A message from new SABEW President Mark Hamrick: On press freedom and the year ahead

Posted By David Wilhite

Hello SABEW members:

This is the first of what I hope will be regular updates.

First, I’m excited to be your president for the year ahead! I’ve had the good fortune of meeting or knowing you in-person. For others, I look forward to being introduced. Also, please check out our terrific new board and officers.

We’re just coming off our exciting Seattle spring conference. Thanks to all who attended and who helped to make it a success. We’re already looking ahead to our fall gathering in New York and the 2018 spring conference, which is returning to the Washington, DC area. (Exact dates and location to be announced).

There’s an important, new effort at SABEW, already up-and-running. Under our new First Amendment Committee, we’re looking to accomplish several things:

  • To advocate for SABEW members and for journalism more broadly as the press (broadly defined) experiences unprecedented risks and threats, both externally and from within the industry. The threats include verbal attacks and reduced access from government, violence abroad and continued disruption of news media business models.
  • To explore training and programming opportunities related to press freedom, transparency and access to data.
  • To release public statements when appropriate. (We did so on World Press Freedom Day in early May).

As if to serve a reminder of the risks our colleagues are facing, this past week a reporter, whom I’ve known for years and respected, was confronted during his work covering the FCC. His treatment was unacceptable, particularly in Washington and in America. An apology followed, but what’s really needed is a thorough understanding on the part of the Trump administration about the vital role press access plays in a free, civil and robust democracy.

Despite the challenges, there’s tremendous opportunity for journalists as demonstrated by new and innovative enterprises as well as remarkable reporting we see every day. As a judge in SABEW’s Best in Business awards, I was reminded of the great work being done around the world by our colleagues in business and financial journalism. We see it every day.

We’ll need your help! Please use social media using the @SABEW handle (or other outreach) to raise issues to our attention.

I’m grateful immediate past SABEW president Cory Shouten, board member Marilyn Geewax and past president Kevin Hall of McClatchy, a recent Pulitzer Prize winner, are all working on our new First Amendment Committee.

Please make plans to attend one of our upcoming conferences, where networking and skills training opportunities abound.

Mark Hamrick
SABEW president
Senior economic analyst, Washington bureau chief
Bankrate.com
@Hamrickisms

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