Bartiromo, Gasparino and Cavuto - Italian Americans Emerge in World of Business Journalism

Just one generation ago, few Italian American names were identifiable in the field of business journalism. That changed dramatically by the 1990s and has definitely blossomed in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Maria Bartiromo, arguably the best recognized women on cable business channels and is regarded as one of the most influential and trusted business journalists, having earned a reputation by asking tough questions to chief executive officers, institutional investors, and business leaders. Born in 1967 and growing up in an Italian American neighborhood in Brooklyn, she worked at her parents’ Italian restaurant while attending a private Catholic high school and later New York University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in economics. In 1999 she married Jonathan Steinberg.

Bartiromo worked for a time as a producer and assignment editor with CNN Business News, then joined CNBC to report from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. She became the popular host of the “Market Watch” morning program, while also appearing on “Squawk Box.” Bartiromo was nicknamed the “money honey” during the boom years of the stock market in the late 1990s due to her striking looks - her beauty even inspired Joey Ramone to write a song about her. She wrote a nationally syndicated column in the Wall Street Journal, writes for several business and general interest magazines, and is the author of a couple of books.

Esteemed for her integrity and fair-minded approach, Bartiromo has won a number of awards in her field and is regarded as one of the nation’s 100 most influential business journalists. Her popularity has led to appearances on numerous non-financial television shows.

Proud of her ancestry, Bartiromo explains, “I'm very proud of my heritage. I am third-generation Italian and I consider myself Italian as well as American. . . . The reason I work as hard as I do is I watched my father in the kitchen of the restaurant he owned sweating with a bandana on his head." She has served as host at the National Italian American Foundation gala and New York’s Columbus Day Parade. In 2008, while serving on the board of the Columbus Citizens Club Foundation, she provided television coverage of the Columbus Day Parade and hosted the Foundation’s annual dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Charles Gasparino is currently is one of the most persuasive journalists writing and commenting on business matters. A New York City resident whose ancestry emanates from the area of Naples, Gasparino graduated Pace University and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where he earned credentials for aggressively unearthing and reporting on some of the most momentous Wall Street scandals. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek Magazine, New York Magazine, Forbes, and has been on-air editor and member of CNBC’s financial news program. His success as a freelance writer won nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in 2002.

In 2005, Gasparino wrote “Blood on the Street: The Sensational Inside Story of How Wall Street Analysts Duped a Generation of Investors,” that chronicled the hubris, folly and carnage surrounding the near-collapse of investment firm Bear Stearns. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Gasparino also won praise for his second book, “King of the Club: Richard Grasso and the Survival of the New York Stock Exchange,” an account of Richard Grasso’s determination to succeed as he rose from a modest Italian-American home to head of the New York Stock Exchange.

2008 was an auspicious year for Neil Patrick Cavuto, who was named senior vice president and managing editor of business news for the Fox Business Network – a position that oversees business coverage. He previously appeared live for CNBC’s highest-rated program, "Market Wrap," served as a contributor to NBC's "Today Show" as well as "NBC News at Sunrise," and did financial reporting on “Nightly Business Report," for PBS.

Of Italian/Irish background, Cavuto was raised in Danbury, Connecticut, where he attended Immaculate High School. He worked as a White House intern during President Jimmy Carter's administration, graduated from St. Bonaventure University, and earned a master's degree from American University. Cavuto is the author of two books and has been honored for excellence in journalism.

Although Cavuto has acknowledged suffering serious health problems, including cancer and multiple sclerosis, he continues to work, saying, “Yet here I am, marching on, continuing to do my job when doctors who've examined my scans and MRIs tell me I shouldn't be walking or talking." He and his wife Mary have three children and reside in New Jersey.

Other Italian American business journalists on CNBC include Rick Santelli who reports live from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade and Bob Pisani, called by some the "Italian Stallion,” who reports live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange amidst the flurry of floor traders. Ron Insana is a former senior analyst at CNBC and served as managing director of Insana Capital Partners until 2008. Daria Dolan, along with husband Ken Dolan, has hosted a syndicated radio program on financial advice and comment for years, in addition to appearing on television and writing several books. She describes herself as “an Italian American, absolutely irate over the whole concept of … movies that glorify the mafia and crap.”

(Maria Bartiromo, Use the News: How to Separate the Noise from the Investment Nuggets and Make Money in Any Economy. Charles Gasparino, Blood on the Street, Neil Cavuto, More Than Money)

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