The birth of a business journalism organization
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers Inc. was formed in 1964 to promote superior coverage of business and economic events and issues.
Less than a half century ago the very idea that business news would ever emerge from behind the classified advertisement section would have been preposterous. But in the late 1950s, business news began to make the climb from obscurity.
The movement began when the late R.K.T. (Kit) Larson, former associate editor of the Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star in Norfolk, Va., began talking with Charles C. Abbott of the University of Virginia about “the generally poor reporting of business news in the country’s press.”
Larson organized several small seminars, and in 1961 put together a three-day session that attracted 60 business editors and writers. The success of that seminar resulted in another in 1963.
A permanent organization took shape in 1964 when the Society of American Business Writers held its first meeting in New York City. In 1984, the Society took a major step by voting to place its offices at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In 2009, the Board of Governors voted to move the Society’s headquarters to Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix, where it was established in September of that year.
Today, its more than 3,400 members are from North America and several countries. In 1990, SABEW began offering institutional memberships, and now entire business staffs at major newspapers, business journals, business weeklies, wire services, online publications and broadcast outlets are members.
As part of its educational mission, SABEW sponsors an annual convention and specialized reporting conference. It also confers business journalism awards for excellence in business journalism, as well as honors individuals who have made long-standing contributions to business journalism.
In an era when business news routinely tops the front pages, leads the network news and results in the creation of new magazines, it seems hard to imagine a time when things were different. To make sure that business journalism keeps its new-found-popularity, SABEW has worked closely with the University of Missouri to raise $1.1 million to endow a chair for business journalism education.
Society of American Business Editors and Writers
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication,
Arizona State University
Suite 416, 555 North Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004-1248
Phone: (602)-496-7862 Fax: (602) 496-7041
©2001 - 2013 Society of American Business Editors and Writers, Inc.