Reynolds president visits Grambling, encourages diversity in biz reporting

Posted By Spring Eselgroth

Andrew Leckey speaks to students about business journalism in a Grambling State University class. Photo by Glenn Lewis, Grambling State University Media Bureau

Special to SABEW

By Justin Madden

The president of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism told Grambling State University students this week that business journalism needs them.

During his first visit to the university, Andrew Leckey detailed for more than 30 communication students why they should consider a career in business journalism – a cool, fun and meaningful job that’s about more than just numbers.

Leckey also discussed the need for the business sector to be covered by more diverse populations. There are vast opportunities for minorities to craft careers in business journalism, especially for African Americans, he said, because there are so few people of color covering business.

“Individuals of color should play a significant role in business journalism because today’s major economic trends so deeply affect their lives,” Leckey said.

Andrea Beasley, a junior business journalism major at Grambling State, is one of those students striving for a career in business journalism. She hopes Leckey’s visit also inspired her classmates.

“I admired his ability to connect with students about the lack of minority business journalists,” Beasley said. “I hope students were able to get a better idea about business journalism and what it offers.”

In fall 2011, Leckey picked Grambling State and three other schools for the Reynolds’ visiting professor program. As part of the program, the university received a $50,000 grant from Reynolds, which funded a semester-long professional to teach students how to cover business journalism. Will Sutton, a former president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and a member of the Society of Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), was chosen as Reynolds Visiting Professor of Business Journalism in Spring 2012.

“It was clear from the application that the school had the potential, intelligence and tradition that would foster excellence,” said Leckey.

During the visit, Leckey  spent time with Grambling’s key leaders, students and members of the Reynolds Tigers, a business journalism professional development program founded by Sutton.

Although the visiting professor program has ended, Leckey said he hopes to further the partnership between the university and the center. One possibility could include involving Grambling students with business journalism programs at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix where the Reynolds Center is headquartered.

Justin Madden is a senior mass communication major, the editor of The Gramblinite, a former member of the Reynolds Tigers and a member of the university media bureau. He took Sutton’s business journalism course and uses some of those skills in his reporting and editing.

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