Meet Libby Casey.
Libby arrived in DC after a successful career in Alaska. Since then she has made a name for herself in journalism as the host and producer of C-SPAN’s morning show “Washington Journal.” Libby was also a brave participant in a recent charity competition where she performed a standup comedy routine. She was a standout (ba dum chh) among the other competitors with her Washington-focused C-SPAN riffs. Luckily FamousDC had the chance to catch up with her to discuss her career and comedy.
1. You host and produce C-SPAN’s morning show “Washington Journal.” What does a typical work day look like for you?
When I’m hosting, I get to work around 4:00 a.m., and I’m always beat into the office by one of our terrific line producers who gets there even earlier. We spend a couple hours preparing for the show and getting our hands dirty with newsprint. Then I throw on my makeup – yep, we do our own makeup at C-SPAN. I’ll send a few last-minute tweets and start the show at 7:00 a.m. We’re live for three hours and typically cover four different topics with a range of guests, and of course, take calls from all over America. On days I’m not hosting I’m brainstorming segments, booking guests and figuring out visuals for the show. It’s very egalitarian since everyone chips in and contributes.
2. How was your experience with reporting for the Alaska Public Radio Network?
Being a reporter in Alaska is amazing. There are stories everywhere, from the frontier politics to the oil industry to extreme sports. You learn so much if you’re privileged to be in remote, rural villages and people trust you with their stories. You get lots of feedback from your audience since you’re part of the close-knit community. Alaska is a state full of dreamers, entrepreneurs, searchers and survivors. How could you not love reporting and living there?
3. Some readers might have seen you at the recent comedy competition, Commedia dell Media, where you competed against other journalists. Do you enjoy doing standup?
That was my rookie appearance, and I was shaking from nerves, but friends in the audience promise me they couldn’t tell. I did it precisely because it terrified me. After it was over, I was torn between never, ever wanting to do it again and wanting to try again immediately without the fear. I’m now denying any interest in ever going on stage again, but I’m carrying around a little notebook and writing down things that strike me as funny. So, we’ll see.
4. Do you have any tips for aspiring journalists in DC?
I got great advice once from Kim Severson, who’s with the New York Times but used to be a reporter in Alaska. She said something along the lines of dig into what you’re doing now with passion and live in the moment, but learn all you can because you never know when opportunity will knock, and you want to be ready. Also, be kind to people even as you’re ruthless in your work ethic, and one more thing: don’t use “House of Cards” as your playbook.
5. Who has been your favorite person to interview?
Can I broaden it to favorite people? Dog mushers. Alaskan dog mushers. They’re salt-of-the-earth, in love with their dogs, they give entertaining interviews during races like the Iditarod because they’re punchy from cold and exhaustion, and they’re really, really tough.
Basically if you’ve got passion, whether for dogs or anything else, you’re a great interview.