Tag Archives: SABEW
Jerry Heaster, dean of The Kansas City Starâ€™s business desk, is retiring â€” bringing an end to a long and distinguished career in business journalism. He wrote more than 5,000 columns in the past 27 years, according to a story in this morning’s paper.
Star reporter Chris Lester wrote, “Heaster, 67, cited health issues as the reason he is leaving the newspaper. Over the past two years, his popular column has appeared only intermittently â€” first because of a broken hip suffered in February 2004 and later because of a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosed later that year.”
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers plans to bestow the organizationâ€™s Presidentâ€™s Award on Heaster at its annual meeting this spring in Minneapolis. Heaster is just the fourth recipient of the award, which the organization, established in 1964, grants occasionally to recognize significant contributions to the organization and business journalism.
The paper will search for a replacement.
I had an interesting conversation with Herb Greenberg, the California-based columnist for Marketwatch.com, about an issue that was recently posted on Talking Biz News. And he made an interesting side comment that has stuck in my mind since I hung up the phone.
What Greenberg, formerly of TheStreet.com and of the San Francisco daily, said was this: There has never been a more important time in business journalism as what we’re experiencing today. The way business news is being delivered is changing, and how business news is being reported is changing. The general public is questioning the usefulness of mainstream media, and as a result, business journalism is under more scrutiny as well.
I agree. Business journalism has made great strides in the past 17 years in which I have been involved in the field, but in many respects it’s still considered a back water at many publications. And there are threats all around, from the perception out there that business reporters are on the take from the companies and industries that they write about to companies that are becoming increasingly hostile to the business journalist’s role of providing readers with information about corporate America, the economy and Wall Street.
This comes at a time when daily newspapers are questioning the amount of space in which they provide to business information — witness what is happening with stock listings being cut in many metropolitan dailies without giving additional space to editorial content.
All around business journalism there are attemps to spin the truth, from investors and analysts to public relations officials to corporate executives. Business journalism must resist these threats and continue to move forward. Otherwise, we lose all credibility.
I think SABEW can play a big part in this. The field is going through a time where new leaders are emerging as old pros such as Myron Kandel fade away. We must continue to strive to make business journalism better. Quality means respect.
Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy wrote the column this morning that probably a lot of columnists should be writing. His message: I am not for sale.
Steffy (Disclosure: I know Steffy. We worked together at Bloomberg. Last summer at SABEW in Seattle, we had a few beers.) was responding to the recent spate of revelations by columnists and reporters that they’ve accepted money to write with a particularly slant.
Steffy wrote: “If I hammer on Ken Lay or call for the release of Jamie Olis, you need to know it’s me talking and not some hidden paycheck. If I write about a company, you need to know I’m not in the stock, long or short.”
And he added: “I’d like to think we’re done with this, but I have a feeling we’re just getting started. People like Richard Scrushy and Jack Abramoff share ideas. They see what works.
“And they have one seemingly unlimited resource: ready cash.
“So I just wanted to make sure we’re clear about this. Their money is no good here. Even if we disagree, you need to know that. This is our space.”
That’s the opinion of former BusinessWeek investigative reporter Gary Weiss, whose book “Wall Street versus America” is about to come out. He argues in a post on his blog that the anti-naked shorts such as Overstock.com President Patrick Byrne make accusations about the business journalism media to support their theory that naked shorting is bad.
Weiss said: “One thing I find disturbing about this naked shorting business lately is how the anti-naked-shorts have engaged in some really underhanded, cynical tactics to advance their stupid cause. Lately they’ve been — oh my, how unique this is! — bashing the media left and right.
“For example, I’ve seen circulated on the Internet supposed exchanges of correspondence and communications from reporters (note this post and others on the SABEW blog). The transparent aim is to drum up a phony hate-media hysteria. Note the reference to an unrelated payola scandal in this anti-shorting website, replete with this swill:
“‘How many journalists do you think Wall Street pays off every year to write agenda articles? 1% of the total? 2%? 5%? 10%? If there are 500 financial journalists in NY and the surrounding areas, 2% would be 10. Anyone naive enough to think this is an isolated issue is living in a fool’s paradise.’
“This kind of bonehead rhetoric is typical of the Baloney Brigade. And as for the ranting by Overstock’s Patrick Byrne about Sith Lords and such — the only journalistic issue that I see is that some people in the media have actually taken it seriously. I saw one broadcast journalist, a gent I respect, actually give a platform to some of this silliness.
“Journalists have a duty to their readers and viewers to call that kind of rhetoric what it is — baloney. Funny how I keep coming back to that word.”
