Accomplishments Host of The Situation Room on CNN (weekdays at 4 p.m., Saturdays at 6 p.m.); lead political anchor for CNN’s prime-time coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions
Base Washington, D.C.
What’s the first information you consume in the morning?
I go to my BlackBerry and I look at my email. A lot is junk, but some emails are really good. We have a CNN political ticker with all the major news of the day, a domestic note and an excellent international note. Then I get the first reads, Mike Allen’s Politico Playbook and all that.
What occupies your mind in the car, on the subway, train or bus?
I’m almost always on the phone on the way to work. I usually check in with some good sources, try to get ideas about what’s going on and learn a little bit more about the important stories.
Are you a TV junkie or on an airtime-restricted diet?
I’m what you would call a classic news junkie and a sports enthusiast. I love the Washington Nationals and the Washington Wizards, and I love football, so I watch a lot of SportsCenter on ESPN. Lately, I’ve been watching The Newsroom on HBO. I’m always thinking, “That sounds pretty authentic” and “These characters could fit into The Situation Room,” or “That’s ridiculous, that could never happen.” But it’s entertaining, especially as a working journalist.
What’s the most important digital tool when covering the conventions?
Between my laptop and my BlackBerry, I do most of my communicating and checking in. I spend a lot of time on Twitter. It’s a great way to get information, and it’s a great way to get reaction. If I make some technical mistake on air, within seconds I’m getting tweets from viewers, and I can correct it.
After a long day reporting at the conventions, how do you wind down?
I’ll usually be done at midnight, and we have a CNN Grill that’s open at least another hour or two. I’ll go over there and see some friends and relax a bit if I’m still pumped up and not ready to go back to the hotel and go to sleep.
Which is more nutritious: print or Web?
Right now, Web. All of the print stuff is on the Web, for all practical purposes. I grew up reading newspapers. When I was a boy, I read the Buffalo Courier-Express and the Evening News, and I still get The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal every morning. But nowadays, I’m discovering that I’ve read most of the main articles the night before because they post on the Web a lot earlier.
With such a bloated media universe, how do you cut out the fat?
The only way to do it is to be selective. You can spend an hour working on one little story, or you can spend three days working on it—there’s so much material out there. In the end, you’ve just got to pick and choose and go with what you trust.