Judy Kurtz is the “In the Know” columnist for The Hill newspaper in Washington, D.C., where she covers gossip, the District’s nightlife and social scene, celebrities and politics. Kurtz has contributed to several local and national news programs, appearing on MSNBC, FOX News Channel, HLN, “Inside Edition,” Canada’s Sun Network, WTTG-TV, WRC-TV and SiriusXM satellite radio.
A D.C. native, Kurtz began her journalism career with a stint at People magazine. She also has worked as a television reporter and host in Baltimore and Washington and covered entertainment and technology for several digital publications.
Kurtz is mom to an 11-month-old son and loves spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, exercising and being a celeb news junkie.
MPS JO: What inspired you to pursue a career in journalism?
Judy Kurtz: Growing up in Washington and around journalists, I’ve been surrounded by news and politics my whole life. It was hard not to get hooked!
MPS JO: What is a typical day like for you at The Hill? What are your responsibilities?
JK: Working as a gossip columnist in Washington definitely isn’t your typical 9 to 5 job. Every day (and night) is something different.
Whether I’m headed to the Capitol to talk to lawmakers, chatting up celebrities on the red carpet or covering the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, my job certainly keeps me on my toes. On any given day, I’ll be crashing on deadline to file my column for the print paper, blogging the latest gossip online, doing television and radio hits about some of my stories, and tweeting up a storm.
MPS JO: What is your favorite thing about working at The Hill?
JK: I have a lot of favorite things, but working at the Capitol is pretty high up there. As a history nerd, getting to interview lawmakers at the Capitol building and at the White House really never gets old. I think that the day that walking around those marble hallways doesn’t feel like a privilege, is the day it’s probably time to go.
MPS JO: Do you have any advice for students looking for internships or jobs?
JK: Do as many internships as possible! They’re the best way to learn. And take whatever job is available just to get your foot in the door. I ran the teleprompter for a TV station in Nashville for my first job out of college. It wasn’t my “dream” job, but it was an opportunity, and I grabbed it. I’d go to the station on my off days to practice shooting standups and putting together packages, and that’s what helped me build my reel to get my next job.
Finally, find a mentor and stay connected with that person even after your internship or job is over. I’m still in touch with my mentors, who have helped, supported and guided me through the professional ups and downs!
MPS JO: What is the most memorable piece you’ve published?
JK: I wrote a story in 2012 on folks who were trying to hawk tickets to the presidential inauguration on online auction sites. The article ignited a firestorm, as sellers were trying to make big bucks on tickets that were supposed to be free and doled out through a congressional office lottery system. After it was published, the online auction houses pledged to work with lawmakers to ban the practice on their sites.
MPS JO: What do you think is the biggest challenge young journalists face?
JK:I think trying to juggle multiple responsibilities without dropping any of those balls along the way is tough for journalists young and old. We have to constantly be filing stories, shooting and editing video (if you’re in TV), tweeting, talking to sources, writing for the web, and so many other things, while not sacrificing accuracy, ethics and all that good stuff.
MPS JO: Tell us how your classes from the Journalism program have helped you in your current job.
JK: The program has helped diversify my journalism experience and has given me the opportunity to explore a variety of different beats. Also, brushing up on the basics, such as ethics and writing, is never a bad thing. I’ve also appreciated the guidance and knowledge that Georgetown professors bring to their jobs and to the classroom.
MPS JO: How do you balance school with work?
JK: Juggling school, work and a baby is no joke! I feel very fortunate to be in the position I’m in and to have a great job and a super supportive family. Beyond that, lots and lots of chai tea lattes.
MPS JO: Where do you see yourself in five years?
JK: Running after an almost 6-year-old! And maybe filing my column while sitting in a beach chair, if I ever manage to convince The Hill to open up a bureau on some tropical island.