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Rutgers was a “terrific fit” for Senior National Correspondent for Fox News Channel Rich Edson JMS’03
Edson has covered major political establishments such as The White House, Congress, The Supreme Court, and others during his career at Fox News.
Edson has covered major political establishments such as The White House, Congress, The Supreme Court, and others during his career at Fox News.

Senior National Correspondent for Fox News Channel Rich Edson JMS’03 said beginning in high school and from the moment he arrived at Rutgers, he knew he wanted to study politics and television journalism.

Majoring in Journalism and Media Studies and History, Edson said he took pivotal classes that taught him about the power of media as well as fundamental concepts of journalistic practice. He also became involved with the Rutgers student radio station WRSU and the student newspaper The Daily Targum.

During his undergraduate years, he landed internships with the PBS program “The Open Mind” and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Soon after working as a local government reporter, Edson began his career at Fox Business Network, where he worked his way up to the role of Washington Correspondent. He then transitioned to his current position as a Senior National Correspondent in 2021.

Edson spoke with SC&I about why he chose Rutgers, his years as a student, and how those experiences have influenced his career at Fox News Channel.

SC&I: Why did you choose to attend SC&I and major in Journalism and Media Studies?
RE: I knew in high school that I wanted a career in television journalism. That was the easy part. I still had to figure out where to go to school. I'd considered several journalism programs.  Some weren’t the right fit. Others were too expensive. At Rutgers, I was drawn to the richness of opportunities. I could major in journalism and pursue other academic interests at the highest level.  There were extracurricular activities that had everything and nothing to do with my major. I could do all this a quick train ride from New York.  It was a terrific fit.  

SC&I: Did any classes and/or instructors have a profound and lasting impact on you, and if so, why?
RE: The faculty is diverse and dedicated to helping students succeed. I met Professor Steve Miller as a high school senior. My English teacher's son graduated from SC&I (when it was then named the School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies, SCILS) and she recommended I speak with Steve about applying. He convinced me and I was soon his student. He's been a mentor and friend since. My sophomore year, I took Professor Richard Heffner's "Mass Communication and the American Image." Through it, I began to appreciate the immense power of national media and the responsibility we have as journalists. I interned for Professor Heffner's PBS show "The Open Mind." He encouraged me to also major in History and pursue a graduate degree at Columbia, which I did. He remained a mentor and friend as well.

SC&I: Did your studies at SC&I and/or other experiences, such as any internships you may have had, help prepare you for your career? If so, how?
RE: Rutgers offers a wealth of opportunities for young journalists. In class, I learned how to write and broadcast news stories. I learned about journalism and its role in, and effect on, society. At WRSU, I produced and broadcast live sporting events. With a quick New Jersey Transit trip to New York, I interned for "The Open Mind" and "Saturday Night Live." At the “Open Mind,” I researched guests for a weekly, nationally televised public affairs show. At SNL, I got to hang around one of the best casts in the show’s history:  It included Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan, Darrell Hammond, Seth Meyers, and many more. On Saturdays, I'd leave New Brunswick around 10 a.m. and return home the next morning well after the sun was up.

SC&I: Can you tell us more about how you started at Fox and how you got to your current position as a Senior National Correspondent?
RE: I've always been interested in covering policy and politics. When I was a kid, I remember watching campaign speeches ahead of the 1992 primaries on CSPAN. In 2007, I was a local government reporter at a TV station in Savannah, Georgia when I decided to move to Washington, DC and try to become a national reporter. I'd gotten some freelance work when a friend's colleague connected me with Fox Business’ Washington bureau chief. FBN was scheduled to launch in a few months. I was just looking for freelance production work to help pay my bills, but he mentioned they were hiring a reporter. He asked for my resume reel, I sent it and a month later I was at Fox’s headquarters in New York for an interview. I started at the business network just ahead of a major financial crisis and a presidential election. From there, I covered the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, the regulatory agencies, and much more. Fox News hired me as a Washington correspondent in 2015 and then promoted me to cover the State Department in 2017. In 2021, Fox elevated me to senior national correspondent.

SC&I: What is the most rewarding aspect of your career and the most challenging?
RE: The most important aspect of my career is giving viewers accurate and timely reporting on their government and national and international events. When I've broken news, it's set or contributed to the national conversation. That's exciting. It's also a major challenge and a standard I have to meet every time I'm on the air. We have to constantly tell accurate, compelling stories. I also get a front-row seat to history as it happens. It's pretty wild broadcasting events live that millions across the world are watching.

SC&I: What is some of the advice that you received at SC&I, Rutgers, or elsewhere that has served you well and/or advice you'd like to share with current or prospective SC&I students about how to succeed at Rutgers and professionally?
RE: As a student, never be afraid to ask. Ask your professors for advice. Ask colleagues at your internship to help with your resume reel or to shoot standups. Ask about job opportunities. If someone says they don’t know, ask them for a reference for someone who does.

Also, keep moving. This is the best time in life to try new paths and places. Most of us grew up in New Jersey (I'm from Dumont in Bergen County). We're used to living in the largest (New York) or fourth-largest (Philadelphia) media markets in the country. The world is a big place and there's so much to see, learn, and experience. Get out of your comfort zone. And if you have a passion in journalism or communications in a specific field, get to that environment. If you love politics and policy, move to DC. We'd love to have you!  If it's finance, get to New York. If you like tech or entertainment, go to California. Spend time overseas if you can. Before you know it, life responsibilities can make these things difficult. This career is hard work and very challenging, but it's so much fun if you're up for it.

Discover more about the Journalism and Media Studies major at the School of Communication and Information on the website

Photo: Courtesy of Fox News Channel

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