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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


When roles are reversed and the irrepressible CNN anchor Richard Quest gets interviewed, here's what you get:

Q : Richard, as an investor I can't wait. I ask you the question. At this point in time, is India looking attractive? Should I put my money in it? What would you tell us?
RICHARD QUEST: Well, frankly, what I tell you is what I always tell people who ask me this question. If I knew where to put my money, do you really think I will be sitting here doing this job? I will actually be sitting on one of my yacht somewhere in the Caribbean, enjoying the good life.

Q : Now, Richard Quest - what's the secret behind your tremendous energy reserves?
RICHARD QUEST: The problem is people think business is boring. Let me tell you something. They don't think it's boring when they go out and buy something on the credit card, that's business. They don't think it's boring when they get a pay rise and ask for more money, that's business. We have to keep in mind, business coverage is nothing other than everyday economic activity. It is not bond yield. It's the price of oil when your winter gas bill comes in. It's the price of gold that affects inflation and how much you can buy.
That's business!
I want to put it in that perspective and it looks sexy.

Here's another swell piece from The Guardian
How to be ... Richard Quest
Interview by Rob Harris
July 11, 2005
The Guardian

When I started in television, notices inviting staff to celebrate someone's 20th anniversary in their job startled me. I never thought I'd be in that position, but after 15 years with the BBC and now five at CNN, I am. Although looking back makes it seem how little one has done. My father wanted me to have a get-out-of-jail-free card: taking a law degree. I was not adverse to the idea of being a lawyer, but I liked criminal law where there was no money.

Regardless, I got stuck into university and hospital radio, before applying for the BBC news trainee scheme. The odds were stacked against me, coming from a comprehensive school, but contacts secured me an interview. Later I found out I wasn't the first choice, but the beneficiary of horsetrading between the panel of interviewees.

My big break came working on Radio 4's Financial World Tonight, despite having limited financial knowledge. People say business is boring, but after water, food and sex, how you spend your money is the most important thing you will do. Business journalism isn't rocket science; you just have to read a few books. I had a trick though: if I turned up at an interview not knowing how the company performed, I always started by asking: "So chairman, how will you explain these results to your shareholders?" It has served me well over many years.

My profile was boosted by a stroke of luck. During the 1987 Wall Street crash, the economics correspondent, who was supposed to do a piece for the midnight news, had gone missing - "tired and emotional". I filled in and it led to me landing the Wall Street posting - a job I created for myself. The best jobs are those you invent yourselves - you stand more chance of being successful. Ian Hargreaves, the director of news, admitted I was not the best candidate, but said I was the only one who could bully himself on air.

At 27, I was the BBC's youngest foreign correspondent. I still think that one day I'll be found out. How the hell did I get the job, given that my BBC contemporaries were Fergal Keane and John Simpson, who could write with flair? My pieces tend to have something different from theirs, surviving on noise and fury. I can take any network down market with a few noises. During my 11 years as North America business correspondent, I added new elements like presenting. But I questioned what I had left to do at the BBC. I was a safe pair of hands, but I never got to cover the big stories, like wars.

I loathe change, but the CNN advert in MediaGuardian jumped at me. The hardest thing was that by the time I left the BBC I had gained a certain degree of seniority and could throw my weight around. Suddenly at CNN, I didn't know who to even call and thus felt totally impotent in the first year. CNN knew what they were buying and sometimes I go over the top and the bosses have to rein me back. I wore some Royal Opera House costumes for a piece, but my boss hated it; I was ill in bed and hoped death would arrive. But I put my hands up.

I'm still anchoring financial programmes, like Business International, but I'm now involved in the big news stories, like the Pope's death. And the breadth and reach of CNN is staggering. In the past few weeks, I've been filming in Jordan, Nigeria, South Africa and India. In Lagos, I was shocked that ordinary people like market traders recognised me.

The object of my new show, Quest, is to broaden the appeal of CNN and get viewers to stay with us longer by lightening up. The big complaint is that we are repetitious. Factual entertainment is a different vehicle and my bosses in Atlanta keep pushing us to go further and further. The first programme on comedy was about how to tell jokes.

The next one was about greatness and we got Bill Clinton, the Dali Lama, and Gandhi's great-grandson to contribute. I had my brain analysed and compared to Einstein's - I'm delighted to say it's entirely normal but sad to say it's entirely normal. I have to be careful with Quest, I want to do interesting and fun things, but in the next slot I might be reading serious news. If Quest succeeds, it will take up more of my time. At the same time, it is exciting to know that in an emergency I can go back to that. Oh, and I know it's ridiculous, but one day I would like to be CNN's White House correspondent, although there's no chance a US network would employ a foreigner. I dream of signing off: "Richard Quest, CNN, travelling with the president."

Education: Law LLB Hons (Leeds University); called to the bar (1985)
Jobs: BBC news trainee (1986-7); reporter, BBC financial unit (1988-9); BBC North America business correspondent and BBC World presenter (1989-2001)
Presenter, CNN (2001-)

Career high: I was one of only seven broadcast journalists on the last Concorde flight and I stole anything I could on board.
Career low: Watching the Berlin Wall come down while I was in New York. If I hadn't taken up the Wall Street posting, I would have been covering it.