Election 2000: probably not too memorable for most of us as it waned into December. For Amy Farrar Walsh ’96, though, the election was almost never ending. An intern at CNN in Washington, D.C., Walsh was there at the dawn of the Spin Room, recapping the Florida recount of Bush vs. Gore – chad by chad, night after night.
“I was a college graduate sleeping on my sister’s couch working for free 40 hours a week for CNN’s ‘Late Edition’ with Wolf Blitzer,” she says. Following this, it was on to the program “Crossfire” where Walsh was a researcher for Bob Novak and Tucker Carlson as they went toe-to-toe against policy wonks James Carville and Paul Begala.
Chicago and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” beckoned in 2003. As talent/news booker, Walsh spent eight years booking actors and athletes, presidents and poets, and “lots of authors” for the show. She has travelled for breaking news stories such as the Virginia Tech massacre and the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, visited wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital and even spent some time at Sarah Palin’s home in Alaska. “It’s an intense job, but I’ve had plenty of fun,” she says. “I’ve witnessed history before my eyes from a front row seat.”
Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Miami University, Walsh feels she has benefitted greatly from the writing and critical thinking skills she gained at Gilmour. “I write all the time,” she admits. In her position, Walsh writes letters to potential guests, pitches shows and sells creative ideas. “I often lean back on my writing skills that I learned from Mrs. Kenny and Mr. McCamley,” she says. “I need to make sure the pitch makes sense and clearly conveys my vision for the show.”
Although the last episode of the show aired in May after being on air for 25 years, Walsh insists she’s “had great job satisfaction working for a show that has purpose and, in today’s crowded media field, continues to rise above the rest.” She is certain, though, to remain busy.
“I’m not sure what my next chapter includes, but I’ll definitely work on my latest production – our daughter, Ainsley,” born in September to Walsh and her husband, Mike. The two married in 2007 after he travelled across the country bowling in all 50 states and wrote a book called “Bowling Across America.” The family will continue to live in Chicago, where Mike works for a design firm. Along with swimming and yoga, Amy Walsh enjoys checking out the latest restaurants. “Do what you love and love what you do,” she says.
A trip to Gilmour is in the works, too, and Walsh hopes to connect with classmates Colleen Kiely, Jackie PawlowskiColetta, Jean Arkedis Croke and Katy DeMinico Boyle. “We’re all counting down the days until our 15-year reunion in June,” she says. No doubt she will hook up with her mom, Caroline, and the Farrar Gilmour clan – father Jim ’59, sister Mary Kate Farrar-Vega ’93 and brothers J.P. ’91 and Dan ’94. “It’s pretty hard not to hear about the latest Gilmour news,” Walsh says, “when my dad and sister work in the alumni/development office.”