Monitoring election night coverage as an intern at WBBM-TV in Chicago hooked Bloomberg’s Alisa Parenti on the idea of working in broadcast media. From there, she continued her career in broadcast at different TV stations, including WJLA-TV in Washington, DC. “My job at WJLA eventually ended when budget cuts led to layoffs at the station. I started freelancing as a business anchor at Market Watch Radio Network so I’ve only really been in radio for the past six years,” Parenti says. “It was a big transition, going from general assignment work to focusing on business news, not to mention, going from television reporting to radio reporting, but I’ve found I truly love the medium.”
Parenti now works at Bloomberg, a network which focuses mainly on reporting financial and business stories. “Empowering people with good information is my goal, and the best arena for that to happen is in the area of consumer reports and personal finance,” she says.
One of the aspects of radio that Parenti loves most is the ability to reach a large number of people. “We still get that captive audience while people are in their cars. Even as news consumers turn to digital offerings, radio is keeping pace on apps such as Radio.com, TuneIn and Stitcher,” she says. “Especially with personal finance stories, radio is an important tool in helping to educate people.” Parenti’s passion for educating listeners is evident in her reporting. “I look for different economists and leaders from different sectors to interview, and try to personalize economic reports by finding people who are impacted, with a goal to give voice to those who are not being heard.”
As financial news can at times be complicated, part of Parenti’s process when working on stories is ensuring she is presenting information in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. For example, instead of saying, “the quarterly report finds Netflix saw higher-than-expected subscriber growth as a result of its investment in original programming,” Parenti would report that Netflix gained more customers as viewers logged on to watch ‘Orange is the New Black’, ‘House of Cards’ and other original shows. She says the best way for her to tell a financial story for broadcast is to imagine that she’s relaying the information to her best friend’s mom.
In Parenti’s opinion, business reporting has become more user-friendly. “The Wall Street Journal is a good example of a publication that has evolved to become relevant not just to those working in the C-suite, but Americans of all walks of life.”
Even though she finds reward in reporting on financial topics, the most interesting story Parenti has covered was a heart-felt, personal story of a family. “It was a case in Washington, DC of a pregnant woman in a coma, whose husband wanted the pregnancy to continue. We reported on the baby’s development, when she was born, and then after the mother’s life ended,” she says. “It was compelling, and reminded me what a privilege it is to tell people’s stories.”