The Fishbowl Interview With Brian Williams

Say hi to NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. He was recently in Washington to attend the traditional off-the-record news anchor lunch with President Obama. He has been with the network since 1993 and is the seventh anchor in NBC Nightly News history.

How often do you Google yourself? It has been months since I Googled myself. Last time I did, I saw my Wikipedia page, which is a comedy – starting with the wrong birthplace. So much of it is just handwriting on the wall – someone decided we have two dogs in my household (we have one) and now, somehow, its fact. I hope our fictional dog gets along with our real one.

Who is your favorite working journalist? There’s no way to answer this question and not make enemies with any number of superb working journalists.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? I’d love to have dinner with both. Wouldn’t that be something?

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

What word or phrase do you overuse? “Tonight…”

Where do you shop most often for your clothes? There’s no one store, and I don’t enjoy shopping, so I try to shop a lot on the web.

Who was your mentor? The only living example I had in how to do this job was Tom Brokaw. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up watching the best as a viewer, and then to work here with legends of our business.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? I was reporting live on a cold night in New York for WCBS-TV. My mouth was frozen, and I meant to say “City-run shelters.” It didn’t come out that way. Use your imagination.

What’s the best advice you ever received in the course of your career? My former Washington news director, the late Betty Endicott, told me to envision that I was talking to a room full of family and friends. I think about that every day.

Read more about Williams after the jump…

If you were trapped on a deserted island, which public official would you want to be trapped with and why? Defense Secretary Gates, because he has helicopters, helpful in island rescues.

What and where was your first job in journalism? If you don’t count high school and college newspapers or stringing for local papers in Jersey, my first TV journalism job was at KOAM-TV in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Which one interview of your career did you enjoy most? Nelson Mandela, the morning after his election.

What’s the biggest scoop you’ve ever had? Hard to say – its been 26 years or so. I’d have to think about that. I’ve been fortunate to have sources who enjoy talking on the phone.