Fishbowl5 With Jonathan Allen

Here we chat up the famous Jonathan Allen in an interview that made him a little, well, uncomfortable. It’s not easy, he admits, being on the other side of the interview. But there is freedom: “I’m very excited that I can openly laugh when [Rep.] Barney Frank [D-Mass.] says something funny. I am a very big fan of his humor. When you’re a reporter you’re trying not to show favoritism and now I can laugh.”

So how do you feel about your new position with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)? “Certainly excited. I’m happy to go to work for someone who inspires me and who I admire. I’m hopeful I can advance the Democratic Party’s goals and obviously, the congresswoman’s goals.”

Is it strange to be on this end of things after being a reporter for so long? “It’s very strange to be interviewed, particularly on something that pertains to me. It’s very odd to be interviewed about me personally.”
So right now this is pretty odd. “It’s a little unusual [laughs] but I’m happy to do it.”

Will you start talking in sound bites? “My job is not going to be a communications job, it’s a political job. Fortunately I wont have to talk in sound bites because I’m not very good about. Was that a good enough sound bite?”

How did your job come about?“When I got layed off by CQ in late September I had a conversation with the congresswoman before I took the job with Politico. I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Politico and one other news organization [that he won’t name] within 24 hours of being layed off. It was a brief period, but a stunning one nonetheless. It was clear there would be a job possibility and ultimately it wasn’t something I could turn down at a time when I feel a real call to advance the values I believe in. It was time to bring my journalism career to a close. [But] it’s not at all about what’s going on in the journalism industry. I loved every minute of Politico. Ironically as much fun as I was having, the opportunity to go to work for the congresswoman was ultimately the better choice for me.”

Like Oprah, you’re leaving at the top of your game? “I’ve never been compared to Oprah, but if I could get out of journalism with that wad of cash I would, but that’s not the case. I accomplished a lot of things I wanted to accomplish. I’ll leave it for others to say whether I am leaving at the top of my game.”