Tag Archives: SABEW
by Liz Hester
Each year the honor, SABEW’s highest, is given to someone “who has made a significant impact on the field of business journalism and who has served as a nurturing influence on other in the profession.”
Henriques has written four books, including the most recent “The Wizard of Lies” about Bernard Madoff.
She started at the Times in 1989 and specializes in writing about white-collar crime, market regulation and corporate governance. She was a member of the teams that were Pulitzer Prize finalists for coverage of the 2008 financial crisis and the Enron scandal.
She serves on the SABEW board of governors and the board of trustees at George Washington University.
To close the evening, Jill Abramson, executive editor of the Times, interviewed Henriques about how she got into journalism and accountability.
When asked what drew her to business journalism, Henriques said it was a “fascination with the con artist” and a low threshold for outrage.
“It’s a morally fascinating environment,” she said. “If profit maximization is the name of the game, how do you keep people honest? How do you keep them from maximizing their own profit at your expense.”
Of business journalism, Henriques said, “It’s an enormous amount of fun and enormously important that people understand it.”
The conversation then turned to Henriques’ book on Madoff and how she got him to talk to her. (Madoff is no longer speaking to her.) Her advice was to be persistant and not take no for an answer. It took months to convince him and his lawyers to cooperate with her.
After finally getting approval to meet with him, she recounted the trials of going into the prison, without a recording device, and having the prison approve pen, pad and files to be brought into the visitor’s room.
She also discussed how she connected with him and the questions she asked Madoff in the short period of time she had with him. Some of the harder questions, she saved for the end of the interview.
One was about the beginning of the fraud. Madoff told her he couldn’t remember the moment when he turned from being an honest broker to running a Ponzi scheme.
Henriques said she didn’t believe it possible not to remember the moment and that’s when she realized he was lying about how it started. This was the issue that caused Madoff to stop talking to her — not the book’s publication.
by Liz Hester
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers fall conference began in New York on Thursday with two lively panel discussions — but only after everyone had a couple of drinks at the opening reception sponsored by the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University.
The first panel, “How Social is Changing the Media,” featured Martin Wolk, executive business editor, NBC News Digital; Lewis Dvorkin, chief product officer, Forbes Media; and Emily Friedlander Peck, managing editor, business, The Huffington Post.
Wolk kicked off the discussion by outlining NBC’s evolving strategy. One interesting tidbit: It gets about half its traffic on breaking news from mobile devices. NBC is active already on Facebook and Twitter, and is looking at Pinterest and Instagram as other places to increase its presence.
DVorkin, who is credited with reinventing Forbes digital which now relies heavily contributor content, said it is looking to reinvent the newsroom processes and build a sustainable model for journalism. His sites are “banking on the individual as a brand” as well as for each person to be accountable and accurate.
Forbes contributors can see how many people are reading and commenting on their posts every 15 minutes. They also have tools to integrate with social media. The idea is to create a new model that’s profitable and lucrative for the writers involved.
The Huffington Post web site also has constant feedback, enabling editors to shift resources according to reader response, Friedlander Peck said. She admitted that many people in the newsroom were “obsessed” with the data, but the site also pushed stories it thinks are important. It’s this balance of giving the audience what they want and also pushing stories that should be told that makes the site successful.
Friedlander Peck gave the example of David Wood’s stories on soldiers returning from war weren’t the most read, she said, but he ended up winning a Pulitzer since The Huffington Post continued to run and promote them.
Forbes has built a new concept in newsroom that includes data analysis and audience development, Dvorkin said. Top editors meet weekly to go over what readers are responding to and push stories through social media. A representative from the ad sales team is in the newsroom to help fulfill campaigns for spiking news.
“We want to produce relevant content. We only know it’s relevant if we look at the numbers and see where it’s going,” Dvorkin said. “Our expertise is content. What we’re trying to do is be good technology integrators.”
Forbes contributors are contractually required to respond to reader comments, helping drive the conversations. And they view all content the same – journalists, marketers, contributors – and it dynamically flows through the site. They’re also paid for building a loyal audience, so a contributor is paid more for return clicks.
At the Huffington Post, Peck said that contributor content looks different than staff content, but that it may be hard for readers to tell the difference. Staff reporters are more closely edited, while bloggers don’t receive the same level of editing.
For some in traditional newsrooms, the notion of having ad salespeople and markets contributing to a site may be controversial. But audience driven content is helping both sites sell ads and increase readership.
by Chris Roush
Barney Calame, a longtime reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal and former president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, will teach business journalism at the University of Missouri as a visiting professor this semester.
A story on the school’s website states, “In 2011 Calame received an honorary doctorate from the University of Missouri, awarded to alumni who have achieved distinction.
