Three Washingtonians at the top of their game tell us about getting there, staying there, and what’s next.
Plenty to say: Outspoken ESPN host and sports journalist Michael Wilbon prepares for a live interview.
Michael Wilbon: Sportswriter and TV host of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption
How do you stay at the top of a constantly changing industry? “Evolve with it. Storytelling is fundamental for people who do it well—whether in the Washington Post, Vice Media, television, Twitter, or Facebook.” You’ve set the bar high for yourself. “I was 20 when I was an intern [at the Washington Post]. I worked for Ben Bradlee and alongside some of the greatest journalists in the world. You don’t come down.” Who should people be reading right now? “George Will. This year, he’s got a lot to say about Donald Trump—much of it harsh, much of it critical, all of it brilliant.” You’re very outspoken. “People say, ‘I love it because you’re objective.’ No, I’m not. I have a point of view about most everything. If you don’t want that person trying to persuade you about what to think about the news of the day, then turn somewhere else. It’s not authentic.” Best advice: “Pay attention to the people whose work you admire and do what they do.”
Ryan Kerrigan: Washington Redskins linebacker, Blitz for the Better Foundation founder
DC: “I absolutely love it. It’s the place that I’ve made home, even in the off-season.” His new hometown: “We don’t have [MLB or NHL] teams in Indiana, so I immediately adopted the Nats and the Caps. I’m still loyal to my Pacers, but I root for the Wizards when they’re not playing the Pacers.” DC eats: “I really love Filomina in Georgetown and Bourbon Steak.” Being a role model: “If something means enough to you, you’ll make the appropriate decisions. I want to be seen as a good Samaritan, a good member of the community, someone that kids can look up to, but at the same time still be seen as a normal person... because I am.” Best advice: “Don’t do something your mom wouldn’t want you doing.” About Blitz for the Better: “Special needs children are close to my heart, because I have a cousin who has autism. We want to brighten their day and provide resources to their families.”
Josh Bernstein: Explorer, History and Discovery Channels host-turned-educator
Exploration: “I became a professional traveler and explorer in 2004 and haven’t looked back. It’s about pursuing a desire to experience something new.” What’s next: “Explorer At Large is a curiosity-driven media platform. Similar to my work at the networks, I’ll be hosting the show as we travel the world exploring things of interest. The difference is that each episode will be only five minutes long; they’re designed to be mobile-friendly. You can watch me tag sharks in one episode, explore tombs in another, and rappel over a cliff in a third.” Why DC? “Explorer At Large and the Smithsonian share a mission to educate, and we can work together to bring content to millions of people beyond the National Mall. Over the next 10 to 20 years, we’ll be creating an archive of educational media content that will hopefully change the way STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Design, Mathematics] is taught.”