CNBC star Maria Bartiromo recently sat down to have lunch with David Wighton of the Financial Times at a posh New York restaurant where she was greeted by investor Ken Langone — currently being sued by attorney general Eliot Spitzer about former NYSE head Dick Grasso’s compensation — and then escorted to a corner table.
The reason for the interview is Bartiromo’s recent scoop from her brief talk with Fed chief Ben Bernanke at the White House Correspondents Association dinner. Wighton is the FT’s New York bureau chief.
Wighton writes, “After ordering – sole for her, veal ravioli for me – we talk about how she made her name as the first reporter to broadcast live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for her daily slots on CNBC. For 10 years, she shouted out the market news, the winners and losers, the analystsâ€™ buys and sells (mainly buys of course) from the colourful bedlam of the worldâ€™s largest stock exchange, frequently jostled (sometimes deliberately) by traders on the floor.
“‘When I first got there it was tough. Nobody had done it before. And there were a lot of people who didnâ€™t want me there. They said to themselves: â€˜Who is this person? She has a camera, she is a woman, sheâ€™s in my way.’
“But Bartiromo stood her ground, sometimes jostling the traders back. The viewers, and many of the traders, loved it. ‘I think people rooted for me.’
“Itâ€™s a particularly exposed form of television, and she believes this is partly why many viewers feel a personal connection with her. “The cameraâ€™s very transparent. Whether you liked me or not, you knew what you were getting and it was me.'”
Bartiromo later says she loves business journalism and that she think anyone could have done a good job of covering the market hoopla in the late 1990s. “Journalists everywhere could have done a better job being sceptical,” she said. “At the same time, I donâ€™t know whether anyone would have listened. I donâ€™t know.”
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