Fairfield University and the Connecticut Press Club host Behind the Scenes... the making of "Tales from the Boom-Boom Room"


Susan Antilla, former Bloomberg News and New York Times reporter and columnist, will discuss the making of "Tales from the Boom-Boom Room: Women vs. Wall Street," at Fairfield University on Thursday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in the Multimedia Room of the DiMenna-Nyselius Library.

It took Antilla three years to write "Tales," for several reasons: the level of research entailed; the roadblocks she encountered in reporting on such an explosive topic; and the personal hurdles she had to overcome while simultaneously writing the book.

Antilla, winner of the Press Club's Best "Book of the Year" in 2002, hopes "Tales" will serve as a guide for female college graduates and graduate students who are interested in entering the securities industry, enlightening them to what really goes on in the workplace that may not be taught in the classroom. She also wants it to serve as a resource for women or men who want to take on a powerful employer. "Tales" is essentially a map for how to sue, what to know, what to expect and learning the tricks of the enemy.

Furthermore, Antilla wants to make employees throughout the workforce aware that Wall Street's long-standing policy of mandatory arbitration of civil rights disputes, which precludes women from suing their employers for violations of their civil rights, has become common practice among companies in other industries.

Antilla began her career in financial journalism in 1978 at Dun's Business Month magazine and also worked at the New York Times, USA Today an the Baltimore Sun. In 1985 she became a columnist, at which point, she says, "I really began to choose my own stories," which were always investigative in nature.

Antilla covered the financial industry for more than 20 years. She first wrote about the subject of sex discrimination on Wall Street in 1990 after learning that women were disproportionately losing jobs in a round of cutbacks.

Women had only just begun to enter high-wage jobs in the first place and now they were giving back what they'd just gained. Because of her reporting on the subject, years later, in 1996, she was tipped about the impending sexual harassment/gender discrimination suit against Smith Barney.

In the weeks before the Smith Barney suit was filed, Antilla interviewed many of the women who she said had been subjected to unspeakable harassment. According to Antilla, these women were wounded and damaged and all sounded the same when they told their stories of harassment - there was a common fear and desperation in their voices. That's when she decided she had to write a book. In her words, she was "watching history happen" and wanted to document it.

Presently, Antilla is working on a second non-fiction book about women in business. She is both optimistic and pessimistic about the future for women on Wall Street.

Antilla received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Manhattanville College and a Master of Arts in Journalism from New York University. She is an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University's Graduate Journalism School, where she teaches a class called "Specialized Reporting: The Profile."

Antilla plays piano and was a music major before switching to sociology. She is a native of New Rochelle, N.Y., and splits her time between New York City and Rowayton, Conn.

For more information about the lecture, contact Kim Bridgford, Ph.D., at 203-254-4000, ext. 2795. Parking is located in the visitors section next to the student union.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 5, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 199