Warren Watson, executive director of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers since 2009, announced Monday that he is resigning effective June 30.
He plans to move back to his native New England to complete a book on the state of journalism, “Surviving Journalism,” (Marion Street Press) and pursue other journalism endeavors.
“It’s been a gratifying five years,” said Watson, a reporter, editor, executive and teacher at newspaper-media companies and universities since 1973. “I am honored to have been able to work with so many fine business journalists. I’m appreciative and wish SABEW the very best.”
“On behalf of the board of governors, I want to thank Warren for his dedicated service,” said Marty Wolk, SABEW president and managing editor of MSN Money. “He has been instrumental in everything we have done for the past five years, and he will be missed.”
SABEW is launching a search for a new executive director and will be posting a detailed job description soon.
Watson was hired to relocate the SABEW headquarters office from the University of Missouri to Arizona State University’s Cronkite School during the height of the recession in September 2009. He helped solidify SABEW’s finances during times that were tough for many journalism membership organizations, which were hit hard by cutbacks in the industry. SABEW’s membership has risen from 3,200 to more than 4,000 during Watson’s tenure.
In all, Watson helped organize and coordinate nine national SABEW conferences and expanded the group’s education offerings through grants from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, National Endowment for Financial Education, the McCormick Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund. He also expanded SABEW’s donor database and attracted a record number of sponsors for the most recent spring conference in Phoenix in March.
In its golden anniversary year in 2013, SABEW held 10 live training events with Watson on site as organizer and program moderator for most.
Watson also developed SABEW’s inaugural Larry Birger Young Business Journalist Award in 2013. Mina Kimes of Bloomberg News was winner, beating out 40 other candidates in a juried competition, named in memory of a SABEW past president. Watson recruited RBB Public Relations of Miami as the award sponsor.
Watson’s book “Surviving Journalism” will be published by Marion Street Press in 2015. Aimed at professionals and students, the book examines how changes in the journalism business have affected career journalists.
In his 40-year career, Watson has managed daily newspaper newsrooms in Portland, Augusta, and Waterville, Maine, as well as Peabody, Mass. In addition, he has been president of the 2,600-member Society for News Design (2003) and acting president of the American Press Institute (2003-04). At API, Watson was active in business journalism, developing education programs and serving as co-founder of the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at API.
SABEW is the world’s largest organization dedicated to business and financial journalism.