Tag Archives: SABEW


SABEW adds small biz coverage to Best in Business contest


The Society of American Business Editors and Writers‘ 18th annual Best in Business competition will include coverage of Small Business for the first time.

The competition opens for entries on Monday, Dec. 3.

Also new this year: Technology; and Innovation, a division 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. Blogs are merging with Opinion/Column to become Commentary.

The full contest rules will be released Friday, Nov. 9.

Reporting on small business and entrepreneurship from any source is at the core of the new Small Business division.

The division is format- and platform- agnostic. Entries will be judged against each other. Judges will weigh the missions and sizes of entrants.

An entry will consist of up to five pieces of work, including side elements such as videos and graphics. A one-page letter of explanation may be included.


SABEW accepting applications for business of health care seminar


Applications from journalists are now being accepted for a two-day fellowship program on the business aspects of health care.

The Commonwealth Fund awarded a grant to the Society of American Business Editors and Writers to develop a two-day symposium in New York City.

The session, which will be limited to 14 journalists selected through an application process, will be held Jan. 17-18 at Reuters headquarters at 3 Times Square, New York City.

The application deadline is Nov.  19 at 5 p.m. Eastern time.

SABEW and Commonwealth have teamed up before to offer specialized education in healthcare reporting.  It is the fifth such grant the Commonwealth Fund has awarded to SABEW, which has conducted a dozen open workshops and other activities on the business of health care under Commonwealth’s sponsorship since 2007.

“Issues surrounding the nation’s health care continue to be a major business story.  We’re pleased that the Commonwealth Fund will be working with us again to help educate reporters and editors in the complexities of the topic,” said Warren Watson, the SABEW executive director who is developing the training program.

The symposium will be geared to expert reporters from media companies nationwide.  Participants will be selected by SABEW and an advisory committee, and be given fellowships that cover travel, hotel and other costs for the New York program.

Journalists hoping to attend the two-day seminar should apply by sending a letter of interest and a resume to  Watson, SABEW, Suite 416, Cronkite School, 555 North Central, Phoenix, Ariz. 85004.  In the letter, applicants should explain their background and interest in the topic and benefits they believe they would derive from participation.

Topic areas expected to be included: Affordable Care Act implementation, state-based healthcare exchanges, Medicare reform, Medicaid, healthcare payment innovation and reform, healthcare data, healthcare bundling and business insurance plans for employees.


SABEW to raise membership rates


The Society of American Business Editors and Writers announced Monday that it has approved higher rates for its members, effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Individual memberships will go from $55 to $60.

Other rate changes are:

  • Institutions with 1-5 members will increase from $105 to $110
  • Institutions with 6-10 members will increase from $165 to $170.
  • Institutions with 11-15 members will increase from $225 to $235.
  • Institutions with 16-20 members will increase from $285 to $300.
  • Institutions with 21-25 members will increase from $345 to $360.
  •  The additional person rate will go from $13.50 to $15.00

Members who renew for 2013 can pay the current renewal price if they renew before Dec. 31, 2012.


SABEW Best in Business contest to open Dec. 3


The Society of American Business Editors and Writers‘ 18th annual Best in Business competition opens for entries on Monday, Dec. 3, with two new categories, Small Business and Technology.

Also new this year: 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. Blogs are merging with Opinion/Column to become Commentary.

More details will follow soon when full contest rules are released.

Only SABEW members in good standing can enter. Members submitted a record 1,030 entries last year, up from 796 entries in 2009.   Winners will be recognized at the spring Washington D.C. conference April 4-6, which will mark SABEW’s 50th birthday.

For the second year in a row, the contest will open for early birds in December, at reduced prices. “Starting early really helps members get a jump on the contest crunch,” said contest co-chair Lisa Gibbs, a writer for Money Magazine.

Read more here.


Heaster, former KC Star biz editor, dies


Jerry Heaster, a former business editor of the Kansas City Star and former president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, died on Wednesday.

Diane Stafford of the Star writes, “‘We have lost a great journalist and a wonderful friend,’ said Steve Shirk, managing editor of The Star. ‘He loved his dialogue with readers and never let them down. His 5,000 columns are proof of that.’

“A staunch believer in the free market, Heaster won legions of fans, as well as critics, for his conservative columns. Heaster himself disdained the label, saying that was far too simplistic.

