Business as usual
Lisovicz finds reporting, anchoring financial news 'a dream'
By Allison Romano -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/19/2001 8:00:00 PM
Susan Lisovicz made her first solo anchor appearance on CNN fn on Oct. 27, 1997. That was the day the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 554 points, its worst loss in a decade. "I was on the air when they stopped trading. It was baptism by fire," says Lisovicz, now a correspondent and anchor for CNN's Business Group.
Lisovicz reports for CNN fn, CNN's flagship business show Lou Dobbs Moneyline and CNN's Headline News. She anchors two daily shows, The Biz and Business Unusual, which focus on two of her specialties: media and entrepreneurs.
"Financial news is very challenging and not tabloid. I've only done one Joey Buttafuoco story," says Lisovicz, who recently signed a new three-year contract. "I feel good about this kind of reporting. "She says her correspondent and anchoring duties are "a dream" but admits that they can be exhausting. On one hot August afternoon, Lisovicz hosted The Biz, rushed off to tape a business-news update for Headline News, and was then off to an interview with AOL Time Warner President and COO Bob Pittman for CNN's Moneyline.
Lisovicz got her broadcast start with CNN in 1983 but left the organization six years later to pursue a career in business journalism at CNBC.
She returned to CNN in 1997, after persuasive lobbying by her old friend, Moneyline anchor Lou Dobbs.
"Like quite a few of us, she was one of those people who was at CNN early," says Dobbs, explaining what led Lisovicz back to CNN. "She had an emotional investment in the network, believed strongly in its goals and values. That was probably the determinant."
Lisovicz's journalism background is rooted in reporting, first for radio and later as a writer for the Associated Press and CNN. In the early days of CNN, she says, reporters could walk right up to Ted Turner and speak their mind.
"I thought I was being very brash when I told him I wanted to be a reporter," she said. "There was no middle management, so you just went right up to Ted."
She was determined to try on-air reporting and spent six months working on her first package on her own time. It caught the attention of Headline News execs, who brought her over as an anchor for the startup CNN offspring.
"CNN was new enough to give people a chance," Lisovicz says of her first anchoring gig.
But anchoring didn't satisfy her desire to tell stories and meet people. Lisovicz returned to CNN and traveled across the country as a general-assignment reporter.
Being a correspondent was not the right fit either. Life on the road and reporting a range of topics was draining, she says, and prompted her to leave CNN and return to New York City. Lisovicz, the daughter of a retired electrical engineer and a retired nurse, had been reared in New Jersey and wanted to be closer to her family.
She found her niche in New York. Business news was getting hot, and CNBC was just getting on its feet. Lisovicz says she was fortunate to be there at the right time.
"I was reporting smart, demanding stories that not everyone could do," she says, adding that she loves the challenge of learning business and finance.
Dobbs describes her as an outstanding writer and reporter. "She's one of those people who is a quick study and brings terrific talent to the air."
She believes her reporting experience has prepared her to be a better anchor. "You are gathering the information, and you are the network's voice," says Lisovicz, who recently took a sabbatical to Asia on a journalism fellowship. "On the one hand, it can be debilitating, but it can also be exhilarating."
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