A Pioneer In Journalism: Maria Bartiromo Discusses the State of Today’s Industry and Shares Her Greatest Advice

A Pioneer In Journalism: 

Maria Bartiromo Discusses the State of Today’s Industry and Shares Her Greatest Advice

“Excellence comes through preparation,” Maria Bartiromo tells me on the best advice she’s received. This advice came from her mother, the same woman who encouraged Bartiromo—the host of Mornings with Maria on FOX Business Network and anchor of Sunday Morning Futures on FOX News Channel—to take a journalism class in her junior year of college at New York University. “She knew I always wanted to be on camera so I took some journalism classes and I absolutely loved it—I loved writing, producing, recording.”

So Bartiromo switched her major from economics to journalism and dived into the industry. With that decision, she committed to preparation for a lengthy and successful career by beginning as an intern at CNN, establishing herself at CNBC, where she spent 20 years, and in her most recent transition to the FOX network five years ago.

Today, Bartiromo anchors 16 hours of live television every week, holds two Emmys, a Gracie award, and of course, the impressive title as the first journalist to report live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 1995. “I was the first journalist—not the first female, just the first journalist on the exchange,” Bartiromo says.

As she celebrates her fifth anniversary at FOX, Bartiromo also celebrates a new record set by Mornings with Maria, with the show recently surpassing its competition, CNBC’s Squawk Box, for the first time ever.

SWAAY caught up with Bartiromo to chat more about her milestones, to understand how the industry has changed over her career, as well as to cover all things business—including some tips on money management for the young investor.

In the last 30 years, what do you think has been the greatest shift in the industry?

The industry has expanded and grown tremendously; I’ve been able to watch the empowerment of the individual investor. When I first started out, individuals were just beginning to figure out that they could arm themselves with the right information and they could make their own investment decisions, rather than paying enormous fees to money managers who may or may not get it right. I’m proud to say that I was part of the democratizing of investment information, where I was able to help investors get on the same playing field as the big institutions, just by arming them with information.

We caught you in the midst of your five year anniversary celebrations at FOX. How does it feel to accomplish the viewings and reputation you have at FOX after only five short years?

I’m proud of everything we’ve done at FOX because I’ve been able to really help investors and individuals better understand what’s happening in the world today, whether it’s business news or policy coming out of the new administration. Or, some of the big issues that we talk about like China, or technology changes, like artificial intelligence and how artificial intelligence is changing so many industries and the way we work and live. Because of that, the show is really resonating and I think people understand we’re not short term thinkers, we’re not trying to tell you what the stock market is going to do in a day or what the earnings are going to be in three months, but more so we try to help them navigate long-term planning for their money and long-term planning for their lives.

When you talk about your audience, do you find it’s female focused?

It’s both men and women. I have a big following of women because they’ve been with me throughout my career—remember, I was the first person to broadcast from the New York Stock Exchange and I think that when I did that, there were a lot of women who were rooting me on for being on the floor of the exchange trying to report in the middle of a sea of suits. Because of that, I think women relate to me and they know the challenges I’ve had in terms of being a woman in a man’s business, but at the same time, with a big male audience as well because business is largely a male-dominated audience.

“I was the first journalist—not the first female, just the first journalist on the exchange”

Courtesy of Maria Bartiromo

What is your approach to seeking out long-form stories?

I try to deal with longform stories that are relatable to my audience. It’s all about the viewers. Back in 2006, when I was at CNBC, it was really surprising to me that Google was saving search data. When I found that out, I thought, this needs to be discussed.

I’m really happy I did because it won an Emmy Award and 13 years later we’re still talking about the same issue, about privacy.

Now, at FOX, I’m working on a longform piece on artificial intelligence because I think artificial intelligence truly is changing our world—it’s changing the way we live, the way we work—and because of that, people want more information: they want to know why? How is this happening? And what does this mean for my job?

Over the years, have you found any outstanding trends among your audience?

We have all these disagreements on politics and yet we’re all very much the same. What I find from my viewers is they just want honesty, they want to know what issues are important to women, to men, and what are the solutions.

“I’m proud to say that I was part of the democratizing of investment information, where I was able to help investors get on the same playing field as the big institutions, just by arming them with information.”

What about some of your favorite trends you’re covering?

I like the subjects of artificial intelligence, healthcare and wellness. The marriage of healthcare and technology is really interesting because today, you’ve got semi-conductive chips in so many things and it’s tracking everything—how we sleep, how we exercise, how we eat and I think people are increasingly interested in tracking all this stuff.

I love looking at business, big deals, consolidation. In 2019, there’s a huge new plate of IPOs coming out—familiar names like UBER and LYFT and Slack, all these companies are going public so it’s giving investors the opportunity to own some of the most familiar names and companies that we use all the time.

How do you stay up to date with all that’s happening?

I speak to a lot of people— at this stage in the game, I have an incredible rolodex of policy makers, lawmakers, influencers, CEOs, entrepreneurs so I’m seeing what they’re doing. I’m also listening to my audience and I’m an aware consumer so I focus on what resonates with people. In my free time, I’m on the board at NYU so I’m listening to what younger consumers want too.

Let’s talk about your free time—Your routine has you up at 3am and starting coverage at 6am—can you walk us through these two hours? Then how do you find balance in the rest of your day?

I’m on the air everyday, live, from 6 to 9am. So, I’ve got to be in around 5-5:30am. My make-up artist comes to my house at 3:45am so I do hair and make-up at home. The show’s always jammed packed and there’s a lot of prep, then after the show, I have a lot of meetings. I try to take a two hour nap everyday otherwise it’s really hard to get enough sleep. Then I try to get in bed by 8:30pm but you’ve got to have a life too! Sometimes, I want to go to dinner so I make sure to have the nap. I love my schedule — it gets me up first thing in the morning. It gets me on the air where I’m focused on setting the tone for the news day.

Where can we find you on a day off?

On a day off, I go to the Hamptons. I love the beach; I walk or ride my bike along the beach.

What’s one step we should all be doing to better understand our finances?

The first thing you want to do is make sure you have savings. You want to create three buckets: One bucket is your savings, one bucket is your retirement, and one bucket is your fun money – and you should try to fill up those buckets throughout your life. When I say savings, I mean savings; when you get paid, the first thing you have to do is pay yourself right away before you do anything with your money. Some days it may be $100, others it may be $1000, it doesn’t have to be the same every time but make sure every pay period, you’re saving a little. If you can start creating three buckets when you’re young and fill those three buckets throughout your career, you will serve yourself very well.

“I love my schedule — it gets me up first thing in the morning. It gets me on the air where I’m focused on setting the tone for the news day.”

Do you have any general life advice for our readers?

Work hard because there are no shortcuts. It doesn’t matter who you know or who your parents know, you will always be judged by your own performance. Number two is, love what you do. I’ve been grateful because I love what I do and that’s the only reason I work as hard as I do. The third piece of advice is, do the right thing. We all know when faced with a dilemma what the right thing is—it doesn’t matter what you do in life, or where you go, there’s one thing that will always follow you and that is your reputation, so you have to protect it and you have to cherish it.

What about the greatest advice you’ve received?

My mother gave me the best advice and that was excellence comes through preparation. It’s just a reminder that you can’t wing it in life. There are certain things that will come your way that you won’t be prepared for but when you have an opportunity where you can prepare, you really need to prepare.

Jillian Dara

Jillian grew up an island girl but converted to city style after living in Boston, London, Santiago, and now, NYC. She is a writer, editor and content creator with a desire to share stories in the lifestyle genre. With a particular focus on travel and profiles, she prides herself on sharing the most authentic story for those who aren’t able to share their own.

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