Kris Van Cleave may be the first person to ever send his responses to our lengthy FBDC Interview off a smartphone. We noticed the “Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone” signature on his email and thought 1. Who answers this many questions on a phone?!” 2. Who has a 4GLTE?! He told us he didn’t actually answer all of the questions on his phone, but said his responses “may benefit from a spell check.”
Van Cleave is going on six years as a general assignment reporter for ABC7/WJLA. He has received multiple awards over the span of his journalism career, including a Regional Edward R. Murrow Team Coverage Award for reporting on the the 2009 Metro collision.
Before coming to D.C., Van Cleave was a reporter in San Diego and Colorado Springs. As for his personal life, he kept it brief: “Not married, no kids.” He didn’t always want to work in TV news. “I thought maybe I could be a sports announcer,” he said, “but the desire to eat overwhelmed that.” His family moved to LA before high school and an anchor, Ross Becker, took him under his wing and he remains a close friend and mentor to this day.
Van Cleave said watching the media cover the 1993 Southern California wildfires and the 1994 Northridge earthquake sold him on TV. His dream job: to be a network correspondent. But he says he has a “wonderful situation” at WJLA.
If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be?
Diet Barq’s…plenty of bite, but fewer calories.
How often do you Google yourself?
Hourly. I also spend time each day looking for a unicorn.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)?
“Wow (boss who won’t be named), you’re the same age as my parents!”
Who is your favorite working journalist and why?
Martha Raddatz—she’s one of my news heroes. Her reporting is fearless — she goes to some of the most dangerous places on earth time and again. Her coverage of U.S. troops abroad and here at home has been compelling, heartfelt, and powerful. Plus, she’s gracious and more than willing to help a younger reporter get better.
Do you have a favorite word?
Schweinefleisch! Hard to work into a sentence, but fun to say.
Who would you rather have dinner with – FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, NBC’s Brian Williams or ABC’s Diane Sawyer? Tell us why.
Diane. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet her yet. Brian Williams would be a close second. When I was in college he let me shadow him for part of a day. I’ve always been grateful for that.
The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either CNN’s Candy Crowley or FNC’s Greta Van Susteren (significant others will understand). Who will it be?
How quickly are we dying out?
What swear word do you use most often?
The one that starts with F and its many variations.
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.)
Let’s make Sunday morning TV something to see…Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow. Perhaps we could have Pugil Sticks?
On a serious note for a moment, if you could have dinner with a person who has died, who would it be?
Either of my grandfathers. I never got meet them.