The Self-Proclaimed Recessionista-in-Chief
Lapin leaves CNBC to start own company
icole Lapin is busy. At the time of our phone interview on a Friday afternoon, Lapin was traveling in a car en route to her next destination. And on Twitter, Lapin posted from New York—past midnight Eastern Standard Time on a Sunday— that she was “still going strong at the office,” made apparent by an accompanying photo on Instagram of a table filled with notepads, coffee cups, half-eaten food and sets of fingers typing away on three brightly-lit MacBook Pro laptops. Lapin has reason to be busy. In September, the do-everything journalist left her job as anchor of the CNBC business news program, Worldwide Exchange, to start her own multimedia production company, Nothing But Gold Productions, which will allow Lapin to bring her personal brand to a multitude of news outlets, both in broadcast and out of it. “As part of my production company, I am going develop and host television shows, and create digital and print content for major media outlets,” she posted on her Tumblr. For Lapin, a Medill graduate who was valedictorian of the Class of 2005, the career move is a chance to become the “Recessionista-in-Chief” she describes herself as, a business and financial journalist who can close the gap in knowledge between Wall Street and Main Street. “Building a multimedia production company consumes my mornings, afternoons and nights,” Lapin said. “I was a nerd in college and I am a nerd now, I love my work.” Despite the time and effort it takes to build a production company, a hectic schedule is nothing Lapin is not already used to. At Medill, Lapin worked full-time at news outlets in Chicago, including covering the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for First Business network, while still obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism summa cum laude and honors for her second major in Political Science. “Working full-time while 8
PHOTO FROM NICOLE LAPIN
With her Medill degree, Lapin was able to create a company where she determines business stories to “decode.” taking classes enabled me to fast- CNBC, which I reached at 25. At track my career,” Lapin said. “It 27, I realized that I wanted to was an adjunct, invaluable expe- start a company that would allow rience.” me to disseminate my voice in the But “fast-tracking” her ca- most powerful way possible.” reer would be an understateAll of which brings back ment. Growing up, Lapin said Lapin’s self-described title as her goal was to become an an- “Recessionista-in-Chief.” As an chor for CNN. She accomplished anchor on Worldwide Exchange, that at age 21, becoming one of Lapin was able to shape the way the first anchors to launch CNN the recent economic recession Pipeline, a video news service by was covered. In September 2011, CNN that provides both live and Lapin told AdWeek that becomon-demand video via the Inter- ing founder and CEO of Nothing net. She then served as a reporter But Gold Productions would give for CNN in a variety of news ca- her the opportunity “to decode pacities, from anchoring major really intimidating money topics events such as the 2008 Presi- for different networks,” some of dential election and the Virginia which would be “finance news in Tech massacre to launching the a party dress” while her coverage “Young People Who Rock” series, for other outlets would consist where each week she profiled of “very straight financial news.” a different person both with a With ramifications from the reunique story and under the age cession still reverberating, bringof 30. When she moved network ing business news in a non-intimstations, Lapin honed in on busi- idating manner to the masses is ness and financial journalism. Lapin’s ongoing goal. As an anchor on Worldwide Ex“The economy is the story of change, Lapin would break ma- our time, the story of our generajor financial news stories around tion,” Lapin said. “The last biggest the world, interviewing major story was terrorism but today the CEOs or geopolitical figures and economy is the biggest conversaanalyzing movement in the stock tion we are having.” market among other business “People need to realize that news. financial information does not “My goal in life was to be need to be as intimidating as it an anchor at CNN, but I got that should be,” Lapin said. “The econat 21,” Lapin said. “What’s next? omy will change our personal
lives and every story can be related back to money from celebrity bankruptcies to economic policies coming out of Washington.” But Lapin’s “decoding” will go beyond her role as an television anchor. Lapin is also working on publishing a book entitled Decoding The Wall Street Journal, which will break down moneyrelated topics in an easy-to-read manner, launching a suite of online personal finance and investment tools, and spending time on her charity “Lost Girls,” which gives career advice and pre-worn workplace attire to unemployed young women. Despite Lapin’s young age, her range of professional experiences allowed her to reflect upon the rampant changes in the media industry and broadcast journalism, specifically. When Lapin was still a student at Medill, a video news service such as CNN Pipeline had not yet come into existence. “There is no longer a space for the anchorman who is the voice of God,” Lapin said. “Viewers are smarter than that and want more authentic news as well as anchors who will talk with them and figure out the news together.” Lapin also offered some career advice for journalism students looking to make a mark in the industry. “Journalism is not about cutting your hair the right way, it is about being passionate about the news so if you are going into broadcast journalism because you want to be on television, you are in the wrong business,” Lapin said. “Know your voice and choose your own destiny.” On her blog, Lapin wrote that she left her role as an anchor on CNBC because she “had to act on the sense of urgency…to demystify the intricacies of Wall Street and personal finance for everywoman.” She wrote further, noting that helping people “navigate a time when the economy is in such turmoil will be the driving force for all of (her) endeavors.” While Lapin advised Northwestern students to choose their own destiny, it appears that she already understands her own.