“‘Barney played a key role in getting The Journal published the day after 9/11 attack forced the staff out of its Manhattan headquarters,’ said Randall Smith, the Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism. ‘He oversaw all sensitive major stories, and is viewed as one of journalism’s top ethicists.’
“Calame will visit campus and speak to students several times during the semester. He will help develop a new online publication for business news called Missouri Business Alert and provide input about the School’s business journalism curriculum.
“Calame’s visits are being sponsored by funding from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which established Smith’s chair in 2008.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
If you’re a working journalist, chances are you’re spending more time writing for the web and for multimedia platforms. Learn how to polish your writing skills and hone your writing process, particularly as it pertains to online writing with a Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference call scheduled for Monday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. EST.
This session is designed to help both experienced and up-and-coming journalists.
The moderator is Mary Jane Pardue. Pardue is assistant department head in the Department of Media, Journalism & Film and an associate professor of journalism at Missouri State University. Before coming to Missouri State, she was business editor at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. Prior to that, she worked at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the Nashville Banner in Nashville in a variety of reporting and editing positions.
The panelists will include:
- Janet Kolodzy, associate professor, Emerson College. Kolodzy brings more than two decades of professional journalism experience in print and broadcast news to her teaching of convergence-oriented and broadcast journalism courses at Emerson College in Boston. Before joining the Emerson faculty, she was a reporter, writer and producer at CNN International and CNN World Report. She also served as assistant state editor at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Eric Umansky, senior editor, ProPublica. In addition to working closely on ProPublica’s site, Umansky edited much of the news organization’s financial coverage, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning series about Wall Street. Previously, he worked at Slate. He’s also written, mostly on national security issues for The New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, The New Republic, and elsewhere. Earlier in his career, he was editor of MotherJones.com. Umansky is also a co-founder of Document Cloud.
- Dick Weiss, Weiss Write LLC. Weiss is an award-winning writer and editor with more than three decades of experience at American newspapers. While keeping his day job at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Weiss started WeissWrite LLC in 2003 as a writing, editing and coaching service for anyone with a story to tell. In 2005, he retired from the paper to devote all of his energies to WeissWrite. Weiss and his wife, Sally J. Altman, are also editors for the St. Louis Beacon – stlbeacon.org – a new online journal started in 2008. At the Post-Dispatch, Weiss was a metro editor and writing coach.
by Chris Roush
A majority of business journalists in the United States received a pay raise within the past 12 months, according to an informal survey of nearly 250 business reporters and editors conducted by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
Of those that received a raise, two-thirds said the increased pay occurred at their current job. A third of the respondents also replied that their pay remained unchanged in the past year.
The survey discovered that the median survey of business journalists remained at between $65,000 and $70,000. The SABEW survey found the same median salary range in 2010 and 2011.
SABEW received 247 responses to the survey this summer in an attempt to quantify compensation among the estimated 8,000 business journalists working in the United States. More than 3,000 business journalists were invited to participate through direct email to SABEW members, notices on sabew.org and other communications. The 2011 poll received 317 responses.
“It’s encouraging that media companies understand the significance of paying good business journalists,” said Jill Jorden Spitz, the president of SABEW and assistant managing editor for business at the Arizona Daily Star. “These are the reporters and editors who are explaining the significance of major events in companies, the markets and our economy to millions of readers and viewers every day.”
Of those who received raises, more than two-thirds said that their increase was less than $5,000, whereas one in six said that their salary had increased between $5,000 and $10,000. Ten percent said their salary rose by more than $15,000.
The pay raises were for various reasons. Some business journalists said they leveraged job offers at other media organizations into raises at their current employer. Others noted that they work at a newsroom covered by a union that negotiated a cost-of-living increase in pay.
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
The Supreme Court has ruled on the Affordable Health Care Act. What’s next? What are the implications for taxes, for Medicaid, for the exchanges?
Here’s your chance to get tips and ask questions of noted health care journalists in the Society of American Business Editors and Writers’s next hour-long teletraining call, “Health Care Coverage in the Wake of the U.S. Supreme Court Decision,” 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern, Monday, Aug. 20.
Register for the call 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 firstname.lastname@example.org that will be sent to the moderator for possible inclusion in the hour-long discussion.
Panelists include John Wasik, freelance writer and author of 13 books, including one on health care reform; E.J. Mitchell, managing editor, Medicare News Group; and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press Washington Bureau.
For more information on this session, contact Warren Watson, email@example.com or 602-496-5186.
Register here for the call. At the time of the call, dial 218-339-2626. At the prompt, enter the access code 4058935.
by Chris Roush
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers annual Best in Business contest is adding two new categories — one in covering small business and one in covering technology.
Mark Scarp of the SABEW staff writes, “These categories join Personal Finance and Real Estate as categories that recognize excellence in reporting on topics unique to business journalism.