“Friends and family knew him as a good-humored, gracious and decent man who bootstrapped himself up from a hardscrabble West Virginia background. The Wall Street Journal was his daily bible, and he carefully clipped and kept a library of articles, including his own work, as reference for his prodigious output.

“Heaster retired from The Star in 2006 when effects related to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma made it too difficult to continue working. Eighteen months ago, he also was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.”

Read more here.

Mark Tatge

Tatge joins SABEW board


Mark Tatge, Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at DePauw University, has been named to the Board of Governors of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

An association of business journalists, SABEW was formed in 1964 to promote superior coverage of business and economic events and issues. Tatge came to DePauw in the Fall of 2011. His long career in journalism includes stints as Midwest bureau chief for Forbes magazine, as an investigative reporter at the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s statehouse bureau, and positions with the Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News and Denver Post.

Tatge has written extensively about corporate misdeeds, starting with his coverage of the savings and loan scandal in Colorado during the 1980s. In recognition of his journalistic achievements, Tatge has received the Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism, the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award, the Morton Margolin Prize for Distinguished Business Reporting, and he was honored as the best business writer in Texas by the Associated Press.

He authored the New York Times Reader: Business and Economics and is quoted in newss stories on journalism issues and media matters.

Read more here.


SABEW seeks freelance biz journalist salary info


The Society of American Business Editors and Writers is conducting an anonymous survey of freelance business journalists throughout the country to determine their pay and the type of work they perform.

The results of the survey will be made available to all SABEW members by the end of the year on its site, and the data will be updated annually to determine whether pay for freelancers and the work they perform is changing.

To do that, we need the help of freelancers. Please go to the link at the end of this message and click on it. Answering the questions will take less than a minute, but will provide valuable data for freelancer business journalists such as yourselves.

“Freelancers are a fast-growing part of SABEW’s membership and an increasingly important part of the business news media — in fact, a freelancer (David Milstead of Denver) just joined SABEW’s executive ladder,” said Jill Jorden Spitz, SABEW’s president and assistant managing editor of business at the Arizona Daily Star.

“This data helps freelance business journalists determine what is happening in the industry, and it helps SABEW look at developing potential services for our freelance members.”

The survey results will be analyzed by SABEW’s research director, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill journalism professor Chris Roush, and will be broken out among geographic areas in the country, as well as by position, by length of time freelancing, and by experience.

The survey can be found at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PDC5YLM.


Dow Jones CEO Fenwick bullish on journalism


Lex Fenwick, chief executive officer of Dow Jones & Co., opened the full day of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in New York with comments about the importance of investing in quality journalism and content delivery systems.

Fenwick, who spent more than two decades at Bloomberg LP, took his role atop the parent company of the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires in February and talked broadly about the digital strategy.

“Absolutely there’s demand for quality journalism and content,” Fenwick said. “We think it (digital) is one of the greatest opportunities afforded to us. We can now get our content to anyone in the world effectively free of delivery charge.”

Lisa Gibbs, senior writer for Money Magazine, interviewed Fenwick and asked about the differences between Dow Jones and Bloomberg. While praising Bloomberg’s corporate culture of making people “feel as if you’re a part of a family,” Fenwick pointed out the two firms were more different than alike despite being in the financial news business. He mentioned Bloomberg was founded as a data and analytics company with news coming later, while Dow had a 150-year history of covering the markets.

He did, however, say he was working to bring some of the customer service aspects of Bloomberg to Dow Jones. In November, the company is planning to launch a help service via online chat. Fenwick is also planning to invest heavily in content and delivering the news in many different languages, reaching a much wider audience.

Other investments he mentioned were a proprietary distribution system to get out Dow Jones Newswires content. Right now, they use Reuters and Bloomberg terminals as well as The Wall Street Journal web site. Fenwick also said Dow was working to build a portfolio monitoring system tied to the content on their sites. People would be able to enter  passwords from their brokerage accounts instead of uploading each holding. Dow Jones would then show real-time data as well as news to match the portfolio.

“We can bring this service and content to people in the lanaguage they speak, I think we can drive readership and build a customer base,” Fenwick said.

He mentioned that those with portfolios were more often affluent, something advertisers love.

Diana Henriques

Diana Henriques receives SABEW award


Diana Henriques, reporter for The New York Times, received the 22nd SABEW Distinguished Achievement Award at the organization’s fall conference on Thursday night.

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.


How technology is changing business journalism


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.