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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 2)

“I went wherever someone would take me. I sent out hundreds of little tapes from the local cable-access news. I begged people to hire me. I worked really hard and studied really hard. I bombarded everybody, took any opportunity—would I like to work weekends, nights, replace someone on maternity leave? ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ I said. I was so hungry. And I still am.”

While at Columbia, she decided she wanted to intern at WNBC-TV with the reporter Asa Aarons. “He’s a great mentor of mine. I showed up at his office. I had gone to the Human Resources office, but they said I had to be a senior, and they played by the book. So I just showed up at his desk and introduced myself as a summer intern. He thought I had chutzpah and he hired me. He said if I could figure out how to get through security I could figure out what he needed for me to do as an intern. I spent a lot of hours there while I was studying at Columbia.”

ll that experience paid off—in 2006 she wound up, at age 22, at CNN as its youngest anchor.

It was at CNN that she reported live on the massacre at Virginia Tech, the Israeli-Arab conflict, the terror attacks in Mumbai, India, the Hudson River plane crash and the 2008 presidential election. She also interviewed politicians and celebrities, among them Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. She reported live from Los Angeles for the Michael Jackson memorial service. She pioneered a series called “Young People Who Rock,” profiling high achievers under age 30. And she wrote a column for CNN.com.

“I worked very long hours at CNN too, 18 hours a day sometimes. All their networks were in one place in Atlanta—CNN International, CNN Headline News, CNN.com. Being so hungry and excited and wide-eyed, I wanted to work for everybody.”

The Virginia Tech story, she says, was the most memorable—and awful. “It was a seminal moment in news coverage,” she says. “If you go to the Newseum you see it was a turning point, because the primary visual depiction of the shooting came from a citizen journalist, a student who had shot footage on his cell phone. That changed the game. From that point news was no longer about lighting kits and setups. It was about information. It was about content being king, and being platform agnostic.”

Covering the shootings was “horrific,” but it also filled her with pride. “It was of course a life-and-death situation, and students would email us saying they were watching from their dorm rooms and they didn’t know what was happening. They would ask, ‘Is there another shooting?’ ” Being a source of information for the students “was a great responsibility. It made me proud to be a member of the Fourth Estate.”

Working at CNN was particularly exciting, she says, “because we covered everything. You had to become an expert at everything. When I was in local news, you became an expert on worm farming, or hurricanes, or triple homicides. That’s what I love about this job, and CNN really hit it home.”

And that is what she loves about CNBC, where she has been since January 2010 (her coanchors on “Worldwide Exchange” are Ross Westgate and Christine Tan). “It’s business—and everything is connected to business. Every story has a monetary focus. Toward the end of my time at CNN, we were covering the financial crisis. Everybody became a financial reporter. I had been one in Chicago, and I became one again. I realized very quickly that this is the story of this decade, of this generation, and I felt an intense urgency to be part of it.”

She is also proud of CNBC, she says, “because it’s a higher level of concentration. Nothing is dumbed down. It’s more technical. I really like that. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I like being nerdy.”


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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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