Alumni News U
Catching up with Sara Eisen ’02
My four years of acting classes, along with performances in school plays under Patty Flanigan, and especially our work on improv, pronunciation, and speech, provided early training in the skills of ad-libbing, which I do on a daily basis.
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Tell us briefly about your work. Sara: I co-anchor the morning show on Bloomberg TV, called “Bloomberg Surveillance,” and I cover international economic and business stories for the network. After Seven Hills, I attended NYU and then received my master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.
What was the interest/passion that brought you to this work? Sara: One defining experience was actually my Seven Hills Personal Challenge project; I produced and hosted a talk show in a local TV studio, in which I interviewed some of my friends about how to address teen violence. This took place soon after the Columbine tragedy, so the issue was hot and engendered a lively and controversial conversation and program. The final result was an edited, professional feeling, half-hour talk show that I had conducted and produced myself, and the entire experience helped me realize that I wanted to pursue journalism, and specifically, television storytelling.
How did you discover this passion? Sara: During my college internship at forextv. com, a startup site dedicated exclusively to covering the foreign exchange market, was where I first started delving into the world of economics and financial markets. My responsibilities included on-air updates and interviews with strategists and traders about currencies. Nothing is more exciting than the $5 trillion-
dollar-per-day, 24-hour currency market! That experience inspired me to pursue the business program concentration offered by Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, in conjunction with my broadcast degree, which led to an internship with Bloomberg.
What were your goals at the start of this work? Sara: When I started at Bloomberg Television, I was an intern in the afternoons, doing everything from printing scripts to writing show teases and headlines. I was determined to learn how live TV works and how to operate in a fastpaced, hectic control room. My goal, though, was to eventually be on the other side of that room—on camera. Now that I’m hosting a show, I realize the value of my earlier control room experience, because I understand how the whole team works together and how I can work with the producers to make the show look and sound sharper.
What were significant people and events that made a difference along your path? Sara: Al Mayers, the head of Bloomberg Radio, was and continues to be an important mentor for me. He put me on the radio doing “forex updates” for two minutes every morning at 6:50 a.m. while I was still working as a production assistant in TV. He helped me improve my presentation so that, eventually, I ended up co-hosting “On the Economy,” a daily two-hour
radio program dedicated to conversation about economic topics.
type of policy the Fed may implement, these are exhilarating moments.
Another major event along the way was the launch of our show, “Bloomberg Surveillance,” on television and simulcast on radio, during the summer of 2012. The show continues to evolve and has become a fun, smart and dynamic morning program under the leadership of Ted Fine, my executive producer, who works around the clock to make the show, its producers, and anchors better, and the show more entertaining.
One of the most gratifying and enjoyable aspects of my job is the opportunity I receive to moderate panels for outside organizations. Hosting panels is similar to hosting a TV show, but without the strict time constraints. Panels also allow more time for thoughtful discussion when diving into a single topic or issue with an expert in the field.
What are your goals now? Sara: My goal is to interview the most important people in my world, including prime ministers, presidents, and central bankers. The ultimate would be the opportunity to speak with two of the most important people effecting change in the world today, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi.
What gives you the most satisfaction? Sara: No question, I feel most accomplished and proud when I break news and make headlines through my interviews and while talking to my sources—when I can move the needle or the markets on a story. Whether breaking news headlines, such as an emergency crisis-fighting measure during the height of the European debt crisis, or moving the bond market after an interview with a Federal Reserve Bank president about hints of what
Is there anything you would like to share with your Seven Hills teachers or about your Seven Hills experience? Sara: Seven Hills helped prepare me for what I do, and I notice this on a regular basis. The emphasis on creative writing, which began in force starting freshman year, helped me throughout journalism school, as did my four years of writing for the newspaper, and journalism classes with Mrs. Smythe. My four years of acting classes, along with performances in the school plays under Patty Flanigan, and especially our work on improv, pronunciation, and speech, provided early training in the skills of ad-libbing, which I do on a daily basis. My work with Mrs. VanderLaan and the service club, especially in my senior year, fostered critical leadership skills and also helped to hone my public speaking capability, as I regularly made announcements about service club projects in morning assembly.