Tag Archives: Educational

Sylvia Nasar

Biz journalism prof files suit against Columbia


Sylvia Nasar, a business journalism professor at Columbia University, has filed a lawsuit against the university for misdirecting funds in her professorship, reports Christine Haughney of the New York Times.

Haughney writes, “The suit, filed in State Supreme Court in New York, also claims that Nicholas Lemann, the dean of the journalism school, ‘intimidated and harassed’ Ms. Nasar for making complaints about the funds.

“Elizabeth Fishman, a spokeswoman for the journalism school, said in an email that “we don’t comment on matters in litigation.” Mr. Lemann was not immediately available for comment.

“The lawsuit comes at a time of transition for Columbia’s Journalism School, which on Monday named Steve Coll its new dean. He succeeds Mr. Lemann, who led the school through a turbulent decade as journalism underwent fundamental shifts. Mr. Lemann announced last fall that he planned to step down by the end of the academic year.

“According to the 27-page complaint, the journalism school created a professorship called the Knight chair in 1998, with a $1.5 million grant from the Knight Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to support quality journalism. Columbia was expected to match the grant.

“Terms of the agreement called for Columbia to pay the professorship’s salary on its own, and use Knight Foundation funds for additional salary and benefits, like research.”

Read more here.


Bloomberg strikes deal with Hampton J school


Hampton University’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications announced a partnership Wednesday with Bloomberg L.P. to prepare students for careers in business journalism and communications.

The partnership, which is launching this spring with a new Scripps Howard School course in business journalism, includes a grant towards the establishment of a financial newsroom, complete with digital stock tickers, computers and access to the Bloomberg Professional Service, the product that revolutionized the way financial news, data and analytics are delivered to financial professionals worldwide.

“Opportunities to cover business and financial news throughout the world are expanding,” said Scripps Dean Brett Pulley, a veteran business journalist whose career includes three years as a New York-based reporter with Bloomberg News. “Business news is growing across digital platforms and some of the best-paying jobs in journalism are in business news.  This partnership will enable us to prepare our students to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Pulley is a Hampton University graduate and a former correspondent at Bloomberg News, Forbes magazine, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

Read more here.


SABEW to hold teletraining on covering sequestration


The Society of American Business Editors and Writers will hold a telephone conference call next week for business journalists interested in covering angles of the sequestration.

The call will be held on Monday, March 18 at 2 p.m. EST. The moderator will be Bernie Kohn, a former SABEW president who now is an editor at Bloomberg News in Washington.

To sign up for the call, click here. On the day of the call, dial (218) 339-2626 and, when prompted, enter the access code 4058935 and you’ll be put in to the call. Callers may only listen in to the panelists’ discussion, but may submit questions to sabew@sabew.org that will be sent to the moderator for possible inclusion in the hour-long discussion.

Also on the call will be James Politi, U.S. economics and trade correspondent, the Financial Times; David Lightman, McClatchy Washington Bureau, chief congressional correspondent and national political reporter; and Rob Terry, managing editor of the Washington Business Journal.

Louise Story

What business journalists can get out of an MBA


Louise Story of The New York Times writes for a Columbia University website, Covering Business, about how an MBA can help a business journalist.

Story writes, “Accounting, Statistics, Excel – if those sound like dirty words to you, you might consider forcing yourself to learn them.  The basic concepts of accounting – flows versus stocks, for instance – come up not only for business reporters, but for political reporters looking at budgets and foreign reporters examining international aid. Or take “a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people botch that one, but it is a basic financial rule known as the time value of money and it’s critical for reporters sizing up a company’s worth. As for Excel, if you gain confidence with it, as B-school forces you to, then functions like pivot tables and filters will become your secret weapon in journalism, helping you spot stories that other people miss.

