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’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