The FishbowlDC Interview With Roll Call HOH Columnists Neda Semnani & Warren Rojas

Say hello to Roll Call‘s HOH columnists Neda Semnani and Warren Rojas. These two nearly stressed me out completely when yesterday Warren wrote and asked, “This is all off-the-record right?” Oh, that’s really funny Warren! I asked if he was joking while audibly cursing him out. He replied, “Indubitably.” While we’ve known these two Capitol Hill troublemakers for awhile and see them often at events, we had no idea how filthy-mouthed Warren is. Neda, formerly a disaster management specialist among other things, is an angel. No one has ever answered the “last meal” question to the depth that they have – we may have to borrow some of these culinary delights. I asked them both to tell me about the other’s  strengths and weaknesses. They have a special rapport that’s quite touching. She: “Warren is amazing to work with: a hilarious badass writer, who never ever apologizes for the story. He gets me and the column. It is a once in a lifetime partnership. I learn how to be a good reporter from him. Also, he feeds me and plies me with booze, so that helps.” He: “As for working with Neda, I’ve had the privilege of toiling alongside some truly outstanding reporters throughout my career. And Neda is one of the finest. She has one of the most acutely tuned bullshit detectors I’ve ever encountered. Yet she’s far from jaded and never dismissive. Her knowledge of the the people and personalities that color the Congressional landscape is astounding. And I know we’re really on to something when her inner crusader comes roaring out.” Enjoy!

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

WR: Scotch and soda.

NS: Champagne in a can.

How often do you Google yourself?

WR: Every few (Hold, please) … (Okay, back now) seconds.

NS: My Google alert does it for me.

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

WR: I would perpetually badger one unabashedly aloof publisher about never, ever reading  a single word that I had written (still convinced they never did).

NS: Well, I am pretty sure I told one boss when I was old enough to know better that she was the worst person I had ever met, but maybe I just wish I did

Who is your favorite working journalist and why?

WR: I’m currently most enamored with the StoryCorps reports featured on NPR. They do an amazing job of giving voice to the underserved, the invisible or the just plain forgotten. And they do it in such a vivid and  compelling way that I don’t dare turn the dial, no matter what the source material.

NS: Warren, because he loves to alliterate near me.

Do you have a favorite word?

WR: Indubitably

NS: It’s a tie between anthropomorphic and synecdoche.

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

WR: Our readership is too highly evolved to resort to wanton violence. If anything, the offended might shoot me a sideways glance, let loose an audible “harrumph” or submit a cryptic New Yorker cartoon meant to impugn my manhood.

NS: I will smile and just hope the whole generic brown girl thing I got going works in my favor.

Who would you rather have dinner with – Roll Calls’s Mike Mills, Michaele and Tareq Salahi or Nelson Lewis? Tell us why.

WR:  Given his proclivity for bombast and identity theft, I’d have to go with Lewis. Confidence is high he’d spin a ton of entertaining yarns (all bullshit, of course). And one would hope that at the end of the night he sticks somebody/anybody else with the bill.