Major: Masters of Science in Journalism, May 1999
Hometown: Gastonia, North Carolina
Hobbies: reading, writing, traveling, boxing
Senior Editor, Markets & Finance
What are your job responsibilities/duties?
I lead CNBC Digital's coverage of Wall Street and all the markets: commodities, stocks, bonds, energy, &., and I set the pace on our coverage of global issues including trade, policy and geopolitical conflict. Increasingly I edit stories on domestic politics as well.
What does a typical day look like?
Rise at 6 a.m. Get to my desk at 7:30. Communicate perpetually with reporters and editors in person at my desk, in meetings, through various digital sharing tools, on email, and on the phone. Wrestle stories through their creation process, from concept to editing to publication to packaging to social media.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
I get to think about big things, test big premises, and make big statements, and I get to teach other people how to do the same. I'm also working on my first primetime documentary, and it's fun to work on the TV side after so many years on the digital side.
What is the most difficult aspect of the job?
Maintaining focus, and sometimes my cool, in an environment with many, many distractions.
What on-campus activities were you involved with? Where did you gain relevant experience?
I was journalism school more than full-time when I was at U of I. When I wasn't doing my own work, I was working as a TA. I got my first internship through the placement office there, and that internship proved critical to my future.
How did your experience at ILLINOIS and in the College of Media prepare you for your professional life? For this specific position?
I learned a lot about writing for story, and that helped teach me how to edit other people in a way that makes their copy compelling. It also helped me with my first nonfiction book, which was just published, called The Ragged Edge: A US Marine's Account of Leading the Iraqi Army Fifth Battalion.
What advice do you have for students interested in this field?
You will fall down: Get back up. Your trajectory will not always point upward: Adjust what you're doing. Never, ever allow yourself to be manipulated by PR people. Get OK with the idea that they, and others, will lie to you. A lot. Be careful that you're not writing something as fact when it's actually something you personally wish to believe.
What is one thing that you know now that you wish you had known when you started in the field? When you graduated from the College?
I wish I had not allowed myself to get frustrated, but I'm not sure there's any way to learn that except by living through the frustrations.