FishbowlDC Interview With Examiner‘s Kytja Weir

Say hello to Kytja Weir, a transportation reporter for the Washington Examiner. There’s an easy way to learn the correct pronunciation of her name. “It sounds like KEY-t-cha,” Weir told FBDC. “Or, an easy way to remember is to think of the word ‘keychain.'”

Weir, who has a masters in journalism from Columbia University, deserves a serious medal for her Metro coverage. In January 2011 she reported on Metro workers pooping and peeing inside the trains. A few months later she wrote about a health hazard caused by an excess of pigeon poop at Metro’s Four Mile Run bus garage in Arlington.

Weir moved to Washington D.C. and joined the Examiner in 2008 after a stint at The Boston Globe. Before that she worked for The Charlotte Observer for five years.

Despite never working a transportation beat before, she loves what she does at the Examiner, poop scoop and all. She previously covered education, crime and local government.

Let’s begin.

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be?

Store-brand root beer.

How often do you Google yourself?

All the time. It’s the easiest way to find my old stories for background context.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)

Let’s just say I have not always been as gracious as I should have been in accepting edits.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why?

My partner, Binyamin Appelbaum.

Do you have a favorite word?


You’re walking down a dark alley and you run into a group of people, all of whom you’ve insulted with your reporting. What do you do? What do you say? And do you activate your mace?

Gosh, there are more of you than I realized. Anything merit a correction?

Who would you rather have dinner with – Examiner’s Paul Bedard, Michaele and Tareq Salahi or Dan Stessel? Tell us why.

Tough call. Would Michaele’s new love — that Journey guy — be invited, too? Could be entertaining to see them all together. Bedard would likely bring delicious donuts. But I’ll go with Stessel because then he couldn’t avoid my questions.

The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) or former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). Who do you choose? (Neither is not an option.)

Wait, you mean I’m supposed to sleep with them? Sorry, Fishbowl.

What swear word do you use most often?

I have a total potty mouth so that is tricky. Must be variations on the f-word. My new favorite sanitized version is fustercluck.

You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.)

Ugh, I hate punditry. I would want the four best journos who have actually reported on the story of the day. That or the staff of The Onion.

Now for a really serious moment: What is your dream job, money and practicalities aside?

Being a reporter covering local news. Or a foreign correspondent telling amazing stories from around the world.

To borrow from Politico’s “Answer This” (with a FishbowlDC twist): Picture someone in Washington who you’d like to strangle (if such a thing were legal). Without naming him or her, please tell us what you think of them and what you’d like to do to them.

I do not like this person. I would like to strangle this person.

When you pig out what do you eat?

Chocolate in various forms, though cookies and cake are especially delicious.

What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? We want the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible. If it’s a certain kind of underwear we don’t want to know about it.

Kelly green T-shirt, cotton blended with some indestructible synthetic strengthener, that I have had since second grade. It is so stretched out, soft and worn that it is almost see-through on the shoulders. I have worn it every time I moved, which is a lot. Cost? Priceless.

Pick one: Kim, Khloe, or Kourtney?

Kris? I’ve never seen them on TV but I think their mom must be a piece of work to have raised them.

Have you ever had a tarot card reading?

Yes, by fellow journo Julie Mason.

Have you ever had a near-death experience?


Ever been arrested?

Not yet.

Tell us a secret not many people know about you.

I once had a shaved head.

What scares you?

The day when people stop paying local news reporters.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment?

In a total city-girl move, I wrote that an animal in a New Deal-era post office mural was a donkey. It was a mule.

Have you ever been fired?

Not yet.

When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes?

I don’t remember exactly but it happens frequently, almost always prompted by my toddler’s antics.

When and why did you last lose your temper?

Ask my husband.

Who would you want to play you in a movie?

Cate Blanchett or Melissa Leo. They’re such good actresses they might actually make my life seem interesting to others.

Do you have a me-wall? If so, who’s on it?

No, but I have a lovely wall of family photos in my bedroom.

Who should just call it a day?

Geraldo Rivera.

What nickname do you wish everyone would call you?

With a name like Kytja who needs a nickname?

Finally, please come up for a question for our next FishbowlDC interviewee. This one may live on indefinitely. Make it good.

What do you read for guilty pleasure?