You know that feeling you get when you meet someone and know that they’ll be successful and famous one day soon? We mean, like really famous – not just FamousDC. We’re talking about those times when we first met Brent Colburn, Jonathan Martin, Pam Brown, Kevin Madden, Jackie Kucinich, Chris Cillizza and Jaime Harrison.
Washington, D.C. launches famous careers almost daily.
So we decided to ask our contacts on the hill, downtown and some seasoned reporters for their thoughts on DC reporters we should all know. We received a lot of recommendations and narrowed down the list to ten journalists. Below you’ll meet them and learn what folks around town love about the next generation of rock stars. They also answered a few questions regarding their hometowns, just how they got into journalism and other tidbits to help you get to know them a little better.
FamousDC presents: 10 DC Reporters You Should Know
10. Julia Ioffe, The New Republic
What the Hill is saying: “If you want to know what Americans should be paying attention to on the global stage, look no further than Julia. Her insights are brilliant and a good reminder of the important role the United States serves as a global superpower. Plus, her twitter feed proves that brevity is indeed the soul of wit.”
Hometown? Moscow/Columbia, MD
How did you get into journalism? I was studying for the LSAT my senior year of college, and realized that my brain just doesn’t work the right way for this stuff, so I thought: what am I good at? My answer: writing papers. Luckily, the New Yorker’s fact-checking department was looking for a Russian speaker.
Who is your role model? My mom. She’s a professor of medicine, travels the world giving lectures on gynecologic pathology, is a gourmet chef, oenophile, and a snappy dresser. A professional woman and a bon vivant.
Name one thing that your readers likely don’t know about you. I used to be a flamenco dancer, and I have a potty mouth.
9. Mike Catalini, National Journal
What the newsroom is saying: “Mike would never tell you this because he’s too modest, but he’s a real power center insider the NJ newsroom. His work ethic and smarts have earned him the respect, and ear, of some of the newsroom’s senior leaders.”
“Sure, everyone’s looking to Mike for his political insights – I’m hoping he’s tweeting fantasy football tips this fall…”
Hometown? Bensalem, Pa. (Suburban Philly/PA-08)
How did you get into journalism? I tried out for the newspaper in college at Penn State and got hooked after covering the near-closure of the local hospital.
Who is your role model? Gene Foreman, the former managing editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and a professor of mine in college, is the journalistic voice I hear inside my head when I write and report. Is this accurate, fair, complete, concise?
Name one thing that your readers likely don’t know about you. I’m a decent cook. I have two specialities: homemade bread and homemade pasta.
8. Phil Mattingly, Bloomberg News
What the Hill is saying: “Phil is among the most insightful, plugged-in reporters to cover Congress and the Administration, but his most enviable quality is without a doubt the skillful manner in which he employs a top-secret combination of hair care products in order to sculpt his perfectly-styled coiffure.”
“Phil Mattingly has an impossible to hit curveball, even when playing Whiffle Ball.”
Hometown? Army brat, but I claim Toledo, Ohio.
How did you get into journalism? It became pretty clear at an early age my dreams of an NBA career weren’t going to pan out. Luckily, I had some great teachers and mentors in high school and college that pointed me toward writing/reporting in its place.
Who is your role model? My Dad, Rick.
Name one thing that your readers likely don’t know about you. I’m convinced “You Got Served” and “Stomp the Yard” are two of the greatest movies of all time (much to my wife’s chagrin).
7. Elise Foley, Huffington Post
What the Hill is saying: “Some people refer to Elise Foley as a ‘reporter.’ I prefer to think of her as a twitter comedian who also breaks news about Congress.”
Hometown? Arvada, CO
How did you get into journalism? I thought I’d have an easier time getting into journalism school than liberal arts for undergrad, for some reason. Then it stuck.
Who is your role model? My grandma, Martha Strawn.
Name one thing that your readers likely don’t know about you. Both of my brothers are giants (one is 6’8″) and engineers. I’m sort of the short, dumb one.
6. Clinton Yates, Washington Post
What DC is saying: “From his twitter stories of DC growing up to hosting any number of local events, no one does the District likes Yates. Plus there’s really no one better to follow on Twitter if you’re watching a Nats or NBA game.”
Hometown? My hometown is the capital of the United States of America.
How did you get into journalism? I guess I got into journalism in college, after one of our school’s papers printed a piece I wrote about getting back to normal after 9/11. But I’ve been a media enthusiast since I was a kid.
Who is your role model? My parents are my role models. But the person whose work I find extremely inspirational is Zora Neale Hurston.
Name one thing that your readers likely don’t know about you. Many readers might not know that I speak fluent French.
5. Kate Nocera, BuzzFeed
What the Hill is saying: “Not only is Kate Nocera WAY prettier than John Stanton – she’s funnier too. These are anonymous, right?”
