Anna Scott reports on housing and homelessness for KCRW, where she also created the podcast Samaritans and produced Press Play, To the Point, and Which Way, L.A.? Before moderating a Zócalo/United Way event, co-presented with the Committee for Greater Los Angeles, “What Will It Take to End Homelessness in L.A.?,” Scott chatted in the green room about “Ghostbusters” karaoke, revisiting Griffith Park in COVID, and how her podcast borrows from Erin Brockovich.
Your name, Anna Scott, happens to also be the name of the character Julia Roberts plays in Notting Hill. Do you have a favorite Julia Roberts movie?
Well, I obviously do have a soft spot for Notting Hill just because it’s kind of an ego boost to watch it and hear about Anna Scott, this huge movie star who’s so beloved. Erin Brockovich is definitely my all-time favorite Julia Roberts movie. This is kind of a fun fact—it's one of those movies that gets cited in screenwriting books as an example of great story structure. So last year, when I was scripting my podcast Samaritans, I had this mountain of tape, and I had to figure out how to put it all together. I actually used the template of the Erin Brockovich story to structure that podcast.
What’s your favorite podcast that you're listening to at the moment?
I’m a huge true crime podcast fan, which is pretty basic, but I love them like everybody else, so I really love The Murder Squad. I am also a big fan of Who? Weekly, the podcast about C- and D-list celebrity gossip. And In The Dark—the whole season about Curtis Flowers was just incredible, and such a great example of doing investigative reporting in audio form.
If you weren’t a journalist, what would you be doing?
Maybe I’d be a private investigator. Now, probably my fantasy version of what that job entails is a lot different than the actual reality. But the things that I really like best about journalism are talking to people I would never otherwise meet, learning about new things, learning about all different people's experiences, and being able to follow my curiosity.
What would you say is your hidden talent?
It’s not that hidden from people who know me, but dancing. Not to toot my own horn, but my mom owned a dance studio when I was growing up, so I did a lot of dancing and, and still do, or did until the pandemic started. For a couple of years, I was doing in-house dance classes for my colleagues at KCRW once a week during lunchtime. We would do choreographed routines to all kinds of pop songs.
Aside from dancing, what's something that you're most excited to do now that Los Angeles is reopening?
Karaoke. I love karaoke.
What's your go-to karaoke song?
“Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.
Was there a place that you got to know better in Los Angeles during the pandemic?
I become so attached to the Ferndell area and Griffith Park. I have a 3-year-old, so it’s endless fun for him. We can walk on the trails around there, there’s a playground, and we can do part of the trail up to the Observatory. A little L.A. hack I discovered during the pandemic is ff you go before sunset, the picnic tables outside of Trails Cafe—which is closed at that hour—is a great spot for a little takeout picnic with friends.