Maria Bartiromo: My Life in Media

'I was one of the first people to report live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. You saw me trying to keep my composure in a sea of suits'
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The Independent Online

Maria Bartiromo, 38, is the presenter of CNBC's Closing Bell and The Wall Street Journal Report, which is syndicated across the US. As a teenager she worked in her parents' Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. She went on to become the first journalist to report live each morning from the New York Stock Exchange, which earned her the nicknames "Money Honey" and "Econo Babe" and made her such an icon that punk legend Joey Ramone wrote a song for her. She is married to Jonathan Steinberg, founder of an investment firm, and has a Maltese puppy called Ella Bella.

So what inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

I studied journalism at New York University and I had always done well at business. I love what I do; that is definitely something that drives me.

When you were 15, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?

We got local papers, the Daily News and The New York Times. I wasn't really aware of the global story when I was young. I would go for entertainment stories. I can't say I gravitated towards business as a child.

What were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

I was always very outgoing. I don't have very vivid memories of me taking in the media at that age. I did watch I Love Lucy.

Describe your job

Very fast paced. I have a lot of deadlines because I have two live television shows on CNBC, an interview programme on NBC; I write two different columns in Reader's Digest and Business Week, and I just recently launched a radio programme.

What media do you turn to first thing in the morning?

On a normal working day I'll read the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and some of the New York papers.

Do you consult any media sources during the day?

I like Yahoo Finance and Bloomberg, and I'll look at the Drudge Report. I've got some systems at work that I use: the BridgeChannel and Reuters. The BridgeChannel is a professional traders system; I check stock quotes and pull up news on it.

What is the best thing about your job?

I have an ability to interview business people and executives from around the world. Since I came back from the World Economic Forum in Davos (in January) I must have spoken to 1,500 people about different aspects of the economy. I love finding out what people are thinking when it comes to business.

And the worst?

I'm constantly on deadline and it can get very stressful. Today I was up at 5am because I did an appearance on the Today show on NBC and went down to the New York Stock Exchange and talked about the federal reserve and inflation. That was over at 8am and I'm on my way now to interview someone for my Business Week column. I don't go to the CNBC studios until 11am because my show, Closing Bell, airs at 3pm. Every day varies.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

I have real relationships with people. Because of those relationships, if a company's in crisis I can access that person and educate shareholders and employers as to what's happening. I think that the viewers trust that when I have top people in business on I'm going to ask the right questions.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

I was one of the first people to report live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. No one knew it was live. People would bump into me and knock me off my perch, so there were plenty of embarrassing moments. You saw me trying to keep my composure in a sea of suits, and I think because of that viewers rooted for me.

At home, what do you tune in to?

I don't watch a lot of television or news away from work. I tend to watch a lot of movies. I like Jennifer Aniston and Scarlett Johansson. I love old movies and Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren.

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

On a Sunday I get The New York Times, the Financial Times and the New York Post. When I travel I always get the fashion magazines. I like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Glamor.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire

I'd like to do longer interviews. I really like sitting down with a person and trying to figure out what makes them tick. I'd like to interview President Bush.

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

My whole life I've had this dream of being a back-up singer.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Charlie Rose [American journalist and talk show host] is really terrific. I admire Diane Sawyer very much. She's a class act.

The cv

1988: Spends five years as a producer and assignment editor with CNN Business News.

1993: Joins CNBC and in 1995 begins a decade of live reporting from the New York Stock Exchange, covering breaking news for CNBC's Squawk Box.

1997: Receives the Coalition of Italo-American Association's Excellence in Broadcast Journalism award.

2001: Publishes the best-selling Use the News: How to Separate the Noise from the Investment Nuggets and Make Money in Any Economy.

2006: Starts Money Matters, a radio report giving personal finance advice on Clear Channel Radio