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The FishbowlDC Interview With WJLA TV Reporter Mike Conneen

Say hello to WJLA TV Reporter Mike Conneen. Born in Naperville, Ill., he grew up in Highlands Ranch, Colo. He’s the youngest of five children. Two siblings went into banking, like his father.  Two became teachers, like his mother.  Conneen is the lone reporter. He has worked for KUSA, KNAZ/KPNX, KXRM and now WJLA. He is preposterously torn about who he wants to play him in a movie should James Cameron come calling. On one hand, he thinks Neil Patrick Harris is the right fit. On the other, it’s Jane Lynch all the way. We most recently heard Lynch portray one of ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner‘s (D-N.Y.) online sexting partners in a dramatic reading on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” with Maher playing Weiner. We’re convinced that this Lynch is not the role Conneen is conjuring in his mind. Read on.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Diet soda. I drink it like a fish.

How often do you Google yourself? Do Google alerts count?

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? “Really???” See below.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Mike Allen makes me aware. Jake Tapper makes me watch. Jeanne Moos makes me laugh.

Do you have a favorite word? “Really?” It’s like speaking Chinese. The slightest difference in tone can create completely different meanings.

What word or phrase do you overuse? “Really.”  It can get really annoying. My brother, Andy, says it a lot too. Really.

Who would you rather have dinner with –  MSNBC’s Chris Matthews or FNC’s Chris Wallace? Dinner with Chris Wallace. Drinks with Chris Matthews.

You are ordered to go on a road trip to an undisclosed location. You can go with White House Spokesman Jay Carney or Bo, the President’s Portuguese Water Dog. No ones feelings will be hurt. Who do you take? Carney can talk and drive, and clean up his own messes. Sorry, Bo.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? “Twisted Nerve” – the whistle song from “Kill Bill.”

Crying in the workplace? Conneen has done it. Find out why…

It’s 3 a.m. and you get up to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Do you check your BlackBerry? Sadly, yes. But my alarm is sometimes set for 3 a.m. when I work early morning shifts so it’s become a habit.

What word do you routinely misspell? I’ve lived in D.C. three years and I still confuse “capital” vs. “capitol.”

What swear word do you use most often? My mother will probably read this, and the first/last time I used that word in front of her, she slapped me across the face, so I’d rather not say.

If you weren’t a journalist what would you be? Lost.

You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.) Tom Brokaw, Norah O’Donnell, Bill Maher, Ann Coulter.

When you pig out what do you eat? Everything but pork.

When did you last cry and why? The movie “Up” wore me down.

What TV show is your guilty pleasure? “Jersey Shore.” Don’t judge, brah.

What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken? 2003. Europe. Backpacking.

What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? We want the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible. My sister, Patty, bought me a pink/orange tie with big horizontal stripes in Italy. The label says Graziella Begum Uomo. It was a gift, so I’m sure it was expensive.

Pick one: Will Ferrell’s Bush impersonation or Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin? Tina Fey. But I think Kristen Wiig has the potential to out-impersonate both as Michele Bachmann this year.

Do you read your astrology? Only on my birthday (today!!!).

Tell us a secret not many people know about you. I was “Chip the Buffalo” mascot at my alma mater CU-Boulder.

Who is your mentor? My parents, Drew and Kathleen Conneen. They’re intellectuals, open-minded and compassionate. Important qualities for any journalist.

What and where was your first job in journalism? After being a star intern at KUSA-TV in Denver, I was hired as a news writer. It was terrifying. Looking back, I was in way over my head. My first day on the job, a newsroom veteran tore me – and my writing – apart. Like a scene from a cheesy Lifetime movie, I escaped to a dressing room, burst into tears and looked at myself in the mirror thinking: ‘That’s it, you’re journalism career is over.’ Fortunately, I pulled myself together and lived happily ever after.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? Besides the first day tears? As a young anchor in Arizona not yet comfortable reading teleprompter, I stumbled and TWICE called then-Governor Janet Napolitano “Janitor Napolitano.” Horrifying.

Have you ever been fired? No. [knocking on wood]

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy most? In 2008, I traveled to a rural part of the Philippines with International Surgical Missions. It was an eye-opening experience, medically and culturally. My favorite interview was with a cheerful 13-year old girl named Mutya, who was treated for a case of gigantism in her left foot.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy least? A certain elected official.

What’s the biggest scoop you’ve ever had? Haagen Daz. Strawberry.

When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes? I can’t watch the “Double Rainbow” viral video without crying from laughter. Watch here.

When and why did you last lose your temper? Today. It’s hard not to lose your temper driving – and parking – in D.C.

Which movie title best describes your journalism career? “Once Upon A Time In The West.”

Who would you want to play you in a movie? Neil Patrick Harris. If he’s not available, Jane Lynch.

Name jobs you’ve had outside of journalism. (Can start as young as teenage years): Camp counselor, College R.A., T.G.I. Fridays waiter (back when flair was part of the uniform).

Who should just call it a day? The Westboro Baptist Church protesters.

A recent FishbowlDC interviewee, Bloomberg’s Anna Edney asks:  Have you ever had a nickname? What was it? I’m nearly 100% Irish. My last name in Gaelic means “hare.” When I was the mascot at CU-Boulder, the cheer team found out and started calling me “Bunny.” In fact, some of them probably never learned my actual name. Typical cheerleaders!

Finally, please come up for a question for our next FishbowlDC interviewee. Make it good. Would you rather spend a year on the International Space Station or a year in Antarctica?

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