Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff rolled his eyes the first time he heard someone suggest that the scandal named after Monica S. Lewinsky could lead to impeachment.
“Give me a break,” he said. “I was just writing a story. You don’t look at it in that context. It didn’t occur to me that it was going to be taken quite that way.”
But it was.
And nothing was ever quite the same again for the reporter who first learned of President Clinton’s relationship with a White House intern.
Not that he actually broke the story.
Much to Isikoff’s horror, Newsweek held his explosive story while negotiating for more details with the office of independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr. Internet columnist Matt Drudge beat him to the punch. The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times beat him to print.
But Isikoff is still known as the reporter who first uncovered the scandal.
The last year has been a whirlwind for the 46-year-old investigative reporter who lives in Maryland with his wife and 5-year-old daughter. He’s been a fixture on television and a keynote speaker at Harvard and Yale. And he landed a reported six-figure deal with Random House’s Crown Publishers for a book about it all.
“Uncovering Clinton: A Reporter’s Story” is due out in April. The only thing not yet written is the epilogue, which Isikoff figures he’ll write this week.
He’s been on a three-month leave while finishing the book. He expects to return to Newsweek next month.
“A lot more people know who I am and recognize me on the street, which is not something I’m especially thrilled about. I don’t want to sound like I’m in mourning about it, either. It’s just a fact of life,” Isikoff said.