Readers Asked: I Answered – Teri Buhl unwrapped on her Birthday

I've always been interested in finding the dirt

Today I celebrate the number of years I’ve made a footprint on the world. Yep it’s my Birthday- the big 40! Being an investigative journalist is best job I never knew I’d be doing at this age. And since my work allows me to go behind closed doors of so many people lives, ask tough questions, and shine a microscope on what or why they doing it… all in the name of informing the public — I’m taking the day to answer your questions.

Do me a favor and read the whole page because I have a birthday wish for readers at the end.

Where did you grow up? I was born in San Diego, California. My very southern parents raised in Tennessee escaped to the west coast in the late 60’s via the Navy and the Vietnam War. I got lucky that they stayed and raised us in a So-Cal resort community called Lake Arrowhead.

What did you want to be when you grew up? The first female Supreme Court Justice. But then someone beat me to it so I figured I’d settle with being a trial lawyer.

What happen to those career dreams? Well I got in a really bad bicycle accident when I was 15 and suffered a traumatic brain injury. I lost my sense of smell (who needs it right) and also damaged part of my brain that allows me to get facts into short memory. Spelling, grammar, ability to recall details without looking at notes got a lot harder for me but somehow working with numbers and logic still worked. I got a partial academic scholarship to the University of Southern California in their Marshall School of Business accounting program. Their accounting program was rated Top Three in the country and since becoming a Trojan was a long time dream I took it. So I gave up the lawyer dream and figured a few years in audit for a BIG 6 firm would get me into a cool consulting gig.

So how in the heck did you ever become a journalist? Short Version – After I crashed and burned in the dot.com bust (circa 2000) I didn’t work for a while, became a quasi socialite in Newport, RI and helped my boyfriend entertain and meet people – he was trader. A man named Randell Lane discovered me during a Trader Monthly party at a Maybach dealer in New York City when he saw me hanging with all these traders. I’d taken some journalism classes and interned at a design magazine Surface. Lane said if I came and worked from him they’d give me better on the ground journalism schooling than I could get at the likes of Columbia. That was February 2007 – 48hrs later I became an editorial assistant at an international magazine hired to help them figure out the Top 100 traders income. Two years later I was writing about Lane destroying Doubledown Media and leaving tons of reporters without pay and loosing all his investors money.

Who was your favorite editor to work for? That’s tough I worked with over a dozen but if I had to pick one it would be Rich Wilner, the Sunday Business editor for the New York Post. Besides making my reporting sound soooo much better he enabled me to use my business background and market smarts to report some risky news during the 2008 financial crisis. When all my reports about which banks would fail or who’d make millions on a crazy trade idea came true it really helped put my byline on the map. I’m gratefull daily for that experience.

Have you ever been married? No, asked a few times but always said no. I ran away to New York at 24 and left a fiance in So-Cal. I am often in love with my boyfriend though, whoever he is in a given year.

Do you have children? No and don’t plan to. I feel like I give birth every time I report a new investigation… I give it life and watch the market grow it. My work really inspires me and gives me the fulfillment I need – as long you guys keep coming back to read.

Do you make a lot of money as a jouranlist? No – I knew when I left the corporate world this was going to be job that likely barely covered the basics. I think if you’re writing a story because it pays well (or work for Bloomberg who has the highest salaries in journalism) you can get stuck reporting things that don’t matter (fluff) or working for editors who don’t have the reader as their first priority. I think it was one of my journo mentors, Roddy Boyd, who taught me ‘we work for the reader not editors or advertisers’. That mantra always served me well.

Who is your favorite TV journalist? I think Business TV really doesn’t allow enough time to inform the reader and most of what we see today is instagram reporting – make a pretty sound bite without really telling the viewer what could happen. Most readers aren’t trained in econ or finance so I think print gives them more space and time to explain what is really going on. There is one exception to that – I watch TV jurnos Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert on RT’s The Keiser Report – because they make telling the hard truth fun and easy to understand.

Who is the print journalist you respect most? It’s a tie – the late great Mark Pitman who reported for Bloomberg’s investigative team and died suddenly and former NY Post reporting star Roddy Boyd.

Who is the biggest villain on Wall Street? Tim Geithner – Treasury Secretary. I think he has always been too embedded with the banks and rarely has the American taxpayer interest in mind.

So I have one birthday wish I’d like to ask readers. I’d like to shape-up the format of teribuhl.com and bring you content with videos and graphics. That means I have to pay a web designer. So if any of the journalism I’ve given you over the last five years has made an impact on your life or helped you understand the dirty messy world of high-finance please DONATE a few bucks ($10 to $25). You can do this via Paypal at teribuhl@gmail.com Hopefully together we can raise enough make the site look and read even better.

Be Well and thanks for all the support so many of you have given me! It really keeps me inspired when you email expressing how my work makes a difference.

I’ve always been interested in finding the dirt