Our Anniversary Interview With Betsy Rothstein

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of FishbowlDC, we're catching up with some of our predecessors. Today, we chat with the notorious Betsy Rothstein

FishbowlDC 10 years

FishbowlDC_10-years-1It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since FishbowlDC first popped up in Washington — back when blogging was still somewhat of a foreign concept. Plenty has changed since 2005 and the DC media scene is nearly unrecognizable to the one that we came here to cover a decade ago.

To commemorate the occasion, we’re catching up with some of our predecessors. Today, we chat up Betsy Rothstein, who was FishbowlDC’s editor from Dec. 2009 to Oct. 2013.

FBDC: How would you describe your reign at FishbowlDC?

BR: A combination of the most adrenalin-filled fun you’ve ever had and a terrible car crash that totals the automobile, but you walk away without a scratch. At least on the surface of the skin.

betsypictureFBDC: What is your fondest memory as editor of the blog?

BR: All the laughter. Day in and day out. The kind people who helped me and trusted me with the truth. My funny, funny writers – Eddie Scarry and Peter Ogburn. The brave souls – they know who they are and you can see a list of their names in Washington City Paper – who agreed to testify for us during the lawsuit. It never came to that, but their courage and willingness to give selflessly is something I won’t forget.

FBDC: What was the best perk of being editor?

BR: It was nice to have a boss who never checked in on what I was doing. Who was completely hands off and had no real interest in getting involved in the operation of the site. I’d go several months at a time without hearing from him. There was a certain joy in that.

FBDC: Story you’re most proud of reporting for the site?

BR: The obvious one might be breaking Dave Weigel’s involvement with JournoList, which led to WaPo subsequently firing him. I believe the listserv and the things they wrote under the guise of humor or whatever else was an embarrassment to the profession. The less obvious one might be writing about the death of C-SPAN political editor Steve Scully’s mother, Betty. I remember it really meant something to him and that was really touching for me for a lot of reasons.

FBDC: Any regrets?

BR: That there weren’t more Wednesdays in the course of a week.

FBDC: Shock us with a fact or story from your time at FBDC.

BR: In the course of my time at FishbowlDC, I learned horrifying details about a reporter who prefers to have really dirty period sex. Think lots and lots of washcloths. He disclosed this, by the way, in an interview in which he was supposed to be talking about his thoughts about me. I can assure you, there was never anything sexual between us.

FBDC: Kiss. Marry. Kill: Patrick Gavin. Matt Dornic. Garrett Graff.  

BR: I will kiss Patrick, since he is the only obvious heterosexual. I’ll marry Matt because he’ll keep me laughing until I’m 95. And I’ll kill Garrett because I honestly don’t like him very much.