Shane Harris

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Meet Shane Harris.

Shane is a writer for the Washingtonian covering national security. Last week, he started Dead Drop, a new blog on Washingtonian’s site dedicated to snippets of national security news and pop culture. FamousDC was lucky enough to chat with Shane about his work and the new site.

1. What led you to becoming a national security reporter?

In 2001, I was writing about technology for a magazine in Washington. The 9/11 attacks happened, and technology became a huge concern for the intelligence agencies. They worried that they couldn’t make sense of their data and that they might not “connect the dots” about the next attack. My tech beat gradually evolved into covering national security, and I’ve been doing that ever since.

2. Can you give us a little background on the blog and why you started it for those unfamiliar with your work?

I write long magazine stories and books, and I love that. But as any feature writer will tell you, much of the reporting you do for a big story goes untold or unused. I wanted a place to tell all the interesting stories I come across about national security and Washington. A blog seemed like a perfect venue.

3. As someone who has reported in several markets, what makes DC unique?

That’s a tough question. I’m not sure I know why we’re unique, but I think we’re a lot alike another city I worked in for a time: Los Angeles. Putting aside the obvious cosmetic differences, both are single-industry towns. They’re obsessed with personality. They relate to the world through the lens of the media. And each thinks it’s engaged in the most important work under the sun. These are qualities that make each city an excellent place to be a journalist.

4. Seriously, how much do you love the title “Dead Drop?”

A ton. Coming up with the name was surprisingly difficult and scary. Like choosing a baby’s name, once you do, you’re stuck with it. We went through a lot of duds, and some pretty good but not-quite-right names before we settled on Dead Drop. And I’m very happy with it.

5. If Obama called on Friday wanting to kick it for a day, what would you guys do?

Read the kill list. And then, I guess play basketball or something. But really I just want to see the kill list.



Shane Harris