The Mirror

The Mirror Questionnaire With Atlantic Media Tech Blogger Frank Konkel

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Say hello to Atlantic Media’s tech blogger Frank Konkel. He’s in charge of NextGov‘s “Emerging Tech” blog. As a publicist said when pitching Konkel to me for the Questionnaire, “He’s hilarious. He grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan, loves motorcycles and leather jackets, and is generally our floor’s smartass-in-residence.”

Asked for his general impressions of Washington journalism, Konkel replied, “My honest impressions? I’ve only been here two years, so I’m not as well connected. A lot of close relationships with sources. A lot of talented reporters. Occasionally you wonder about all of the ethics involved in all that. I think for the most part D.C. journalists do a pretty good job.”

What about the BuzzFeedification of journalism — does he like this? “I think it’s just where news and new media is headed,” Konkel said. “People’s attention spans are a lot less than they used to be. Most people are reading the news on their phones, their laptops and it’s just easier. They keep things short, and in some ways the quick hit pieces are the most effective because they are being read the most. Do I like it? In some ways, yeah, and I’m a consumer of news too. I have no problem seeing what’s trending on Facebook and listicles.”

But he added, “I think it’s sad that that’s what it’s come to. But given where our time goes, it does make good sense. I think I wish I would’ve put a trademark on [listicle] a few years ago.”

Will this Michigander stay in This Town for long? “I like it here,” he said. “I’ll probably stay here. I like the job I got. This is a really cool city. We’ll see…I’m kind of a free and easy dude.”

Let’s proceed.

Bona Fides

Hometown: Hesperia, Mich.

Age: 30

Named for: My dad, grandpa and great grandpa – all Franks

First job ever: Driving tractors, hauling manure and milking cows on my folks’ dairy farm

Current employment: Events editor and technology writer at Atlantic Media’s Government Executive Media Group (Nextgov, Defense One, Government Executive), and guy in charge of Nextgov’s “Emerging Tech” blog.


If someone wants to get on your good side, what candy or liquor should they ply you with? Any candy makes me happy. Gin and tonics if they want to get on my professional good side. Shots of Fireball or Johnny Vegas (That’s tequila, watermelon pucker and Red Bull, my friends) to get on my slightly less professional good side.

Most exotic place you’ve ever visited: Peruvian rainforest.

Who is your celebrity crush? In order: Alice Eve, the green chick from Avatar/Guardians of the Galaxy and Monica Bellucci.

Least favorite word: Totes

A thought that makes you want to cry: Getting old.

Weirdest habit you’ve observed in a newsroom (workplace) setting? I once had a boss who dressed her many pets up in costumes so that they’d resemble other animals or inanimate objects – she’d actually bring her dog to the office dressed up as a lion or a football.

Time you spend on Twitter each day (be honest): Most days not long, but I tend to binge when there is interesting breaking news.

If you had to kiss a politician who would it be? I just Googled ‘hottest female politicians’ thinking Buzzfeed would have a comprehensive list, but they don’t. So after quick, non-extensive research that definitely didn’t consume any work time at all, I’m going to go with Eunice Olsen, a former Miss Singapore Universe pageant winner and member of parliament.

Queen Latifah or Dr. Oz? Queen Latifah because you know she’s gonna be a lot more fun to have a beer with.

Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer? Veronica Corningstone.

Chuck Todd or David Gregory? Whichever one shows the most flare with their tie that day.

John Stewart or Stephen Colbert? Stewart.

What’s next for you? I came to DC to do two things: Kick ass and chew bubblegum. And I’m all out of bubblegum, so…I’ll have more time to update my Emerging Tech blog.

What would you do with your life if absolutely nothing could stop you? Be Batman. Can’t believe you even needed to ask this question.

If you could encapsulate your predominant life philosophy in a phrase or a mantra, what would it be? #Beastmode

Do you believe in 5-year plans? If so, where do you hope to be in 5 years? In a marginally nicer apartment, I’m hoping.

Stolen from Inside the Actors studio: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Hey, man. We’ve got beers in the fridge, your family and friends are right over there, and hey, we even got your favorite squat rack right over here!”

Pick one: Homeland or Scandal: Game of Thrones

ABC’s GMA or NBC’s TODAY Show? GMA. I don’t even know why.

If you had to have a U.S. senator or congressman as your father who would it be? The (former) senator with the most swag ever, of course: Fightin’ Joe Biden.

Preferred beach anywhere in the world: Life’s my beach.

Guilty pleasure TV show: I used to love Jerry Springer.

The snack you eat most: Almonds & protein shakes.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how self-obsessed are you? (10 being you can’t tear yourself away from your own daily Google search and 1 meaning you often spend time in the country away from your computer and don’t give a crap about your Klout score.) Someone between 1 and Jason Derulo.

Workout regimen: Eat. Sleep. Lift. Repeat.

Pick one – flabby thighs, cankles or love handles? What if I don’t want to?

Choose: Beautiful eyes, best personality or perfect legs? Personality

A thought that brings you great joy: Summers back home on the farm.

Go for a stroll in the park with one of the following and explain the reason for your choice. 1. Rosie O’Donnell, The View. 2. CNN’s Chris Cuomo. 3. FNC’s Megyn Kelly. Megyn Kelly. Guessing she’s an amazing conversationalist.

A regret (of any kind): Not being Batman.

Snack you eat most: Almonds and protein shakes.

Any brushes with death? If so, please describe. A semi-truck blew a tire while I was passing on my motorcycle and I hit/ran over the debris – close call.

Since this is The Mirror Questionnaire, if you could change one thing about your physical appearance what would it be? My neck because ties always feel too tight.

And your personality? Be less serious all the time.

Just a preference Q: Bo or Sunny? Bo knows best.

Most annoying thing your editor (boss) does: His awesomeness is almost annoying.

From SiriusXM’s Julie Mason: What is the lie you always tell about yourself? That it’s cooler to be 30 than 21. It’s a total lie. Take me back!

From Stateless Media’s Peter Savodnik: Why do you matter? I don’t know how to put this, but… Konkel links here.

From New York Post’s Tara Palmeri: If you could give one politician or talking head a makeover, who would it be and what would you do? Make John Boehner look less orange.

 From lefty radio host Bill Press: Where’s the one place in Washington you’d love to have sex, but can’t? The first rule about answering survey questions like this is you do not answer survey questions like this.

Rank how hairy your butt is (1-10): Please refer to the first rule about answering survey questions like this. Also, Gordon Lubold didn’t have to answer this one either. Editor’s note: Are we talking to Gordon Lubold right now? I think not. The Aussie who came up with this question is going to be really disappointed.

From motivation author Sophia Nelson: What do you want people to say about you, not when you die, but as you live? He is the best pick-up basketball player I’ve ever seen.

From Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay: Which universally acclaimed piece of literature, art, film, or music can you simply not stand? Beyoncé. Seriously hate every song by her.

From GotNews’ Charles Johnson: What is one idea that you have that you are certain is true that no one else has? That Nicolas Cage characters make – by far – the best animated .GIFs.

Please provide a question for the next lucky victim of The Mirror Questionnaire. Make it good. It may live on indefinitely. Which ‘The Simpsons’ character best reflects your morals and values?