Background and Biography
Shira T. Center (née Toeplitz) is the Politics Editor for Roll Call, the top news source on Capitol Hill, based in Washington, D.C. One of the beltway’s best campaign reporters and analysts, she has covered politics from Alaska to New Hampshire and everywhere in between for nearly a decade.
Known for her expertise, versatility, and comfort across media platforms, Shira regularly breaks news, pens long-form stories, and appears on television and radio outlets around the country. During her tenure at Roll Call, Shira was the first national reporter to interview Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., after his election, the last to do an extended interview with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin before she was selected as the GOP nominee for vice president, and the final reporter do an in-depth interview with former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. before his legal troubles came to light.
An authority on Congressional races, Shira spearheaded Roll Call’s coverage of the decennial redistricting process following the U.S. Census. She possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of the demographics and geography of Congressional districts, and she can articulate the intricacies of voting rights laws in digestible and interesting ways.
She uses social media to enhance and promote this work across all platforms, whether she is filing for Roll Call’s politics blog, "At the Races" or the newspaper, meanwhile updating her Twitter audience of more than 17,000 followers. She pioneered a reported campaign road trip on Roll Call’s first news microsite. In 2012, she served as an invited panelist at SXSW, the premier national technology conference in Austin, on the state of political journalism.
A frequent guest on cable news programs, Shira has offered commentary on political campaigns for ABC, NBC, CBS, CNBC, MSNBC, FOX, C-SPAN and CNN. She has guest hosted “Showdown 2012,” on XM’s politics station, POTUS.
Her writing has also appeared in the Washington Post, Washingtonian, National Journal and Reason Magazine. Shira has also worked at POLITICO and National Journal’s The Hotline.
In 2014, Shira was the selected to serve as a Resident Fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics, where she designed and led regular discussions on gender, journalism and the midterm elections. She is the youngest professional to ever participate in the program.
Shira has been a featured speaker at events for her alma mater, Northwestern University, spoke on political journalism to the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University, plus guest lectured on politics at American University and Georgetown University. She regularly speaks to Running Start, a non-partisan program for collegiate women in politics, and serves on that group's Advisory Council.
Shira graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in political science, earning honors for her thesis on gender and communication strategies in politics.
Shira hails from Pittsburgh and is an avid Steelers fan. She lives in D.C.’s H Street neighborhood with her husband and cat, who are also Steelers fans.