An Interview with Talent Booker, Writer and UConn Alumna Ashley Papa ’05

An Interview with Talent Booker, Writer and UConn Alumna Ashley Papa ’05

Ashley Papa '05 serves as both a Guest Segment Producer and a writer for Fox News. (Photo Courtesy of Ashley Papa)
Ash­ley Papa ’05 serves as both a Guest Seg­ment Pro­duc­er and a writer for Fox News. (Pho­to Cour­tesy of Ash­ley Papa)

Ash­ley Papa works as the guest seg­ment pro­duc­er for “The Real Sto­ry with Gretchen Carl­son.” The live news show on at Fox News Chan­nel cov­ers top­ics rang­ing from gen­er­al news to inves­tiga­tive report­ing to pol­i­tics. Papa books the var­i­ous tal­ents for on air com­men­tary and does all the pre-inter­views with the guests.

Papa also writes about nutri­tion, dat­ing and rela­tion­ships for Foxnews.com’s online fea­ture mag­a­zine. She is a 2005 grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Con­necti­cut with a bach­e­lor’s degree in jour­nal­ism and polit­i­cal science.

In an email inter­view, Papa shared insight into her broad­cast jour­nal­ism job as a tal­ent book­er and how UConn helped to shape her career.

What is a typ­i­cal work day like for you?
A typ­i­cal, non-break­ing news day looks like this:  I get in around 8 a.m. and leave around 4 p.m. How­ev­er, I start check­ing the black­ber­ry as soon as I get up.  When I get into the office, I meet with my pro­duc­tion team and my anchor to go over the show run­down and guest seg­ments for the day.  We talk about the top­ics we’re cov­er­ing, I’ll do pre-inter­views with them to get their point of view.  If it is a satel­lite inter­view, I have to coor­di­nate order­ing stu­dios, wher­ev­er that may be.

When it is show time I am either in the con­trol room on head­set or escort­ing my New York guests around the build­ing to the stu­dio.  After the show, we meet again to talk about the next day’s line­up and guests that we want to have on the show. I will then send out my guest requests, whether that is email­ing or call­ing peo­ple or often times I deal with agents and publicists.

What makes your job unique?
One of the best things about my job is the peo­ple I meet and net­work with. In this job, you are the per­son that peo­ple from out­side Fox go through, to get on our air.  That said, high-pro­file peo­ple, know who you are. Anoth­er part of this job is it requires you to be a peo­ple per­son. I often get to attend events strict­ly to min­gle and recruit new faces for com­men­tary. I also get to trav­el for break­ing news sto­ries and events to book interviews.

Where did you pre­vi­ous­ly work in journalism? 
I am proud of my cur­rent posi­tion, but will nev­er for­get where I start­ed. My first job was as a pro­duc­er in Lin­coln, Nebraska.

[Papa worked as a morn­ing & mid­day pro­duc­er at KLKN-TV. She also spent three years as a guest book­ing pro­duc­er for Fox News Chan­nel’s “Amer­i­ca Live with Meg­yn Kelly”].

How did your UConn edu­ca­tion and con­nec­tions help you in your career?
What was great about UConn was the access and encour­age­ment I got from pro­fes­sors. [Jour­nal­ism] is not an easy indus­try to break into, but hav­ing their sup­port was extreme­ly help­ful.  I also felt that I had the free­dom to be cre­ative in what sto­ries I want­ed to cov­er, whether it was for writ­ing or broadcast.

Why did you choose to major in journalism?
I always had a pas­sion for news, writ­ing and inves­ti­gat­ing.  As a jour­nal­ist, you have access to lots of infor­ma­tion and peo­ple;  infor­ma­tion that I want­ed to know and share with the pub­lic.  It is impor­tant for cit­i­zens to know what is going on in their city, their coun­try and the world, and it is up to good jour­nal­ists to keep them informed.

Do you remem­ber your sud­den death sto­ry in Newswrit­ing I? If so, what did you write about?
From what I remem­ber, my sud­den death sto­ry was on speed­ing through and around cam­pus.  I spoke to cam­pus police and stu­dents about the safe­ty issue.  It was ear­ly in the school year where it was still warm out and stu­dents were walk­ing around to par­ties and such at night.

Did you have a favorite UConn Jour­nal­ism professor?
Pro­fes­sor [Steven] Kalb. I stay in touch with him to this day. He was always just a big sup­port­er of mine.

What was the most valu­able skill you learned as a UConn Jour­nal­ism student?
Although not the most fun, learn­ing about jour­nal­ism ethics was extreme­ly valu­able.  You need to be aware of your rights as a jour­nal­ist.  You need to check your sources.  The most valu­able thing you have as a jour­nal­ist is your cred­i­bil­i­ty. When you lose that, for what­ev­er rea­son, you lose the public’s trust.

Fol­low Ash­ley Papa on Twit­ter: @FoxAshleyPapa