Producing the news: Alumni have the business scoop

By Kenna Caprio

The thrill of reporting the news still gets to Fairleigh Dickinson University alumni Matthew Quayle, MA’11; Karissa Giuliano, BA’13, MA’15; and Caitlyn Freda, BA’16; every time. The trio works at CNBC in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Alumnus Matthew Quayle

FDU alumnus and adjunct faculty member Matthew Quayle, MA'11, works for CNBC. He runs the show as senior executive producer on TV's "Squawk Box." (Photo courtesy of Quayle)

“I always liked the idea of working in news,” says Freda, who thought at first she might want to be an anchor and work in front of the camera. “I like the fast-paced environment. It’s always exciting, and can be hectic. There’s always something going on. It’s really cool to get to sit in the control room and be a part of running a successful show.” She works as a news associate on “Squawk Box.”

Quayle, a 25-year veteran of the news business, hired Freda and Giuliano, both of whom studied communication, after having them in class on the Metropolitan Campus.

“The great part is having access to the students. I interview dozens and dozens of people per year for entry-level positions,” says Quayle, an adjunct professor who is always scouting for new talent as the senior executive producer for “Squawk Box,” which he calls “The Today Show” for business. “It’s the morning news and talk show where the most influential business leaders and financial professionals go for what they need for their business and trading day.”

In his classes, he “tries to merge the academic world with the real world,” conducting one-on-one practice interviews and working in cover letter and résumé prep. Of course, his number one focus is on developing student writing skills and their command of the English language.

“It’s a lost art,” he says. “As a society, I don’t think we’re teaching writing anymore the way we used to. That skill is more valuable than ever now, because few people actually master it.”

Freda and Giuliano impressed Quayle out of the gate, though, and both went on to intern at CNBC before finding fulltime positions with the company.

Alumnae Caitlyn Freda and Karissa Giuliano

That's recent graduates Caitlyn Freda, BA'16, and Karissa Giuliano, BA’13, MA’15, both of whom interned at and now work for CNBC. Freda (left) is a news associate on "Squawk Box," and Giuliano (right) is an associate producer on "Worldwide Exchange." (Photo courtesy of Freda)

Giuliano, an associate producer on “Worldwide Exchange,” finds and researches story leads, writes copy, builds graphics, picks music for the show’s open and commercial breaks, and pulls up stock charts for the show. “Writing for someone else is definitely a challenge,” she says, “and I like that. Everyone has a different voice, and when you’re writing for someone else, you start to write for them the way they speak.”

She describes “Worldwide Exchange” as a “very quick, news-filled show. It’s everything you need to know when you’re waking up at 5 a.m. It is on air long before the markets are open [in the U.S.], so there’s a focus on global markets and current news.”

Thriving in that fast-paced environment is a product of her can-do attitude, and she credits her mentors with guiding her along the path to success.

“[Adjunct faculty member] Jane ‘Tinker’ Forderaro got me involved in The Equinox student newspaper, and I was editor-in-chief my junior and senior year. Tinker got me ready. The things she used to tell me on production night are still true everyday when I’m making deadline for my show,” says Giuliano. “When I did my master’s [degree], Matthew Quayle completely changed the game and brought me into TV. ”

At first she studied education at FDU, but it was while taking feature writing and news reporting classes for fun that she realized her calling.

“I think always saying ‘yes’ was a huge part of me taking the step to end up at CNBC. If there’s an extra story to be written, always go the extra mile and do it, and it’ll be noticed,” adds Giuliano.

Freda took a slightly more circuitous route to CNBC after realizing she did not, in fact, want to be a television anchor. She liked being an orientation leader, so she decided to go to graduate school for student affairs, after having interned on the breaking news desk at CNBC as a senior. At Rutgers University she completed one semester of graduate school, but right before the second semester started, she had a flash and realized that she would have her degree within two years, and had no intent to work in the field.

“I heard about the position I have now and applied for it. Then, a week before I was supposed to go back [to graduate school], I interviewed. Later on that night, I was offered the position and I took it.” That was one month ago and she’s thrilled with her decision.

“I wouldn’t have had the chance to do everything I’ve done at CNBC without the experiences I had and people I met at FDU. I’ve had these opportunities because of FDU,” she continues.

Quayle suggests anyone trying to break into the news business “become a news junkie. This is a business station. Embrace every aspect of the business world. Gather information on a daily basis. Wake up and flip through all the news sites and newspapers. I can’t push that enough. The ones who make it oversaturate themselves.”