“SABEW also introduces Innovation: a category that will recognize creative and bold initiatives across all facets of business journalism, from exciting new apps to interesting storytelling experiments. This replaces Creative Use of Multiple Platforms.
“In other contest developments, Blogs, formerly a separate category, will merge with the Opinion/Column category in each division to create an overall Commentary category.
“This year’s contest opens with an Early Bird Period on Dec. 4: This year’s entrants will be able to enter at last year’s prices, which will be posted on sabew.org along with other contest information. The final deadline for entries will be Jan. 29, 2013. Winners will be announced at our 50th anniversary annual conference in Washington, D.C., April 4-6.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Diana B. Henriques, an award-winning financial journalist and author of The Wizard of Lies, the New York Times bestseller about the Bernie Madoff scandal, will receive the Distinguished Achievement Award this year from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the organization announced.
The award, which is SABEW’s highest honor, is given annually to someone who has made a significant impact on the field of business journalism and who has served as a nurturing influence on others in the profession.
“We could think of no one who meets this criteria more than Diana,” said Kevin Noblet, chair of the selection committee. “Her investigative reporting sets a high standard for all of us in terms of rigor and relevance. And she has been so generous to those who ask her help to become better professionals.”
Henriques will receive the award Sept. 27, during SABEW’s annual fall conference at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.
A reporter for The New York Times since 1989, Henriques has largely specialized in investigative reporting on white-collar crime, market regulation and corporate governance. She was a member of The New York Times’ reporting teams that were Pulitzer Prize finalists for coverage of the 2008 financial crisis and the aftermath of the Enron scandals.
She was also a member of a team that won a 1999 Gerald Loeb Award for covering the near-collapse of Long Term Capital Management, a hedge fund whose troubles rocked the financial markets in September 1998. And she was one of four reporters honored in 1996 by the Deadline Club, the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, for a series on how wealthy Americans legally sidestep taxes.
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Henriques and another reporter at The Times, David Barstow, covered the management of billions of dollars in charity and victim assistance as part of the paper’s award-winning section, “A Nation Challenged.” She also chronicled the fate of Cantor Fitzgerald, the Wall Street firm that suffered the largest death toll in the World Trade Center attacks.
But she is proudest of her 2004 series exposing the exploitation of American military personnel by financial service companies. Her work prompted legislative reform and cash reimbursements for tens of thousands of defrauded service members, drawing recognition and thanks from military lawyers and families across the country. For that series, she was a Pulitzer finalist in 2005 and received a George Polk Award, Harvard’s Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and the Worth Bingham Prize.
by Chris Roush
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers’ third annual confidential survey of business journalists throughout the country aims to determine what is happening to the pay for business reporters and editors in various positions.
CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HTW2XZC
The results of the survey will be made available to all SABEW members by the end of September, and the data will be updated annually to determine whether pay for business journalists is rising or falling, by how much, and what positions are seeing the biggest changes in compensation.
To do that, we need your help. Please click on the link above. Answering the questions will take less than a minute, but will provide valuable data for business journalists such as yourselves. The deadline to take this 60-second survey is Friday, Aug. 12. Please take a minute (literally) to help us compile this valuable information.
“We saw a slight uptick in pay from the 2011 survey, so we’re interested in seeing whether that has continued this year,” said Jill Jorden Spitz, SABEW’s president and an assistant managing editor of the Arizona Daily Star. “We hope this data will become useful for our members who want to compare their pay to others in the industry and who want to see where they stand.”
The 2011 informal survey, which received nearly 320 responses, discovered that slightly more than half of those who responded said that their salaries had increased during the past year, while less than 10 percent said that their salary had decreased. Nearly 40 percent said there was no change to their salary in the past 12 months.
SABEW, which has its headquarters at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, asks business journalists for such information annually to determine how compensation and other demographics among them change.
The survey results will be analyzed by SABEW’s research director Chris Roush, a journalism professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. The results will be broken out among geographic areas in the country, as well as by position, by length of time on a job, and by experience.
For questions, about the survey, e-mail Roush at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Chris Roush
Reporters and editors who are on the front lines of covering the intersection of business and politics share their insights regarding the upcoming election, the economic stories it will offer up, and what business journalists should be watching for during the next training call from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
It’s called “Marrying Politics and the Economy: Business Coverage in an Election Year,” and it will be held 2 to 3 p.m. Eastern time, Monday, June 18.
Sign up for the call 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 email@example.com that will be sent to the moderator for possible inclusion in the hour-long discussion.
The moderator of the call is Fred Monyak, the Washington-based economy editor for The Associated Press. He formerly served as a business assignment editor for USA Today, a political news editor for The Baltimore Sun in Washington and a reporter and editor for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va.
Also on the call will be Michael Fletcher, national economics correspondent, The Washington Post; John Maggs, senior editor for economics, Kiplinger Washington Editors; and Paul Wiseman, an economics writer for the AP.