Also, a critique of his new book in the New York Post this morning says this: “His eyeglass spares no one, and financial reporters come in for special mention for their sins of omission, as they focus on the machinations in the Morgan Stanley executive suite while ordinary investors are robbed blind by scams that continue to this day.”
Read the entire Weiss post here.
If you’d like to have a say in how the national organization runs itself, then now is the time to consider running for a spot to be a board member of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
Here is the announcement:
Six SABEW board positions open up every year. We also fill the seat of the board member who has been elected secretary/treasurer. (This year, thatâ€™s Bernie Kohn of the Baltimore Sun.) We also fill any other openings that arise.
All SABEW members are eligible to run. We simply ask that you notify Rex Seline, immediate past president and chair of the Nominating Committee. Weâ€™ll also ask you to submit a brief biography and photo to Becky Bisbee, editor of The Business Journalist. Weâ€™ll publish the candidates in TBJ. The voting takes place at the annual conference in Minneapolis.
We will accept nominations until Jan. 20.
Board members are required to attend two governor meetings each year and serve on a number of board committees that oversee everything from the organizationâ€™s Web site to annual contests. Terms begin at the annual conference and last three years.
If you have questions, call Seline at 817-390-7729, or e-mail him at email@example.com.
You really can make a difference, and SABEW wants your help.
The Register-Guard, the daily newspaper in Eugene, Ore., announced in the Sunday paper that it would add section fronts for the business section on Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s nice to see a newspaper expanding its business news hole rather than contracting it.
“Readers have complained for a long time about not being able to locate the Business section,” said managing editor Dave Baker in a story. “We should now be able to give Business a section-front placement on most weekdays.”
It should be noted that former SABEW board member Christian Wihtol is an editor at the Register-Guard. He is now the team editor for public affairs and local government.
The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences is raising money to honor Benita Newton, the Virginian-Pilot business reporter who died suddenly last summer.
To read the story in the Tuscaloosa News, go here.
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers is also raising money to create a program to encourage minorities to consider the field of business journalism in Benita’s honor.
SABEW has added a new category to its annual Best in Business contest. They are now opening it up for columnists. A student category was added last year.
The column category will break down into the same circulation divisions as its breaking news, enterprise and projects categories. There also will be an additional category for freelance/syndicated columns. Any kind of business column is eligible: local business, Wall Street, personal finance, advice or even reporter’s notebook columns. All will be lumped together, and the panel of judges will choose what they feel are the best columns from the bunch.
Each entry will consist of four columns: three of the writer’s choice, and one mandatory date. The mandatory date is Thursday, June 16, 2005. Columnists who don’t publish a column on that date must choose the first column that ran after the mandatory day.
This blog argues that the way to improve the quality of journalism, including economics journalism, is to have some sort of credentialing system.
Specifically, it states: “Another possible response is improved journalistic credentialling. Why donâ€™t all journalists have the same sorts of credentials that TV meteorologists do? There should be credentials in economics reporting, health care reporting, science reporting, military affairs reporting, and foreign policy reporting. Ideally, these credentials should be open to people who donâ€™t already have J-school degrees. Genuine knowledge and demonstrated expertise could potentially improve both traditional journalism and blogging. And it would give the consumer the ability to distinguish between writers armed only with opinions from those who at least know the basics of what theyâ€™re writing about.”
Phil Meyer, a well-known journalism professor at UNC, has also been promoting this idea of “certification” of journalists. The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism gives certificates to business journalists who complete all of its courses within a year.
Yet, I can’t come with a good way to accomplish this on a widescale basis in business journalism. Who would oversee the certification process? SABEW? Not sure the national organization could take on such a project — or that it’s members would want to do such a task.
Could business journalists be de-certified for screwing up too many stories? Would the certification mean more money as far as salary or the chance at getting a better job? How would a business reporter be “certified”? Would they have to pass a test? Seems like a lot of places such as Bloomberg already give job applicants a test to assess their business acumen before hiring them. Isn’t that the same thing as “certification”?
Too many questions, and not enough good answers right now.
This Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2005, SABEW needs help in testing our new online entry registration process for the 2006 Best in Business contest.
It’s worth looking at. It’s pretty cool and could eventually pare its data-entry expenses.
From 11 a.m. To 1 p.m. CENTRAL TIME on Wednesday, could you please click on to the link listed below and follow the instructions. Act as if you were entering BIB for your organization.
Please complete the whole process and click on the submit button. Don’t worry, your test entry will not be officially submitted, as the system is not yet live.
We want SABEW members from all over the country to be on the system at the same time to see if it can handle the strain.