The 60-second interview: Chris Cillizza, political blogger, The Washington Post
CAPITAL: You've been writing The Fix blog since 2005, which seems like a lifetime in the current media environment. How do you explain the blog's longevity? How much longer do you plan to write it?
CILLIZZA: Well, I got in on the early-ish edge of political blogging by news organizations, for sure. I think the blog's longevity is largely due to the fact that we have been able to continue to add staff—we will have five full-time reporters dedicated to it very soon—and that we have been committed to evolving it over time. When I started the blog, it was sort of a breaking news vehicle. As the years have gone on, we have turned it into a more analytical site. With our new hires and a commitment from WaPo, we are moving the blog heavily into alternative storytelling—basically everything other than traditional articles. So, yes, The Fix has been around for some time but it's so different than it was even three years ago that it feels like an entirely new and different thing to me.
There's not a set timetable. I still enjoy the work I do. But, 2015 will be a decade of The Fix, which seems to me a good time to start looking to see what my next adventure might be.
CAPITAL: How would you analyze the state of political journalism these days? What are we getting too much of, and what are we not getting enough of?
CILLIZZA: I think political journalism—like all journalism—is in the midst of a massive change. Technology + the way people consume (and want to consume) information now is changing (or should be changing) how we cover things. It used to be that the only (or at least most effective) way to cover a presidential campaign was to travel with the candidate—seeing every word he/she uttered every day for months on end. I am not convinced that model works as well anymore in the age of Twitter, Vine etc.
CAPITAL: The Washington Post has been on a hiring spree under Jeff Bezos, and you've been able to add to your staff. Are you feeling optimistic about the future of political journalism at the Post?
CILLIZZA: It's hard not to feel optimistic when you see the commitment to hiring digital journalists that Jeff has shown since he bought the company last fall. We all spent a long time doing more with less. It's fun—and interesting—to do more with more. I have tweeted many times of late that the Post is the single most exciting place to be in journalism at the moment. No other organization is adding as many digital reporters as we are. It's not close. As for my staff, I have been very blessed by a series of wonderful people. One of the first two people to work for The Fix, Aaron Blake, is now running the blog's day-to-day operations—a continuity in terms of voice and content that really matters to me and, I think, to readers. And, having the chance to add several new people who bring their own story-telling skills is, obviously, awesome.
CAPITAL: There's been a lot of debate recently about blogs. Mainly, about whether blogs as they exist on news sites today can be considered "blogs" in the classic sense. Do you consider yourself a blogger, or more a reporter/commentator/analyst who writes on a subsite of The Washington Post's website?
CILLIZZA: A blog is a news-delivery vehicle. I don't much worry about what people call what my team does. We write reported analysis through a variety of storytelling mediums. People can call that "blogging", "analysis" or just plain-old reporting. I am good with any of those—as long as they read and enjoy the content we are putting out.
CAPITAL: With 205,000 followers on Twitter, you're something of a social media powerhouse. How has Twitter changed the game for you? Are you getting tired of "call your office" jokes?
CILLIZZA: Twitter has become central to what I do every day: from scanning it to making sure we are staying on top of the news to using it to push out our content. I first started using it back at the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver; it's amazing how central it has become to what I do every day. As for "call your office" jokes, I will never tire of them. I just hope Elon Green keeps updating his list of all the people I have told to call their office!