Hometown? Northampton, MA
How did you get into journalism? I originally wanted to become a psychologist, but I ended up going to journalism school because it seemed like less work. Also, this way I get to report the things people tell me instead of having to keep them a secret.
Who is your role model? Sounds cheesy but my mom. She’s a boss — she was a Capitol Hill journalist when she was my age, went into the foreign service, then raised three kids. She now runs a small business and has done it all with grace and humor.
Name one thing that your readers likely don’t know about you. I have a webbed toe on my left foot (and no it doesn’t make me a better swimmer).
4. Ashley Parker, New York Times
What the Hill is saying: “No, they’re not related, but with her sharp wit and brilliant writing, it’s be easy to label Ashley as a modern day Dorothy Parker. And while she may get paid to write, her photography skills are also top notch.”
Hometown? Bethesda, MD
How did you get into journalism? I’ve always loved writing, and I never had any good plots of my own. Otherwise, I’d probably be working on a novel, or some bad political TV show.
Who is your role model? My mentor is my first boss, Maureen Dowd. My interview was so bad that she barely hired me, but working for her was an amazing crash course in journalism — and she also taught me the difference between a camisole and a cardigan.
Name one thing that your readers likely don’t know about you. I’m a mediocre former waitress, at such fan favorites as The Cheesecake Factory and Chicken Out.
3. Jonathan Strong, National Review
What DC is saying: “Better sourced and informed than anyone about the right of the right on the Hill.”
Hometown? Clifton, VA
How did you get into journalism? A journalism class in middle school.
Who is your role model? Robert Novak.
Name one thing that your readers likely don’t know about you. I’m really into BBQ. I have a smoker and pulled pork is my specialty.
2. Number two came down to a TIE between POLITICO’s Rachael Bade & Kelsey Snell
Rachael Bade, POLITICO
What the Hill is saying: “Anyone can be fluent in tax policy – willing to bet money that only Rachael could dish the latest on Ways and Means while performing a pirouette.”
Hometown? Tipp City, Ohio, near Dayton. (Go Dayton Flyers!)
How did you get into journalism? By accident. I’ve always loved writing and politics — and it just so happened that the first job-application call-back I received post-graduation was from Roll Call.
Who is your role model? As a writer, I’m a fan of Dave Eggers’ outlandish hyperbole. As a person, my mom is one of the kindest souls I’ve met. Both inspire me in different ways.
Name one thing that your readers likely don’t know about you. I lead a double life: part ambitious and workaholic journalist; part semi-retired bun-head who misses the stage. I’m a classically trained ballet dancer who spent her entire youth in a mirror-rimmed ballet studio getting some of the best ballet training in the country. Now, it’s just a weekend hobby I squeeze in between stories. Got tickets to a Kennedy Center ballet performance? Call me!
Kelsey Snell, POLITICO
What the Hill is saying: “Best way to watch any hearing on Capitol Hill? Computer split screen: hearing webcast and Kelsey Snell’s live hearing tweets.”
Hometown? Chicago, IL
How did you get into journalism? I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I took a break after college to see if I wanted to be a lawyer but I couldn’t resist the draw of journalism school and a life as a reporter.
Who is your role model? I love Studs Terkel. He is one of the greatest interviewers of all time. He treated every interview subject, from politician to janitor, with the same respect and interest. He wrote clearly and directly and his readers loved him.
Name one thing that your readers likely don’t know about you. I love hockey. A lot. Hopefully my Blackhawks will still be in the playoffs by the time this runs.
Follow Kelsey on Twitter and be sure to congratulate her & her fiance on their wedding this weekend.
1. Chris Moody, Yahoo!
What DC is saying: “Chris Moody quickly established Yahoo! as a go-to for Hill and political news. He is the sole reason I go to Yahoo! – well, that and fantasy football.”
Hometown? West Palm Beach, Florida by way of San Diego, California.
How did you get into journalism? After living out of a backpack for a year after college, I flew to Washington, D.C. without any job prospects, slept on a friend’s couch and tried to convince editors to pay me to write about politics. Tucker Carlson took a risk and sent me to the capitol building with a pen and a notepad, where I spent several months getting lost in basement hallways.
Who is your role model? My grandfather, Jess Moody: A pastor and author who taught me by his own example that extending grace to others is one of life’s highest virtues. That is not always easy in political journalism.
Name one thing that your readers likely don’t know about you. I’m colorblind, so I sometimes have to send pictures of scenes I’m describing to colleagues to make sure I’m not misreporting the colors. I’m a 6-crayon box guy in a 250-crayon box world.
Is your favorite reporter not on the list? Let us know: FamousDC@gmail.com
NEXT UP: We’re also pulling together lists of the 10 Hill Staff You Should Know so hit up our inbox with your nominations. We LOVE email.
We’ll let you know about all of our upcoming disruptive networking events. Free drinks and cool folks. Wins all around.