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Dawn Patrol

Nicole Lapin, an anchor at CNBC, sees cigars as a natural tool to create camaraderie
Mervyn Rothstein
From the Print Edition:
Paul Giamatti, January/February 2011

(continued from page 1)

When she can, she tries to catch a few extra hours of sleep in the afternoon. “And sometimes I don’t go to sleep at night at all and just sleep during the day. The last couple of days have been more normal than most.”

Often, she says, she reports stories—like a recent one from New York’s Comic-Con on comic books as investments—and that takes time. “And sometimes I’ll travel for special series and reports, and I might fly to other cities. Once I flew to Nashville for a day and flew back to do the show. Once we were in Maine and missed the flight home and drove back to the studio in time to do the show. That’s the beauty of the schedule—you can pretty much defy the space-time continuum.” (On weekends, she keeps a more normal schedule.)

Her desire for a career in journalism, she says, originated during her childhood in Los Angeles, and in one way was an act of defiance. Her parents emphasized study and forbade her to watch TV news because of its unremitting violence. (Her father Ron Lapin, a surgeon who invented a method of bloodless surgery, using a special piece of medical equipment that closed wounds as it cut to reduce the need for blood transfusions, died when Lapin was 11.)

“I was always an independent young lady,” she says. “A little bit rebellious. My family was very proreading and antitelevision news watching. So I would sneak it on.” She went to a small private school for “gifted” children that gave no grades and had no grade divisions. “If you were 9 and wanted to study algebra, you could study algebra. We were all a bunch of nerds, but in a good way. There were no judgments for being bookworms. I was always intellectually curious. And it turned out I was able both to read and to watch television news. Fancy that.”

By the time she was in high school, she was already doing local news cable-access broadcasts, courtesy of a school program. “I just had this passion,” she says. And then she decided she wanted to study dance. “So in my junior year I transferred to a performing arts high school. I was going to transition into a very expensive private school, but the performing arts school was free. It was two buses away, quite far away, through downtown L.A. I wanted it bad, so I did whatever it took to get that experience.” She was the class valedictorian.

In fact it could be said that wanting things bad, doing whatever it takes to get them—and here’s where the chutzpah comes in—kind of defines Lapin.

After high school, she decided she was less interested in performance and “more in communications—it’s communicating with an audience that I especially love.” And the communicating she wanted to do was through journalism, the TV journalism she had been forbidden to watch but managed to look at surreptitiously. And so she decided to fashion for herself what she terms “an adhoc education,” and to gain as much work experience as she could.

She had, at age 15, taken part in a writing program at Harvard and signed up for graduate literature courses. She took classes at Columbia University in New York and studied European Union politics at The Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris.

She used all those credits for her degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she graduated summa cum laude as valedictorian, with a second major in political science.

“Northwestern was very accommodating to my working professionally,” she says. “In those years I was working, part of it full time, in smaller markets—you have to pay your dues—at local news affiliates as a general assignment reporter.” She was a reporter in Lexington, Kentucky, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Palm Springs, California.


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Comments   1 comment(s)

William Fricker — Andalusia, Pa.,19020, USA,  —  March 23, 2011 2:19pm ET

Mervyn,
Great Article.I enjoyed reading it and learning about Nicole Lapin.She is a very driven Lady
and will truly be a winner at what taskes she
decides to take on.


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