Susan Antilla `76
Journalist and Author
What being an alumna means to me...
I frequently am reminded of the influence that Manhattanville had on my career, and why I do what I do. It was 1978 when I got my first job as a journalist, working as a reporter at a business magazine called Dun’s Business Month. I really was blessed: the staff was small enough that I could be called upon to do just about anything – checking facts, going to the library to do research, calling securities analysts, and, when I got lucky, actually writing a story. And I worked with business writing veterans who were hugely generous with their time and mentoring. So I learned a lot.
I was edgy, though, because the magazine was in many ways an advocacy publication for business. I wanted to write for the general public - - people who didn't have public relations staffs and lobbyists and lawyers to advocate for them. In 1982, I heard about a newspaper that would be launching – USA Today. I sent them a letter and I got a job covering the stock market. From that job on, I almost always had a chance to somehow address the question “how can I help the average person understand how business and finance really work?” when I wrote a story.
Here’s the Manhattanville angle: I’m drawn to stories that raise questions about whether people, be they regulators, employers, or financial people, are doing the right thing. If there’s something amiss, I want to get that across to the public. That approach is in large part a result of the way I was taught to think at Manhattanville.
I used to tell people that I was a reporter who covered finance until one day a source looked at me like I was nuts when I said finance was my beat. “Susan, you write about morality,” he told me. It took a while to sink in, but he was right. I don’t like it when the playing field is uneven. The education I got at Manhattanville helped give me the analytical tools and mindset to ask the right questions, and care about what I consider the important things.
Susan Antilla `76
Susan Antilla, a freelance writer and monthly columnist for Bloomberg View, has for three decades interpreted the obfuscations of Wall Street for the average investor. Antilla, who received an M.A. in journalism from New York University, came to Bloomberg News in 1995, writing a column that debunked deceptive Wall Street claims and challenged regulators who were not doing their jobs. Her 2002 book “Tales From the Boom-Boom Room: The Landmark Legal Battles That Exposed Wall Street’s Shocking Culture of Sexual Harassment,” was named “Best Book of the Year,” by the Connecticut Press Club. She won the “Excellence in Journalism” award for online commentary from the Society of the Silurians in 2012, and was a finalist in the 2012 Connecticut Press Club awards for online commentary writing. She won the “Excellence in Financial Journalism” from the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, and received the “Women’s Leadership Award” from Manhattanville College. She has twice been a finalist for financial journalism’s prestigious Gerald Loeb awards. Antilla started her career in New York in 1978 as a business reporter at Dun’s Review magazine, and became stock market reporter for USA Today in 1982. She opened the New York bureau of the Baltimore Sun and later became Sunday “Wall Street” columnist for The New York Times. Susan Antilla has been an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Journalism at New York University. She lives in Bridgeport, Connecticut.