair [http://www.slate.com/id/2370]. A few months later it turned out that he [Bill Clinton] was having an affair.

What’s the biggest scoop you’ve ever had? I’m not really a scoop journalist. That’s not what I do. I’m not built for that kind of journalism.

Read more Plotz after the jump and find out why he can’t stand actor Robert Pattinson


Who do you prefer for daytime talk, Dr. Phil, Oprah, Tyra or the women of The View? Oprah, just for lack of interest in the other ones.

Where do you shop most often for your clothes? The last two suits I got at Muleh.

When did you last cry and why? I can’t remember, sorry. Maybe watching District 9, a really crazy, creepy movie about aliens who crashed in South Africa. It’s disturbing as all get out. Yeah, really, really disturbing.

Did you see “Twilight” and “New Moon?” If so, who is more your type, Edward or Jacob? I did not see the movies, but I have a son named Jacob who has a Team Jacob shirt. Also, I do not get [Robert] Pattinson. He sounds like a complete ass.

Who was your mentor? Shafer. He works next door to me. He hired me at City Paper in 1993, taught me everything I know. He got me hired here in 1996 and has been a wisdom figure for all that time.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy most? An interview I did with Dick Harpootlian, head of the South Carolina Democratic Party. I was working on a story about video poker in South Carolina and he was a big attorney for video poker companies. He was this fantastic, luscious character.

Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101

Freelancing 101Manage a top-notch freelancing career in our online boot camp, Freelancing 101! Starting August 18, freelancing experts will teach you the best practices for a solid freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your own schedule and managing clients.  Register now!