5 Questions For… Carl Quintanilla

By Alissa Krinsky 

Alissa Krinsky
TVNewser Contributor

Carl Quintanilla is co-anchor of CNBC’s Squawk Box. Previously, he was an NBC News correspondent, where he covered the 2004 presidential campaign, as well as a range of domestic and international stories. Earlier, Quintanilla was co-anchor of CNBC’s Wake Up Call and a CNBC reporter. He also worked as a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and the Boulder (Co.) Daily Camera, and anchored at Colorado Public Radio. Quintanilla is a University of Colorado graduate.

1. TVNewser: As a broadcaster, the three-hour, live Squawk Box, with all of its free-wheeling banter and analysis, is…
Quintanilla: .. one of the best gigs in television. Honest. For one thing, the amount of business news that breaks in those three hours is mind-blowing. To be able to convey all of it clearly — without a script — and still save time to joke about Gisele Bundchen‘s (alleged) demand to be paid in Euros…well, it’s the kind of opportunity they just don’t make enough of. I also get to sit next to Joe Kernen and Becky Quick. You won’t meet two finer co-anchors on the planet.

2. TVNewser: Compared to my previous wide-ranging work for NBC News, focusing on business news is:
Quintanilla: At the moment? The most coveted beat in journalism. Look at the lead of every newspaper, magazine and television show in this country. It’s about the economy and where we’re headed. Are there moments where I wouldn’t mind being in a hurricane or on a campaign trail doing politics? Sure. But money, as a story, has every human element general news has: anger, inspiration, jealousy, greed…It’s just a matter of telling those stories with a human touch.

3. TVNewser: Based on my reporting abroad — from Iraq, Israel, and China — when it comes to foreign news coverage, U.S. television networks…
Quintanilla: …are in a tough spot. It’s expensive &mdash at a time when every dollar spent gets the third degree before being approved. I think the networks are beginning to find a sustainable business model where foreign bureaus are smaller, more nimble, but maybe more common. And by the way, anyone who thinks there isn’t a strong appetite for foreign news in this country is out of touch. I was in the Midwest recently and all people wanted to talk about was Benazir Bhutto.

4. TVNewser: Compared to my radio and newspaper stints, working in television is:
Quintanilla: A collaborative process. I must say, there’s something romantic about being a ‘lone cowboy’ newspaper reporter. You fly into town, just you and your notebook, meeting with sources, doing your best Columbo impersonation (“Ahh, one last question, Miss…”). When the story’s a hit, you’re a hero. In television, you wonder if the audio was good on that bite, or if the editor should have added a nat. Overall, though, I’d say TV is ten times as fun. Print’s lonely.

5. TVNewser: The funniest thing a viewer ever wrote or said to me:
Quintanilla: A few years ago, I was standing on Broadway doing a standup for Nightly News. A guy walks out of a restaurant with his buddies, takes one look at me and literally screams, “Hey! It’s whatshisname from whatchamacallit.”