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CNN’s Ali Velshi coming to campus

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Ali Velshi, anchor of CNN Newsroom and the network’s chief business correspondent, said he originally got into business reporting because he was told it would mean nights and weekends off.

So did that turn out to be true?

“Absolutely not,” Velshi said with a laugh in a Tuesday night phone interview.

Not surprising for the business journalist who has extensively covered events ranging from the 2008 global financial meltdown and presidential election to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

He is scheduled to speak Monday night in the Weasler Auditorium at 7:30 p.m., for the Marquette Student Government-sponsored “An Evening with CNN’s Ali Velshi.”

Velshi said he plans on talking about the economy and opportunities for students coming out of the recession. He also said he plans on outlining what is going right and how to build on those aspects.

Velshi began as a general assignment reporter before taking a job with CNNfn (Financial News), a now defunct network, in 2001.

He said he didn’t foresee financial reporting developing into the niche market it has become.

“I got trained on business, the markets (in 2001),” he said. “And since then these have become mainstream news topics.”

Velshi, who graduated from Queens University in Canada with a degree in religion, said he originally fell into the profession of reporting because he was “curious about everything” and wrote for his school’s newspaper.

After taking an internship with CNN coming out of college 20 years ago and making a few intermittent stops, Velshi ended up back with the network in 2001. He has worked his way to anchoring a daily program from noon to 2 p.m. local time.

In the process, Velshi described his job as “frantic” and “exciting,” saying that in his early days with the network, he would appear on television four to five hours per day and host various shows.

“It’s the nature of the (cable news) beast,” he said. “Show after show after show.”

Regarding the views that news stations may be biased to the left or right side of the political spectrum, Velshi said he has never been censored or pressured by CNN with regards to how he covers a news story.

“On one level, we have absolute freedom to do whatever we want,” Velshi said. “But at the same time, as it is CNN, we have certain expectations on what we need to cover. If something new is going on in Egypt, for example, we are going to run something on it.”

But when it comes to deciding what to run on a show and which experts to bring in, Velshi said he and his staff make all the calls.

In the same vein, Velshi said the pressures of filling up a two-hour show each day hasn’t been a problem.

“Before I got started, I would’ve thought it was tougher,” he said. “But more often we are having to decide what is not going to be going in rather than what is going to run. It actually always seems like we don’t have enough time.”

When asked what he enjoys most about his job, Velshi said it is the opportunity that affords him to travel the country and hear people’s stories.

“I’ll never get tired of listening to people; everybody has a story,” he said. “Any chance I get, I’d take a bus across the country to get out and hear from people.”

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One Response to “CNN’s Ali Velshi coming to campus”

  1. Tweets that mention The Marquette Tribune -- Topsy.com on February 17th, 2011 11:18 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ali Velshi and Marquette Tribune, jash. jash said: RT @mutribune: #CNN anchor @AliVelshi coming to campus Monday night: http://bit.ly/fDIRjU #musm […]

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