News & Politics

Area Journalist Will Make 500 Videos Until Obama Grants Him an Interview

Patrick Gavin would like to earn an interview with President Obama. The former Politico reporter and director of the surprisingly bad-ass documentary Nerd Prom figures he may be able to work hard enough to get some facetime with the commander-in-chief during his last 500 days in office.

Gavin will document this quest in 500—500—videos, the first two of which he’s posted in the last two days. If you like these, a lot more are on the way.

“The theory here is to use my background in political reporting and filmmaking to take viewers into a world that they never get to see: How reporters actually land an interview with the president, from beginning to end,” he writes in an email. As he did with Nerd Prom, Gavin writes that he plans to seek access in a public way:

The entire thing will be transparent—my phone calls, my emails, my struggles, my highs and lows, my efforts to educate myself further so that I might prove worthy of an interview, my efforts to find out from others how *they* got an interview, my crowdsourcing of exactly what kind of questions I’m interested in asking—and what others want to ask, too.

Asked what kind of response he’s received so far, Gavin says: “not a peep.” That’s cool: “Obviously, I think these things have to be earned. I hardly expect it to be easy and I’ll have to build an audience for POTUS to even see any advantage in doing an interview.”

Gavin’s not completely out to lunch on this quest. In the past year, Obama has done interviews with upstart media properties including Vox, BuzzFeed, and YouTube, and he recently appeared on Marc Maron‘s podcast. And none of those interviewers were halfway as telegenic as Gavin!

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.