“In 2009, I wondered if bank pay would be going up or down after the financial crisis. I couldn’t look at total compensation at the banks because some had larger workforces than others.  I had to look at compensation per employee. So into the bank financial statements I went. I designed a basic Excel spreadsheet and hours later, the result was in: bank pay was going up. Ditto on stock market volatility. Lots of traders were saying 2011 was more volatile, but they were speaking anecdotally. So I plugged the year’s stock closing pricing data into Excel, and soon, I had an answer. Last year, I wondered how much states give companies in tax credits and other subsidies. Once again, a little numeric literacy came in handy. In all these cases, I was able to give readers answers that didn’t exist without my analyses.”

Read more here.



Scholarships available to attend SABEW conference


More than $10,000 in scholarship and travel aid is available for journalists hoping to attend SABEW’s 50th annual spring conference April 4-6 in Washington, D.C.

The scholarships will be funded by the Goldschmidt Family Foundation, the SABEW Chair at the University of Missouri and SABEW’s Benita Newton Fund for minority journalists.

Warren Watson, SABEW executive director, said four $1,000 Newton scholarships will be given this year, thanks to fund support from Reuters and from CNN Money/ Turner.

Only journalists of color will be considered for the Newton scholarships.

Applicants should send a resume and a 50-word statement about why they are applying.  Send both to sabew@sabew.org.  Please include “scholarship request” in the subject line of the email.

The SABEW chair, Missouri journalism professor Marty Steffens, is also sponsoring two $1,000 grants for SABEW Best in Business award-winners in the recently concluded competition.

The SABEW chair will also sponsor eight small grants to cover registration for the conference.  They are valued at $350 each.  BIB winners will be given preference.

The SABEW chair scholarships are open to anyone.

Likewise, The Goldschmidt Foundation will fund one $1,000 scholarship and two $500 scholarships. All journalists are encouraged to apply, but one of the $500 grants will be given to a college student seeking to attend the conference.  Applicants should apply in the same manner as listed above.

The deadline for applications is March 8, 2013.  Winners will be notified immediately.


Shepard, former BusinessWeek editor, to step down as CUNY dean


Steve Shepard, who was editor of BusinessWeek magazine for 20 years and then became the founding dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, announced Monday that he is stepping down at the end of the year.

Shepard will remain on the faculty.

A story on the CUNY website states, “A search committee will be appointed to recommend candidates for the dean’s job to CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. CUNY expects a successor to be named by the fall.

“Shepard, a 1961 graduate of City College, came to CUNY in March 2005 to create a new graduate school of journalism after a long career in magazines. He was a senior editor at Newsweek, editor of Saturday Review, and editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek for more than 20 years. He also served as president of the American Society of Magazine Editors. His memoir, Deadlines and Disruption: My Turbulent Path From Print to Digital, was published in 2012 by McGraw-Hill.

“‘I will be forever grateful for the privilege of serving as founding dean of this innovative new school,’ Shepard said. ‘We can all be proud of what we’ve accomplished in short order.’

“Launched in August 2006, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is the only publicly funded graduate program in journalism in the Northeast. It offers a three-semester Master of Arts in Journalism and a newer M.A. in Entrepreneurial Journalism. The School enrolls about 100 new students each fall, about 65% of them women and nearly 40% students of color. The School graduated its sixth class in December 2012.”

Read more here.


Business journalism ethics, or the lack thereof, in Hong Kong


Business journalists in Hong Kong understand potential conflicts of interest, yet some still trade in stocks of companies that they cover, according to new research from the London School of Economics.

“The most striking finding is that almost half of the 12 journalists interviewed, five respondents, openly said that they or close relatives actively traded in shares or markets that they wrote about, and several others reported a relaxed attitude to such practices,” writes Damian Tambini, a senior lecturer at the London School.

Tambini’s research was recently published in the Journal of Mass Media Ethics. It notes that such practices in Hong Kong are vastly different from accepted business journalism practices in the United States and England. Tambini interviewed business journalists in New York and London in 2009 and found no one who traded actively.

