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University of Missouri

Rousseau’s Runway Reporting

Caryn Rousseau, BA, BJ ’00, covers everything from the NATO summit to Fashion Week.

Caryn Rousseau

Caryn Rousseau, BA, BJ ’00, reports for The Associated Press.

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Rousseau covered Naeem Khan’s show at the 2011 New York Fashion Week. Photo by Caryn Rousseau.

From election night 2008 to the latest developments in the NATO summit, if news breaks in the Windy City, Caryn Rousseau is all over it. After all, it’s her job. Rousseau, BA, BJ ’00, works the breaking news desk for The Associated Press in Chicago.

But during a special week in February, when she’s not breaking the important story, Rousseau covers a weeklong event where the coverage is all about the covering.

For the past two years, New York Fashion Week (the U.S. showcase for fashion designers’ latest lines) has been Rousseau’s plum assignment.

Sitting front row at fashion shows for designers such as Zac Posen and Naeem Khan, she takes notes on the latest lines of high fashion. She’s looking for style, color, and the mood and feel of entire collections. She even trades glances with stars such as Matt Damon.

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Rousseau had a front row seat at the Feb. 12, 2012, Zac Posen fall collection show at the Lincoln Center in New York. Photo by Caryn Rousseau.

“It’s not entirely different from covering breaking news,” says Rousseau, a native of Chicago. She runs from event to event across New York City, hailing cabs and filing copy from her phone. “There’s not much time between the different designers’ shows to summarize the main points from each collection.”

Rousseau sees her main audience as a mixture of fashion buyers for high-end stores and fashion fanatics. But she is also writing the first draft of history with details about haute couture that will trickle down to wardrobes for the masses.

And while Rousseau spends her time at Fashion Week interviewing world-renowned designers, she’s also talking to their biggest fans. On her list of celebrity interviews: Gloria Estefan, Jenna Bush, Kristin Chenoweth, Kyra Sedgwick, Tim Gunn and Nina Garcia (from Project Runway) … the list goes on.

So what does a journalist wear when covering one of high fashion’s premier events? Something inconspicuous, according to Rousseau. She’s there to report, not partake.

“I wear a lot of black,” she says. And, no comment on whether she takes any ideas home for her own closet.