Ali Vitali [SLA ’12], Capitol Hill correspondent for NBC News, loved writing and knew she was interested in government and politics when she headed to college, and she learned to fuse those passions — along with her love of talking to and meeting new people — at Tulane. Vitali, a New York native, graduated with a double major in political science and communication and a minor in English.
“New Orleans is a place that thrives and lives off telling stories and celebrating life, and it was what made me want to get into the business of being a storyteller and reporter,” she said.
Vitali recalls an encounter during her sophomore year when a custodian shared her Katrina story. “[She told me] where they evacuated, why it was difficult economically for them to evacuate and how long it was they had to stay away. It was a moment for me of ‘Everyone has a story.’”
Being a Capitol Hill correspondent for a major news network, Vitali has reported on countless stories that impact the nation. The role has great responsibility and can often be hectic and complicated. But Vitali’s approach is simple and clear.
“I want to help uncomplicate the political process for people,” Vitali said. “I want to tear down information barriers and speak as plainly as possible, so that everyone feels like they can participate and understand their political systems and their political candidates.”
The biggest of the stories and candidates she has reported on so far in her thriving career are from the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. Chronicling her time on the campaign trail and being the innate storyteller that she is, Vitali authored her first book Electable: Why America Hasn’t Put a Woman in the White House. . .Yet [HarperCollins, 2022], which was published in August.
Vitali tackles the question of, even after seeing a record number of qualified women run for president in 2020, why were they not elected?
“My goal with this book was to take an election that all of us had just experienced and put it heavily through the lens of gender,” she said. “It’s that unquantifiable metric.” Using a reporter’s sharp perspective, Vitali meticulously examines the ways in which the gendered double standards placed on the candidates manifested.
“The longer this book is out there and the longer that I talk to people, the more I realize the parallels between myself and things that I’ve experienced, and the things that these female candidates experienced: questions about authenticity, how we’re allowed to show complex versions of ourselves, the bias that still permeates structures in politics and media,” she said.