“A junior reporter (Journalist 4) on a Chinese language daily was quite open about his trading activities, and the fact that he wrote about companies he had an interest in,” writes Tambini. “This reflects an assumption widely held among the interviewees that active trading by journalists in the newsroom was common and accepted.”

Tambini also found that some English language media in Hong Kong require journalists to fill out a disclosure form and file it with management, but that the journalists are not using the form, and their employers are not enforcing the disclosure.

The research believes that his interview data offers a strong indication that the rule that journalists should not write about stocks they own is becoming more accepted in Hong Kong, but those rules have yet to take hold in everyday practice.

Tambini argues that the trading of stocks by business journalists could undermine the “contract” with the general public to act as a watchdog and serve the public interest.

To read his research, go here. A subscription is required.


Wharton offering one-day program for biz reporters


The Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists is offering a one-day program for business journalists in New York on March 6.

To apply, go here.

Through intensive lectures and hands-on exercises, the Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists, led by the Wharton School’s most prominent professors, help reporters gain better understanding of key business and economic issues. This free, one-day program will feature Wharton professors Mark Duggan and Alex Edmans on “Reforming America’s Entitlement Programs” and “Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility” respectively.

The Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists program, now in its 45th year, offers participants an opportunity to expand their knowledge, increase their exposure to leading experts and broaden their perspectives in a stimulating environment. This one-day program is free of charge and open to a limited number of journalists.

Thanks to new sponsor the Travelers Institute, the Seminar will also feature a special screening of Overdraft, a nonpartisan documentary made for public television that highlights the growing U.S. deficit and its implications for individuals and U.S. economic competitiveness.

The program will be on March 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The registration deadline is Feb. 25, 2013.

Read more here.

Global economy

Business journalism event in New York on Tuesday


An event examining global economic coverage by the business press will be held in New York on Tuesday morning.

The event, called “Are we Being Served?” will be held at the New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, and begin at 8:30 a.m.

It will explore how the global financial press interprets these crucial developments around the world for its audience, and ask what drives the American media to cover the international economy the way it does.

The speakers include:

  • Heidi Moore, the U.S. finance and economics editor for The Guardian. Formerly, Heidi was New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace, from American Public Media.
  • Kevin J. Delaney, editor in chief and co-founder of Quartz, the new global business site from Atlantic Media. Kevin was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal for a decade, working in Paris and Silicon Valley, before returning to New York to become managing editor of WSJ.com.
  • Edmund Lee, reporter for Bloomberg News in New York. Edmund covers the media industry. He’s written for The New York Times, the Daily News, New York, The Village Voice, Women’s Wear Daily, Portfolio, Advertising Age and Bloomberg News.

The event is sponsored by Capital New York and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. To reserve your spot, go here.

Sylvia Nasar

Columbia biz journalism professor wants nearly $1 million from university


Sylvia Nasar, who teaches business journalism at Columbia University, is seeking nearly $1 million in pay she claims she has not received from the university, writes Joe Pompeo of Capital New York.

Pompeo writes, “And in a summons served to the university this week, she’s seeking $923,000 and accusing the school of underpaying her from funds dedicated to her compensation package from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“The summons was provided by a source to Capital. A complaint has not yet been filed.

“‘The nature of this action and the relief sought is to recover damages for breach of contractual duties owed to plaintiff as a third-party beneficiary, unjust enrichment and conversion, arising out of the diversion of funds accruing for the benefit of plaintiff pursuant to an endowment grant by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation dated Sept. 17, 1998,’ reads the summons, which was filed by Nasar’s attorney in New York State Supreme Court on Jan. 7.

“The attorney, Mark Lawless, said he was ‘not in a position to comment at this point.’ A spokesperson for Columbia declined to comment. An email to Nasar was not returned Thursday afternoon.

“Nasar was the first Knight Professor of business journalism at the journalism school, and co-directs the master of arts program in the field with James Stewart, according to her bio page. She’s been employed by Columbia since 2000; the funds from the Knight endowment are separate from her core salary.”

Read more here.