Tag Archives: Educational

Former Fed chairman Greenspan still doesn't understand the biz media

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Marketwatch’s Greg Robb points out that despite his success in managing the country’s economy, former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan still doesn’t understand the role of the press in the financial world.

Alan Greenspan As a prime example, senior reporter Robb trots out Greenspan’s speech last week that sent the market roiling because he mentioned the possibility of a recession. Greenspan’s speech was off limits to reporters.

Robb is calling for new Fed chairman Ben Bernanke to be more open with the business press as a result.

Robb wrote, “With so little on-the record information to go on, sensational and often misleading stories about monetary policy filled the void.

“All of this would be like crying over spilled milk except for the fact that Greenspan’s distrust and misunderstanding of the press have outlasted his reign at the Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington.

“Despite moves toward much greater transparency, restrictions on reporters have actually tightened. Fed governors now only give interviews on ‘background,’ and they’re not allowed to be quoted.

“Although such an interview may aid in a reporter’s understanding of Fed actions, the reporter is not allowed to pass that understanding directly to his readers. So an interview with a Fed official amounts to little more than an ego boost.

“There are exceptions to this practice. Several Fed bank presidents actually sit down with the press and take questions.”

Read more here.

Former BusinessWeek editor Steve Shepard on biz journalism

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Steve Shepard, the former editor in chief of BusinessWeek and now the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at City University of New York, spoke to

Here are a few snippets:

Steve ShepardHaving done business journalism in some guise for almost 30 years, do you agree that there are people who are writing about business who don’t necessarily know anything about business, and secondly, are you going to be teaching business?

Well I have a real long perspective on the first part of that question because I can remember when business journalism was a real backwater, and business journalists were not the sharpest people on the paper at most major newspapers. That’s why we started the Knight-Bagehot program, and that’s why I was teaching at Columbia, but that world has changed. I would say now business journalism has a lot of smart, really talented people. It’s not a backwater anymore at all; it’s front and center as it should be. I think most business journalists are better trained. There are more business journalists with MBAs and more who have taken accounting courses or studied it in school somewhere, for example at the Knight-Bagehot program.

When we were setting up this school, one of the reasons we chose to make it a three-semester program, compared to the one-year at Columbia, was to make room for the subject concentrations. We have four of them and one is business economics.

The other part of the business question that I wanted to ask was, are you going to teach your students not only business reporting skills, but also business management skills because the world is such today that journalists are very often entrepreneurs, especially in new media, and handle business issues.

Only indirectly. We aren’t going to have a course called “Business Management,” and we aren’t going to teach advertising, public relations, and marketing. But indirectly, there are the two courses that deal with this: One is in covering companies, and the other is in covering financial markets, Wall Street, etc. Students are going to learn a lot about how business operates in the capitalist markets, and also how it’s managed. They are going to be studying companies and analyzing their performance. So indirectly, I think they are going to learn a lot about business management, but we don’t currently have a course that is management of a journalistic enterprise.

Read more here. Disclosure: I worked for Shepard while at BusinessWeek.

Biz journalism program created in China

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The International Center for Journalists and Tsinghua University in Beijing will launch China’s first Global Business Journalism Program in September 2007. The initiative includes a two-year master’s degree program and workshops for professional journalists from around the country.

International Center for JournalistsThe program will train students how to cover the fast-changing world of global business, economics and finance at one of the country’s most prestigious universities. The goal is to create a cadre of top-notch business reporters and editors, who can produce clear, balanced and insightful coverage of Chinese and global companies. This will help make China’s markets more transparent and foster greater understanding between China and the international business community.

“China’s importance in the global economy is growing exponentially, and journalists must gain the skills they need to cover the increasingly complex business landscape,” said International Center for Journalists President Joyce Barnathan, who previously reported from China and supervised Asia coverage for BusinessWeek magazine. “This program will bring together the journalism training expertise of our organization, the prestige of Tsinghua University, and the commitment to the highest ideals of business and journalism embodied by the program’s funders.”

The international founding sponsors of this groundbreaking project are Merrill Lynch, the Knight Foundation and Bloomberg News.

Read more here.

Reynolds Center biz journalism interns named

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The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism named seven college students as business journalism interns at papers across the country on Tuesday.

