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How She Got There: Rebecca Jarvis, ABC News Chief Business, Technology & Economics Correspondent


Name: Rebecca Jarvis
Job Title and Description: ABC News Chief Business, Technology & Economics Correspondent; Host, Creator, Managing Editor of “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast; Host, Creator, Managing Editor of ABC’s “Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis”
College Name/Major: University of Chicago, Economics & Constitutional Law
Facebook: Facebook.com/RebeccaJarvis (I regularly go LIVE here with show guests)
Twitter Handle: @rebeccajarvis
Instagram Handle:@rebeccajarvis 

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Rebecca Jarvis: I’m the person at ABC News who covers business, technology, and economics for Good Morning AmericaWorld News Tonight with David MuirNightline20/20 and This Week. Plus, I do a weekly podcast, No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis podcast, and weekly digital show, Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis. I know it sounds cliché, but there really is no such thing as a typical day! I usually start around 5a. The first thing I do is scroll through emails—in my bed, on my iPhone, one eye open— then I look at Twitter to see what people are talking about. If I’m on GMA, I’m out the door by 5:45a and use the commute to read up on more news. I also use the time to email producers and sources about what’s on my radar and what I’m covering that morning. The minute I get to GMA, I head to hair and makeup. By the time they’re finished working their magic, I have a few minutes to get mic’d and run down to set to see Robin, George, Lara, Michael, Amy and Ginger. Once I’ve wrapped there, I’ll call in to ABC News Radio to talk about my story. Then I’m back out the door; off to the gym or a breakfast meeting. I like to use my mornings post-GMA to get out and meet interesting entrepreneurs and women doing outstanding things. These meetings are especially important to finding great guests for my podcast, No Limits.

By 11a, I’m back in the office, frequently for a No Limits or Real Biz interview (or a few of them). I love going live with our interview guests on Facebook LIVE to give followers an opportunity to ask questions directly. By mid-day, I’m also preparing for World News Tonight and Nightline. If I have a story (or stories) on that night, this involves researching and writing a script, calling experts, and going out on shoots. Throughout the day, I also like to set a few calls to talk to people about possible future stories and I meet with producers around ABC News to pitch them. If there’s breaking news on my beat, it can mean dropping everything – whatever was planned goes out the window, and all my focus and attention turns to reporting out whatever’s happening, calling sources, writing updates so everyone at ABC News is on the same page. If I’m on World News Tonight, I’ll finish writing my script, get it approved, tracked and then head out to set by 6:30pm to see David Muir or out to a liveshot location. If I have a Nightline story that night, I’ll check in with them once I’ve wrapped up World News Tonight. I try and head home by 7:30/8pm and will keep up on email if there are still loose ends. If I have a story for GMA the next morning, I’ll check in with the producers there, write and send over my script. Sprinkle in some panels, additional meetings, maybe an event or two, and travel to/from shoots (just got back from a trip to LA and San Francisco for a story on Nootropics for Nightline) and that’s the job.

What is the best part of your job?

RJ: The ability to ask anyone any question. They don’t have to answer. But I love that it’s my responsibility to ask.  

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

RJ: Technically, it was in high school. I wrote for the school newspaper, so when the NBC-affiliate in Minnesota said they were a launching a news program – “The Whatever Show” -- by and for teens, I jumped at the opportunity. I would interview local Minnesotans (like Jess Ventura when he was running for governor), celebrities when they came to town (like Blink 182 when they were playing at First Ave.), and once in a while, I’d review movies. I still remember reviewing Spice World! I think I gave it one thumb up (I was obviously conflicted).

But I got my first “real” job in journalism by pitching business editors in Chicago. I was working in investment banking at the time, a job I took in part to pay off my student loans, and that helped me learn the ins-and-outs of the business. Two years in, I was in the middle of writing a sell-side memo for a company we were helping to sell, and all I could think about was how much I wished I was writing a story about the deal for a newspaper. I put together three or four story ideas, trends I was seeing in finance (like all the debt companies were taking on), and called up all the business editors in Chicago and asked them to meet for coffee. I’d pitch my ideas over coffee and ask if I could write for them. Crain’s Chicago Business said “OK” and I started filing for them a few months later.

What words of wisdom (well-known quotes, an anecdote from your boss) do you find most valuable?

RJ: I love the quote: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? I remember seeing it on the wall at Facebook a number of years ago. I try and always keep it in the back of my mind, as a reminder to keep pushing. Winston Churchill’s “Never Never Never Give Up” has also always spoken to me. I’ll repeat it in my head like a mantra sometimes when I need that extra push – when I’ve been working around the clock, or it doesn’t feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel, or things just aren’t falling into place, or I’m running and I don’t think I can go any farther. Never, Never, Never Give Up!

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

RJ: Early on, I wanted to be taken seriously by superiors and other colleagues, and I was afraid they’d assume, because I was younger, that I shouldn’t be there. So I would put my head down and work very very hard in hopes people would notice. I was afraid to ask for meetings with senior colleagues because I assumed I was so low on their list of priorities. In retrospect, I think there’s a better balance. Of course, you have to work hard and deliver. But in addition, I think it would’ve also helped to get in front of my bosses more and to develop closer relationships; rather than assuming they’d just notice my hard work.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

RJ: Election Night 2016, sitting on set across from George Stephanopoulos and the entire ABC News team talking about the markets, which were tanking overnight, until Carl Icahn came in and bought billions worth of S&P futures. First, to be a part of history, it was all very surreal. But on a more personal note, I remembered following George’s coverage from my dorm room during the 2000 Election. At the time, I was watching in complete awe, and thinking to myself: I want to do that someday. Being there 16 years later, actually doing what I had dreamed of doing, was unbelievable.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

RJ: Resourcefulness – how they will handle a tough situation, when the answer isn’t immediately available and resources are slim. Dedication – how dedicated they will be and how willing they are to roll their sleeves up to get the job done, even when it’s not glamorous. And Creativity.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

RJ: Work hard. Learn to write. Experiment with different forms of storytelling. Try to think of how you can do something differently – look at current forms of media and think of how you could change or expand the format. Learn something you love and become an expert in it, for me this was business. Someday in a newsroom when that thing you know better than anyone else comes up, you can throw your hand up and be the office expert. Also, become an expert in social media. It is a great platform for sharing your storytelling right away— use it.

What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

RJ: It’s hard to stand out in a resume, which is why it’s really important to write a cover letter than includes more about yourself. I look for personality, creativity and how serious this person is about wanting the job they’re applying to. As for that resume, I especially look at the work and internship experience.

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