The FishbowlDC Interview With WaPo Express’s Clinton Yates

Say hello to WaPo Express‘s unassuming Local News Editor Clinton Yates. He writes the snappy new Lunchline feature that highlights stories of the day. The feature began in November. “The idea is to get eyeballs on the Post, Slate, Foreign Policy, The Root, Capital Business, and Express Night Out,” he says. Yate’s favorite writer is easily Christopher Hitchens. “Just a smart guy who isn’t afraid to say what he thinks,” he says. “He’s also not afraid to be wrong, which is something I admire.” The 29-year-old journo was working in radio but landed  the Express job four years ago. He says it’s “a little bit of a dream job scenario to go to work for the paper I grew up reading.”

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Probably Fanta.

How often do you Google yourself? I have a Google alert for my name.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? Huh. That’s hard to say. Probably the worst thing when I openly told an editor that an idea of theirs was idiotic. That was that. You know, respectful. Nobody was shocked. I’m generally not afraid to tell people what I think, but not a fan of being mean to people for no reason.

Who is your favorite working journalist? I would likely say Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports. A lot of what he does revolves around race, politics, culture in America. He tells it how it is.

Do you have a favorite word? Tremendous.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? I would like to have dinner with either one of them, but I’d pick Palin because her food choices would be more outlandish.

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

When did you last cry and why? It was when I saw “Where the Wild Things Are” because I love that book as a little kid and reminded  me a little bit of my own life.

What word do you routinely misspell? Illegal.

What swear word do you use most often? Fuck.

What word or phrase do you overuse? “Situation” and that was before Jersey Shore came out. I’ve had to wane myself off it. For example, What’s up dude, situation? Do you like The Situation? I wouldn’t say I like him. I respect his hustle.

What TV show do you have to watch? TV Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption with Tony Kornheiser. They come on back to back on ESPN.

Where do you shop most often for your clothes? On the Internet.

Whom do you prefer for daytime talk, Dr. Phil, Ellen, Oprah, Tyra or the women of The View? Well considering I’m at the office for most of those, what I actually like is “Street Smarts” with Erin Burnett.

Pick one: Leno, Letterman or Conan? Letterman.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, which public official would you want to be trapped with and why? Rahm Emanuel because he could probably get us off the island. Cause he’s loud.

Who is your mentor? Mike Wilbon. I met him while I was in college and he’s part of the reason why I stayed interested in journalism.

What’s the best advice you ever received in the course of your career? It was from Wilbon. He told me that no matter what it may seem, there was place in America for the voice of people like me. Specifically black men. Specifically black men of a certain amount of intellect. Meaning non rappers, actors or athletes. Wilbon told me that not all athletes, musicians and actors are otherwise without intellect, but success on writing/journalistic talent alone as a black man in America is not easy.