Fox Business Network’s Charlie Gasparino is one guy who brings “the street” to his hard-nosed coverage of Wall Street.
The award-winning journalist earned his Master’s at one of the top journalism schools in the country at the University of Missouri…but his roots are in the concrete streets of the Bronx.
“My dad was a construction worker with an Old World mentality and a focus on achieving the American dream,” he says. “When I told him I was going to journalism school, he was disappointed. He wanted me to get a job at IBM…not covering their stock.”
The elder Gasparino worked hard to get his family out of the Bronx and into the suburbs of Westchester, so he didn’t want his son to get caught up in the glamor of the life of a reporter or forget about the value of hard work…a message that was was far from lost on his hard-working son.
“My dad knew I was a nose to the grindstone guy too…but just like in the movie, Wall Street, he wanted me to earn a living and be better off than he was…I just fell in love with reporting and I put the same work ethic into it.”
He certainly worked hard enough make an amazing reputation for himself in the industry. After shining in grueling educational environments like Mizzou, he did an internship at New York Newsday and learned the ropes from famed investigative reporter Bob Greene, parlayed that into gigs at the Tampa Tribune and Daily Morning News, got an inch to come home and took a gig covering the Street for a trade where he honed his expertise.
“It was a long, hard road, but I got hooked on the work…and who knew that just 18 years later I’d be all over the biggest financial crisis since the Depression?” he marvels.
In fact, Charlie Gasparino has been all over a lot of things in breaking big news in the financial industry. While he was a senior writer at Newsweek he broke a string of big Wall Street stories including improper developments at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under Richard Grasso. Later, The Wall Street Journal submitted his work for a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting in 2002 and he has also won the New York Press Club award for best continuing coverage of the Wall Street research scandal.
He took on another challenge when he transitioned to television and quickly established himself as a star in yet another medium. At CNBC he broke several stories during the financial crisis, including the first reports of AIG’s bailout, as well as multiple behind-the-scenes piece revealing inside details of the collapse of Lehman Bros. and the major restructuring at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch.
“It wasn’t an easy transition to TV,” he says. “People want you to screw up on camera, but I wanted the challenge and I put the same work in and I’m getting the same kind of results, so I’m happy with my decision to break out of my comfort zone…the way my Dad will tell you I always do.”
And lest you think Gasparino is ready rest on his laurels, he’s also written best-selling books like The Sellout: How Three Decads of Wall Street Greed and Government Management Destroyed the Global Financial System, King of the Club: Richard Grasso and the Survival of the New York Stock Exchange and is currently contributing to The Daily Beast, Forbes and New York Magazine. “I’m writing a another book right now,” he says, as though we thought he might be taking it a little too easy. This one’s got yet another pithy little title: Circle of Friends: The Massive Federal Crackdown on Insider Trading—and Why the Markets Always Work Against the Little Guy.
The new book takes a hard look (which is the only kind of look Charlie’s got, by the way) at insider trading on The Street and the Federal crackdown that “that has already put some of the biggest names on Wall Street behind bars, including Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group, and Rajat Gupta, a former CEO of consulting giant McKinsey & Co.
It may not be light beach reading, but Charlie didn’t earn his place on the Wall Street by writing children’s stories. “I pissed off a lot of Manhattanites when I said the marathon needed to be canceled before everybody realized how things were in Staten Island and Jersey,” he says. “The next day they called it off. Not because of me, but the racket I made didn’t hurt.”
Charlie has made himself loud and clear over the years and the results have spoken for themselves.