Reynolds Center NewsThrough this paid internship program each student will spend 10 weeks working full time in business journalism at a host publication during the summer of 2007.

“Internships are crucial to the future of journalism and an important part of our goal to improve the nation’s business coverage,” said Andrew Leckey, director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. “In addition to our program, we would strongly urge newsrooms everywhere to continue and nurture their own internship programs.”

The interns, their universities and host publications are: Annalyn Censky, Arizona State University, The Business Journal, Phoenix; Joseph Galante, Fort Hays State University, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Ashley Harris, University of Houston, The Houston Chronicle; Rachel Hatzipanagos, University of Central Florida, The Oregonian; Darrell Hughes, Michigan State University, The Detroit Free Press; Sara Murray, University of Maryland, The Arizona Republic; and Angela Tablac, Northwestern University, The Miami Herald.

Interns were selected by each host publication in consultation with Reynolds Center staff. Censky and Murray will work split schedules with BusinessJournalism.org, the Web site of the Reynolds Center.

Read more here.

Biz journalism center started in South Africa

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Rhodes University, in collaboration with the South African Reserve Bank, is setting up an African Economics Journalism Centre aimed at improving the quality of economics and business journalism in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent.

Robert BrandWith funding of R5 million (Roughly equivalent to about $720,000 US dollars) and support from the Reserve Bank, the Centre will offer post-graduate training as well as conduct research into economics journalism. It will be situated within Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies in Grahamstown. The project will initially be headed by Robert Brand, the Pearson Chair of Economics Journalism at Rhodes University.

The Centre will also initiate research into the practice of economics journalism in Africa. This will help improve intellectual analysis of economics and business journalism, develop high levels of skill among media practitioners as well as work towards specific outcomes, such as an ethics code for African journalists.

Teaching resources will be drawn from Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies, other academic departments at Rhodes University, the South African Reserve Bank College, and the media industry. Curricula will be developed in consultation with the SARB and industry.

Read more here. This sounds similar to the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State.

Online biz journalism: You get what you pay for

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Bryan Corliss, who is spending the 2006-07 year as a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University, attended a panel at Bloomberg News on Monday that discussed the future of business journalism online and posted about it on his blog.

Corliss wrote, “When it comes to online business news, you’ll get what you pay for, members of an industry panel said Monday in Manhattan.

Joanne Lipman“There’s an explosion of business information available online, from company Web sites to big Internet portals like Yahoo! finance, speakers said. But all that information is worth little to the average small investor, who needs trained people who can sort through it, find what’s relevant and explain it.

“‘The Internet is the reason why the business press is more important than ever,’ said Joanne Lipman, editor of the soon-to-be launched Portfolio magazine.

In short, there’s an increasing demand for quality business journalism, said BusinessWeek editor Stephen Adler.”

Lipman was part of a panel that included Adler, Bloomberg News editor in chief Matt Winkler and Fox News business news executive Alexis Glick. They spoke as part of a panel on the state of business journalism sponsored by alumni of Columbia University’s Knight-Bagehot program.

Read more here.

Hearst establishes biz journalism fellowships at Columbia

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Hearst Corp. and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism announced Monday the establishment of the Hearst Fellowship Fund in Business Journalism at the university.

ColumbiaThe program will provide financial assistance to graduate students in the business and economics concentration of the school’s Master of Arts program. The goal is to attract the best qualified student for the program by removing the financial burden that might otherwise prevent him or her from attending the school.

“Any company that desires to provide news, information and perspective to the public must also embrace a mission: a commitment to journalistic excellence and the passionate pursuit of the truth. The Hearst Fellowship Fund at Columbia helps us stay true to this goal,” said Victor F. Ganzi, president and CEO of Hearst.

A cornerstone of the business and economics concentration is a seminar taught by professors Sylvia Nasar and James Stewart. The program is constructed in conjunction with faculty from the Columbia Business School and the economics department of the faculty of Arts and Sciences. One of its organizing principles is to use a news event as a way of understanding larger economic themes.

The first Hearst Fellowships in Business Journalism are expected to be awarded in 2008. Three fellowships will be awarded each year and recipients will receive substantial financial aid.

