Q&A with CNBC reporter Kayla Tausche
The UNC School of Journalism’s Women in Media Leadership speaker series attracts journalists, politicians and other influential women to deliver lectures.
Kayla Tausche, a business reporter for CNBC and a UNC alumna, will speak today in the Halls of Fame room in Carroll Hall.
Staff writer Lauren Gil spoke with the 2008 graduate about her journey into the journalism world that started in Chapel Hill.
The Daily Tar Heel: Did you always know you wanted to major in journalism?
Kayla Tausche: I was an international studies major from the very beginning. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I really dove headfirst into journalism. I had chosen to spend the spring semester abroad in Brussels, and the internship I got was at the Associated Press. All of a sudden, I found myself in the swirl of foreign correspondents covering European politics, and I fell in love — with the adrenaline, the access, the deadline, all of it.
DTH: How did UNC prepare you for your work now?
KT: There is absolutely nothing that the journalism school could have done better to prepare students for life in the real-world trade. The single best preparation, though, was the built-in deadline.
There are never any outs or shortcuts. The article must get written. The segment must go live. In Carroll Hall, they teach you that lesson, and how to be resourceful, in real time.
DTH: What were your journalism experiences prior to entering the workforce?
KT: I took every internship I could, at every juncture, and that really helped me figure out what exact niche of the journalism world.
I can honestly say I’ve worked in nearly every facet of news gathering and producing there is … I didn’t have to spend time eliminating opportunities because I had been able to figure out what I didn’t want to do.
DTH: What advice do you have for journalism students?
KT: No job is too small, and humility goes a long way. My first job out of college was at a tiny, investor-focused newswire hidden in a downtown loft under the Financial Times umbrella. Most of what I wrote was never read, to be honest. But then one day I came across a big story and broke it wide open — and then I was asked to go on television to talk about it.
DTH: What is the hardest part of your job?
KT: Managing one’s expectations. As someone with a print background, I have a natural itch to make every story a 10-page, Vanity Fair-esque expose, when in reality, it must be boiled into a 120-second video package.
Know what your best work looks like and how to get there. And then put the pen down.
DTH: What are your future career plans?
KT: Right now, I’ve got the best seat in the house. I consider myself extremely blessed to get to tell stories for a living. Writing a regular column, and a book, are two things on the long-term to-do list. But there will be time for all that.
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