Jay Carney talks with the New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg about being a press secretary

JIM RUTENBERG: You came to the administration from TIME Magazine, where, for a while, you covered the White House. How did your view of journalists change when you switched sides?

JAY CARNEY: I’m proud of a lot of my work. But if I had known then what I know now, I would have succumbed less often to chasing the same soccer ball down the field that everybody else was.

JIM RUTENBERG: Are you saying they’re shallow?

JAY CARNEY: I think the format reinforces a shallow approach.

JIM RUTENBERG: Were you surprised at times how tense things could get with your former colleagues?

JAY CARNEY: Sure. It can be surreal at the podium when you go down that front row and you have an exchange with one of the reporters in which there’s very emotional — maybe even theatrical — presentation and back and forth, and then you go to the next reporter and you have the same thing, as if the first one didn’t happen at all. You begin to wonder how valuable a service to the nation that is in the end.

JIM RUTENBERG: Do people in the first row like to showboat?

JAY CARNEY: If you look at the difference in tenor between the on-camera briefings and the on-the-record-but-off-camera gaggles, it’s night and day.

Excerpt from the interview: Jay Carney: ‘A Little Perspective Is Useful’