Read more here.

Gadfly Davis gives money to UNC for business journalism scholarships

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Evelyn Y. Davis, the nationally recognized advocate for shareholder rights, and the Evelyn Y. Davis Foundation have contributed $100,000 to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication to endow four annual scholarships for senior undergraduate students interested in careers in business journalism or political journalism.

“Mrs. Davis’ very gracious commitment sends a powerful message about the critical importance of thorough and accurate reporting of business and political news,” said UNC President Erskine Bowles, who accepted the gift on Carolina’s behalf. “It will also help provide the financial resources needed to build on UNC-Chapel Hill’s international reputation for journalistic excellence.”

Evelyn Y. DavisDavis publishes the corporate newsletter “Highlights and Lowlights” and has made a career of defending the interests of shareholders. She travels to many annual meetings each year, always commanding attention through her probing and challenging questions. Davis has been attending some White House press conferences since 1978. Her publication offers political analysis and timely business coverage in corporate governance matters for chief executives.

Davis, a resident of Washington, D.C., studied business administration at George Washington University. She has given similar business journalism scholarships to the University of Pennsylvania and University of Miami.

The UNC-CH School of Journalism operates the Carolina Business News Initiative, which offers a certificate in business journalism to undergraduate students. Its graduates are now working at media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Bond Buyer and Bloomberg News.

Venture capitalist wants to know where biz journalists will come from

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Venture capitalist Paul Kedrosky, who has also done his fair share of writing in business publications, has an interesting post on his “Infectious Greed” blog.

Kedrosky wrote, “Business news is newly hot in 2006/2007. Consider that last year CNBC was the only cable news network that grew its audience significantly, with, according to MediaWeek, its prime time audience increasing by 32 percent. At the same time, in 2007 we will have Fox apparently launching its new business channel, as well as Condenast bringing out the long-awaited (ed: really?) Portfolio, a business-ish magazine.

Paul Kedrosky“Of course, all of this begs one of the more bizarre questions out there: With all this growth in business journalism, where are the business journalists going to come from? As this piece points out, and as I discovered in a long-ago j-school lecture, most journalism students continue to looking sniffingly at the idea of being a business journalist. It involves, you know … numbers.”

Read more here. Obviously, Kedrosky’s knowledge of the current business journalism field seems limited. By numbers that I’ve seen, the number of business journalists in this country, which stood at between 3,000 and 4,000 in the 1980s, increased to about 11,000 by 2000 but has since been stable. With many newspapers downsizing their editorial staffs, the supply of business journalists seems to be plenty.

Kedrosky also doesn’t seem to understand that there are more universities teaching business journalism than ever before, and that number is likely to increase if this program is any indication. My impression from teaching business journalism from the past five years is that students do want to be in the field because they understand that there are jobs available.

So, I agree with him that business journalism is hot. But his “long-ago” lecture was too long ago.

Why should business journalism be taught?

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Mark Anderson of the Ottawa Citizen writes Wednesday about teaching a business journalism course at Algonquin College. It’s a subject, he said, that is probably the least loved — but most useful — on the curriculum.

Anderson wrote, “If my class wasn’t mandatory, it would be sparsely attended indeed. When I ask for a show of hands at the beginning of each semester — ‘Which of you are interested in business?’ — the response is desultory, to say the least.

“There are, however, three very good reasons behind Algonquin’s decision to make business writing a core part of the journalism curriculum. The first, and most obvious, is that business is where the jobs are. There are more outlets, by far, for business writers than any other discipline. There are business sections in each of Canada’s city papers, as well as our two national dailies. There are a half-dozen or more Canadian magazines devoted exclusively to business. There are hundreds of trade publications, the pages of which are filled primarily with business stories.

“Second, business writers tend to be in high demand because they’re exceedingly scarce. In part, the dearth of quality business reporters is a function of the aforementioned lack of interest on the part of J-School students.

“It’s more than that, however. When newspaper section editors are polled and asked to rate their reporting staffs, business writers tend to trail all others in approval ratings. That’s because business writing requires specialized knowledge and skill sets that aren’t required in most other areas.”

Read more here. I don’t think I could have said this any better. All of the same reasons apply to the States as well.