Lee-Anne Goodman is the Washington Correspondent for The Canadian Press.
The Canadian Press serves newspapers, broadcasters, websites, wireless carriers, magazines, government and corporate clients.
She can be contacted at
What do you actually do in your job? I report and write on issues, stories and personalities that I think would most interest Canadians.
What is the hardest thing about your job? The realization that I won’t have it forever, because it is easily the best job I’ve ever had.
What do you most enjoy about it? It’s hard work, and you have to be engaged 24/7 in terms of what’s going on in the U.S. capital and beyond. I am rarely, if ever, not checking my Blackberry for news. But I am also living and working in an amazing city in an unexpectedly beautiful part of the world that I really enjoy exploring. It is both a journalistic and quality-of-life wonderland in a lot of ways.
Where were you born and raised? Toronto
What did you study? Journalism at Ryerson, back when it was still a “polytechnical institute.”
What was your first job and what path led you to your work today? My first job was bussing tables at a little German restaurant in the neighbourhood where I grew up, the Beach in Toronto. It was a disaster; I put the dirndl on backwards, broke things, couldn’t operate the dishwasher, embarrassed myself completely on every front. Perhaps it helped me realize that my professional path was not in the service industries.
What is the best advice you received in the course of your career? “No one cares about you and your opinions. Keep yourself out of the story, unless someone gives you a column.”
Looking back, what are you most proud of? Besides raising two smart and funny children, getting this job, to be honest. The fact that my bosses had the confidence to send me here was stupefying. When I wrote my first story here, and typed in “Washington” for my placeline, I cried, and I am not generally a weepy person. But this was a job I’d dreamt of having all my life, so it felt like a real personal triumph. I grew up in a family obsessed with the Kennedys; I read Death of a President at 12, and became consumed with All The President’s Men when I wasn’t much older. So I had avidly followed American politics all my life, and was quite proud of myself when I ended up here.
When and how do you start your day? I get up at about 7 and immediately peruse all the websites and blogs I read, including most of the major U.S. dailies, plus The Hill and Ben Smith at Politico. If there’s no Canadian politician in town or heading to town, I figure out what I should write about. Canadian content usually takes precedence, but most days there isn’t a lot going on there, though I am always trying to sniff out bilateral stories. By 9 or 10, I am headed to the office and have given my editors a rough idea of what I hope to file on. I also try to go to the White House press briefing every day, regardless of what I am writing about. Sometimes the briefing will cause my plans to change if something newsy and unexpected crops up.
Blogs or websites you find interesting or useful: Politico and The Hill, first and foremost. The Hill in particular covers Capitol Hill better than anybody.
Where are you most likely to be found when you’re not working? At home in a lovely wooded neighbourhood of Silver Spring, MD, cooking, reading, listening to music too loudly, walking my dog by Sligo Creek and/or hanging out with a lovely gentleman caller who shares my homebody tendencies and most of my hobbies. Or at my son’s high-school hockey game cheering him on.
If you had an alternative career, what would it be? I really think I could have been very happy working with animals. A zoo-keeper or a marine biologist or something in that vein. I am obsessed with orangutans and elephants, for example, and I have decided my boyfriend resembles a monkey, a pygmy marmoset to be exact (in facial expressions only, not stature). This has strangely made him even more attractive to me.
Favorite sports team? I can’t say the Leafs. I just can’t. But I guess it has to be the Leafs. Darryl Sittler-era Leafs, though.
Who is your hero or heroine? I was always really inspired by Helen Thomas, and was so disappointed that her career ended on such a sour note. She forged a path for herself during a very difficult time in a totally male-dominated profession. I was in awe of her when I went to my first White House press briefing. There she was in the front row, well into her 80s, still asking tough questions of the White House. I introduced myself to her later and she was sweet, smart and still sharp as a whip, wanting to know all about Canada and the political climate there.
Drink of choice? Gin and tonic.
Hobbies? Hiking, vertical Stairmaster at the gym, music, cooking, writing.
What is one worthwhile book you read in the past year? I loved Essays in Love by Alain de Botton. It’s not new, but I’d never read it before, and he’s got such an engaging voice. It’s a funny, sad and wise exploration of the mind-games people play, not with one another, but with themselves, when they’re falling in love. I read it last summer while hanging out in a little cottage overlooking the sea on the southwest coast of England — it was perfect. I would read passages out loud and we would both chuckle nervously.
What is one thing you’d like to learn more about? The U.S. Constitution, and, separately, how anyone thought the filibuster was a good idea. And the American affection for guns. I get it, but I really don’t get it. It’s not 1783 anymore.
What is your favorite place in Canada and your favorite place in the US? Banff is so pristine and wondrous, but I also really love the open waters of Georgian Bay, up around Kilbear Provincial Park and further north. It is so stunning there. In the U.S., I am trying to focus on the areas in the Blue Ridge Mountains around D.C. There is a historical little place called Harpers Ferry where the Potomac and the Shenandoah rivers meet — you can laze down both rivers in inner tubes and I am having serious retirement fantasies about that town. And I also love Assateague Island on the Maryland shore where wild ponies run all over the place and there are lovely, windswept sand dunes and great body-surfing. But beyond this part of the world, the Pacific coast between San Francisco and up to Oregon.
What is one thing you’d like to tell Canadians about the U.S., and/or one thing you’d tell Americans about Canada? Americans actually really love Canadians. They find us fascinating and cool and think we’ve done almost everything right as a country. Also — most Americans are not Tea Party-ers, and are horrified by the entire movement, and many are as socially liberal as we are, even in the much-maligned Red States. As for what I tell Americans about Canada, it’s mostly that our health-care system is not socialist, that we don’t go on yearlong waiting lists if we have brain cancer, and that we don’t say “a-boot.” They say a-BOWWWWWT. We say it right.
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