Hotline profiles Newsweek’s White House reporter Holly Bailey today in their Friday Feature, and they discover all sorts of goodies, such as Holly’s…
…recently acquired love for her hometown, Oklahoma City. (“Two things got people through: OU football (Go Sooners!) and an unshakable belief that life in Oklahoma would eventually get better.”)
…her childhood angst (“I was the kid who was bitter that everything cool seemed to pass us by. Cool stuff, as in Duran Duran concerts.”)
…her time at the tanning salon.
…her token story (don’t we all have one?) about Wolf Blitzer. (“I once had to drive Wolf Blitzer to the mall so he could do some shopping. How cool is that?”)
…her personal victories. (“I’m proud to say the Tribune was, I think, the only paper in the country to report that Clinton wasn’t drunk.”)
Full profile after the jump…
She’s More Than OK
Holly Bailey covers the WH for Newsweek. She started at the mag as an intern in 1/03 before becoming a researcher and helping on the Campaign 2004 Election Project. Prior to her time at Newsweek, she worked for the Center for Responsive Politics. She got her start in journalism at the Oklahoma Gazette. But today she’s our Friday Feature:
Where’s your hometown? What was it like growing up there?
I’m from Oklahoma City, a place I never truly appreciated until I moved away. I grew up during the 1980s oil bust, so everybody was broke, jobs were being cut left and right, and it was pretty depressing. Two things got people through: OU football (Go Sooners!) and an unshakable belief that life in Oklahoma would eventually get better. People there have always tended to look on the bright side of things — the exception being our onetime unofficial state motto, “Oklahoma is OK.” While people were thinking positive and looking to the future, I was the kid who was bitter that everything cool seemed to pass us by. Cool stuff, as in Duran Duran concerts. I remember being pretty indignant when Prince bypassed Oklahoma City during his Purple Rain tour in 1984. Sure, I was 8, and my mom would have never let me go, but it was the principle. We loved “When Doves Cry” just as much as anybody else, dammit!
What was your first job?
My first *paying* job was booking appointments at a tanning salon during the summer before my senior year in high school. (Fake tans in summer? In Oklahoma, strangely, yes.) My first real *journalism* job was in 1995, when CNN hired a bunch of college kids to act as runners when they came to town after the Oklahoma City bombing. It was intense and amazing, but, in hindsight, also funny. They had us doing anything and everything. I constantly had at least $500 in my pocket just in case the bureau suddenly needed supplies. I was dispatched a few times to check out leads on militia protests or talk to people who supposedly saw “John Doe 2.” But, and this is the story I tell everybody, I once had to drive Wolf Blitzer to the mall so he could do some shopping. How cool is that?
What’s your most embarrassing on-the-job moment? (Or as embarrassing as you’d like to reveal?)
Back in 1997, I was an intern in the Chicago Tribune’s Washington bureau when Bill Clinton fell down some stairs at a party at Greg Norman’s house in Florida and tore ligaments in his knee. The regular White House reporter was out of the office, so they sent me to the Bethesda Naval Hospital to report on Clinton’s surgery. I obviously thought this was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to me and was determined to make the Tribune proud. The story was a little controversial. The White House didn’t tell the reporters traveling with Clinton about his accident until hours after it happened. Plus, everyone was suspicious. Clinton just randomly fell down some stairs? Mike McCurry was having a gaggle with reporters on the scene, and I asked what I thought was a totally legitimate question: Was Clinton intoxicated at the time of the accident? I’ll never forget it. Every reporter within earshot turned around and looked at me as though I were a martian, while Mike McCurry gave me perhaps the dirtiest look I have ever received, before answering a very curt, “No.” Slightly embarrassing, but I’m proud to say the Tribune was, I think, the only paper in the country to report that Clinton wasn’t drunk.
If you could interview any deceased person, who would it be and why?
It’s a tough choice, but if I thought he would be more forthcoming in his death, Timothy McVeigh. For people who were in Oklahoma at the time of the bombing, there are still a lot of questions about what happened and why. Perhaps we’ll never really know.
It’s 2024 — where are you and what are you doing?
I’ll still be reporting, but hopefully, I’ll be back in the Southwest. I miss the thunderstorms.
Name your favorite vacation spot.
Austin, Texas: great music, great barbecue, great people and, as my boyfriend can tell you, only an hour away from Schlitterbahn!
What is your favorite book and why?
Respectable answer: “Essays of E.B. White.” More honest answer: “The Dirt,” Neil Strauss’s biography of Motley Crue. Even if you despise hair bands, this is the best rock biography ever written. Period.
What would be your last meal — ever?
A cheeseburger, tater tots and a Cherry lime-aid slush from Sonic Drive-In.
What is the first section of the newspaper you read?
Weekdays: New York Times’ National Section. Weekends: Page Six.