Sara Catania is the editorial director at Zócalo Public Square. She was previously West Coast editor in charge at Reuters and vice president of digital news for NBC4 Southern California. Before moderating the Zócalo/The California Wellness Foundation event, “How Do You Fix a ‘Bad’ Neighborhood?”, she revealed in the Zócalo green room her longtime fear of The Wizard of Oz monkeys, her love of all cheeses, and why the people she loves are also her favorite villains.


Q: What cheese best describes you?
I love cheese. I love all cheese. I’m sort of torn between a really nice bleu and a Gruyère, because they satisfy different cheese needs, but they’re both really great.

Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve as an editor?
[Laughs.] People who don’t want to be edited.

Q: What’s your greatest extravagance?
My children.

Q: When did you last sing in public?
This afternoon, as I was preparing for this event.

Q: What did you sing?
I think I sang PJ Harvey, “This Mess We’re In.” It’s a duet with Thom Yorke from Radiohead. It’s wonderful. Very therapeutic.

Q: What’s the best thing about working at Zócalo?
Getting to do the kind of stories that move the conversation about who we are and why we’re here. I love that.

Q: Who’s your favorite villain?
I don’t really believe in good guys and bad guys. I think we all have a little villain in us. So probably pick any person I love, and they’re my favorite villain.

Q: What’s your hidden talent?
I can jump double dutch.

Q: What do you like most about the neighborhood you live in now?
I can walk to Griffith Park. It’s a 2½ -mile walk, but that’s good motivation.

Q: Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?
I still remember the worst nightmare I ever had. It wasn’t recurring, but I still remember it from when I was, like, 5. It involved the monkeys from The Wizard of Oz and it was horrifying, and I’m still scared of those monkeys.

Q: What’s your favorite spectator sport?
I’m so not into sports of any kind, although I will say I love watching sports with sports fans. I like the social aspect of that, so I guess I’ll say baseball. It’s a fun sport to watch with other people. It’s super social.

*Photo by Aaron Salcido.