FishbowlDC Interview With WaPo’s Jen Chaney

Say hello to WaPo’s Celebritology blogger Jen Chaney. She went to work for the publication 11 years ago and says she’s still thrilled by her job. Of all our FishbowlDC interviewees in the span I’ve been working here, she’s first to admit she regularly reads her horoscope. Despite living in Washington and being raised up the road in Rockville, politics is not her thing. But celebrity watching is. “I’m really fascinated with fandom and what makes people obsessed with celebs and shows,” she said. Put it this way: “I’m actually more interested in the people who like Twilight than Twilight itself.” One aspect of celebrity reporting she occasionally finds troubling is red carpet reporting. She attended the Oscars this year, and to her dismay there was a lot of pushing and shoving. Chaney thought to herself, ‘Wait, we’re all getting mad at each other because we can’t find out what they’re wearing?’ Enjoy.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Probably Coke Zero, mainly because I drink so much of it, it seems like I should have turned into it by now.

How often do you Google yourself? Maybe twice a month, mostly when I can’t find an article that I need to dig up.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? The worst thing an editor ever said to me, or at least one of them: after being told by two editors that I would not be getting a promotion I really wanted at the time, one of those editors came up to me after the meeting and told me that, as a woman, I should never be afraid to ask for a raise. I think she meant well but at the same time I thought: wait, wasn’t I just doing that?

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Wow, it’s hard to come up with one person. I love reading Anthony Lane’s movie reviews because he’s smart, laugh-out-loud funny and sophisticated without looking down his nose at mainstream fare. I also admire Roger Ebert’s encyclopedic knowledge of cinema as well as the way he has embraced Twitter. And at the risk of tooting a Post horn, I enjoy reading virtually anything Hank Stuever writes.

Do you have a favorite word? I have many, so I’ll borrow my 4-year-old son’s favorite word at the moment: booty. Which is a pretty rock-solid choice, really.

What word or phrase do you overuse? “What the hell?” I say it many times a day. But never without justification. (Example: “What the hell is the reason for remaking ‘Dirty Dancing’?”)

Who would you rather have dinner with –  MSNBC’s Chris Matthews or FNC’s Chris Wallace? I am sure both would make fine dinner companions. But since I’m not the typical politically-focused D.C. journalist, I am not sure I could come up with enough policy-oriented chatter to get us through the appetizer-and-cocktails stage. Can I choose another Chris — maybe Rock or Colfer?

You are ordered to go on a road trip to an undisclosed location. You can go with White House Spokesman Jay Carney or Bo, the President’s Portuguese Water Dog. No ones feelings will be hurt. Who do you take? Probably Bo, for the same reasons noted in the previous answer. Traveling with a dog guarantees prolonged comfortable silences that don’t involve making small talk about politics.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Vibrate.

You won’t want to miss her secret…

It’s 3 a.m. and you get up to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Do you check your BlackBerry? Only if it’s buzzing.