Journalist Q&A: Risk & Reward's Deirdre Bolton

Deirdre Bolton, host of Fox Business Network's Risk & Reward, speaks about how she broke into the TV industry and how the show interacts with viewers on social media.

Name:Deirdre Bolton
Title: Anchor of Risk & Reward
Outlet: Fox Business Network
Preferred contact: riskandreward@foxbusiness.com
Website: www.foxbusiness.com

How did you end up in this role?
I worked on Wall Street for years in institutional sales, selling European equities to US portfolio managers. But I knew I did not want to continue on Wall Street, so I pitched myself to Bloomberg as a magazine writer. At the time, TV was really expanding. They said, "If we were to put you on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, can you explain what is going on?" I agreed and I ended up working there for about 10 years.

Fox News Channel’s president Roger Ailes wanted me to come to Fox and take it to the next level. So that is what I am doing with Risk & Reward, which debuted on March 31. I consider it to be my startup.

Describe the content of Risk & Reward.
I was inspired to do the show when I realized about three years ago that alternative assets are growing. There were changes in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which makes investing in venture capital and hedge fund strategies easier.

The show covers everything that is beyond stocks and bonds. We seek to educate people, so the show is one part theory, one part practice. We also have news of the day and an elevator pitch segment, which involves an entrepreneur giving me their 30-second pitch, literally in an elevator. A panel of expert judges then asks them questions based on the pitch.

Describe the show’s target audience.
Everyone who wants to make money, make more money, or keep what they have. We all work hard for our money, so it’s good to be aware of a strategy that helps you save or make a little bit extra.

How do you attract people to the show?
I have my own Twitter handle with about 19,000 followers. Fox Business also has a huge social presence and the show has its own Twitter and Facebook pages, and a website.

We have a question of the day while we are live that normally relates to tech, and people can reply through the show’s website or Twitter page. For example, we recently talked about Google’s self-driving cars and how they have clocked in 700,000 highway hours with no accidents. Our question was: Do you feel more or less safe in a self-driving vehicle?

My favorite response was: "A [self-driving] car is linked to external information. Its source is therefore hackable. I don’t want to be making out with my wife in the back seat while someone can remotely drive us into a fuel tanker."

Our viewers let us know they are watching – particularly New York’s technology community – by reaching out to us, particularly through Twitter. They also give us their thoughts on guest conversations or topics for the show.

How do you use the show’s site to augment your coverage?
We post clips and quotes of the day, short versions of our interviews, and longer versions of exclusive interviews. If people are interested, there is also material archived on the site.

What guests have you had on your show?
We have had exclusives with Ben Horowitz, cofounder of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz; Jonathan Gray, the global head of real estate and a member of the board of directors of Blackstone; and Glenn Youngkin, MD and COO of Carlyle.

But there are people who are well respected in the community, who just don’t like doing TV. I am hoping to change their minds on that. Fred Wilson – founder of Union Square Ventures – is one of them. We want to maintain the caliber of guests we have been booking.

What is the best way for PR pros to pitch you?
Just knowing about alternative asset categories: hedge fund strategies, private equities, venture cap, angel investing, and real estate is a good start. And knowing who would be a standout guest. Also, anything that affects our industries, such as the JOBS Act.

What is the show’s biggest challenge?
Trying to balance what we are doing thematically with the news of the day. Another challenge is getting our team to fully gel. I am lucky in that every person on my team is strong, but we are still finding our stride.

Any future plans you can share?
We may take our show out on the road and go out to Silicon Valley, just because technology is a big part of what we are doing.

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