She’s smart, savvy, fierce and hard working. In a cut throat industry that moves at record pace, Fox Business Network Anchor Liz Claman doesn’t miss a beat. The busy wife and mother of two sat down with me to talk about her career and advice for other journalists .
What led you to a career in TV news?
I wanted to be news reporter since 6th grade when my dad brought home our first video camera. But a journalism course I took as a student at UC Berkeley crystallized for me the real reason to go into journalism. My professor had worked at ABC and CBS News in the ’70’s and he showed us old Edward R. Murrow episodes of “See it Now.” Murrow pulled back the curtain on everything from illegal bookie joints to the plight of migrant workers to the horrors of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Red Scare and forced real change. I wanted to be a part of a profession that tries to right ‘wrongs.’
What made you transition to business news?
The reason behind my transition to business news was simple: DESPERATION.
After 9 years of local news I wanted to make the leap to the network.
I applied everywhere, no one was hiring, so I tried cable. I auditioned everywhere from E! Entertainment, syndicated talk show pilots and CNBC finally called. I knew nothing about the stock market but I channeled President Teddy Roosevelt who once said, “When someone asks you to do something you don’t know how to do, say ‘Sure I can!’ and then start learning how to do it!”
What keeps you motivated in a competitive industry?
Competition may be the spark plug that keeps your career engine zooming forward but never forget the high octane fuel or reason you’re doing what you do and how you do it. Above all, never compromise your ethics just to beat the competition.
What interview had the biggest impact on you?
In 2006 I landed the first, long-form television interview with Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett. I had been at CNBC since 1998 and all the correspondents would talk about the elusive billionaire who lived in Nebraska . Back then, only die hard value investors and Berkshire Hathaway shareholders really knew about Buffett but one day, I just got tired of hearing them all say he never gave interviews. So I called him and talked my way into it. The crew and I flew to Omaha and spent the whole day with him. We then put hours of tape into a special we called “The Billionaire Next Door.” It was the first-ever inside look at the world’s richest man. The interview catapulted me to a new level and from there I landed Microsoft’s Bill Gates, U.S. Treasury Secretary’s Paul O’Neill, John Snow, dozens of Fortune 500 CEO’s and more.
Who would you like as a guest on your show?
I’m very interested in landing world leaders whose countries have or will have major impact on the global economy. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi fascinates me. He’s brought rampant inflation down, sparked growth, and choked off a lot of corruption. The U.S. is India’s 2nd largest trading partner behind China. French President Emanuel Macron would be a dream interview for me. He’s focused on turning France into a global technical hub– the start-up gateway to Europe.
What advice do you have for others who want a broadcasting career?
Make sure you’re truly passionate about covering the news and informing people. If you do, then set your sites on the prize and do not let anyone or anything drag you away from that dream. Come in early, stay late and be that person who raises their hand not just for the great assignments but also for the dinky ones as well.
What is something about you that no one knows?
I speak “kitten” to my rescue kitten Cheddar. She and I are inseparable. The minute I come home, she meows for me and I answer in this bizarre gritted-teeth language. I can’t fall asleep anymore unless she’s on the bed next to me.
Countdown to the Closing Bell with Liz Claman on FOX Business Network airs weekdays, 3PMET.