Executive Director’s Report May 2017

Posted By David Wilhite on Thursday May 11, 2017


SABEW Distinguished Achievement Award

Larry Ingrassia, managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, received the Distinguished Achievement Award at the Best in Business ceremony at SABEW17 in Seattle on Saturday, April 29.

2016 Best in Business Awards

This year’s transition to a platform-agnostic contest went smoothly thanks to SABEW board members Brad Foss and Xana Antunes and SABEW staff member Crystal Beasley. The contest remains popular, attracting more than 1,000 entries in the U.S and Canada. The 2017 BIB contest opens Dec. 1.

Larry Birger Young Business Journalist Award

William Alden, 27, a San Francisco-based business reporter for BuzzFeed News who covers the technology industry, was the 2016 winner of the Birger prize, honoring journalists younger than 30. He received the award and a $1,500 honorarium on Oct. 7, 2016, at SABEW’s New York fall conference. Thanks to rbb Communications for funding this award and to Josh Merkin for his help shepherding the grant. Deadline for this year’s applications is July 31, 2017.

New First Amendment Committee

New SABEW President Mark Hamrick is creating a SABEW First Amendment Committee to help address members’ needs and desires, including advocacy of journalism, at this challenging time for the industry. We’re currently investing in professional training and have joined 80 journalism groups in an effort to raise press-freedom issues. The First Amendment Committee will be looking for opportunities to be engaged on the press-freedom front, especially as it relates to business journalism. SABEW wants to lead members in efforts to band together to fight fake news, support the credibility of journalism, protect access to information and pursue the truth.


In keeping with best practices for non-profits, SABEW conducted an independent audit of our 2015 financials and we will do so again for the 2016 financials. The audit will help set the table for future financial growth since audits are a requirement of many grant-giving organizations.

SABEW will end 2016 with a positive net operating income and $370,800 in net assets.


Monthly training calls

The training calls continue to be extremely popular – since last year’s spring conference, we’ve held 10 calls for just under 500 participants. Calls, including past sessions, can be accessed on the SABEW site. The focus has been to help members develop digital skills and navigate the changing media landscape. The Twitter training was our most popular call this year. Thanks to SABEW members Mary Jane Pardue and Kim Quillen for producing this fantastic program.

Data-immersion workshop

Our fourth annual Goldschmidt fellowship week in Washington, D.C., made possible by a generous grant from the Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation, was a huge success. Twenty-two business journalists participated in the seminar that immersed them in data and accounting skills. Journalists heard from experts at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Participants received special briefings from the Council of Economic Advisers and the Federal Reserve as well as briefings on new investment data from the Investment Company Institute. Many thanks for the continued work of SABEW leaders Marty Steffens and Kevin Hall and donor Jim Goldschmidt for supporting this initiative. The application process for the next workshop begins in November.

College Connect

Check out SABEW’s student-written personal-finance blogs on sabew.org. Topics range from family financial crises to how much outside employment a student should undertake during the academic year. The ongoing program is funded by NEFE. Students from the University of Missouri, Arizona State University and the University of Georgia are the bloggers.

Health-care training for business journalists

Following the election of Donald Trump, who vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, SABEW was able to provide tele-training less than a week later. Less than a month later, SABEW held a three-day symposium at the Bloomberg offices in Washington, D.C., for 15 fellows. The Dec. 1-3, 2016, symposium focused heavily on helping reporters understand what ACA changes might occur. This also followed a panel discussion at the SABEW New York fall conference in October titled Affordable Care Act Under Duress: What’s Next? Through the generosity of The Commonwealth Fund, this annual program is in its fifth year.

SABEWNYC16 fall conference

The October event in New York was a huge success, attracting some 200 people over the course of two days of programming. The executive director of CUNY’s McGraw Center for Business Journalism, Jane Sasseen, produced the third annual symposium on the challenges and opportunities news executives face in reshaping their newsrooms – and their coverage – amidst the rapid mobile, social and video changes underway. NEFE’s Paul Golden produced a daylong personal-finance reporting workshop. The 2017 workshop is Oct. 12-13 at CUNY.


We’re back to Washington, D.C., for the 2018 conference. Submit your program ideas during our call for sessions, and please take the SABEW17 post-conference survey!


Membership numbers

We have just over 3,000 members. This includes 2,721 institutional members from 132 media outlets, 186 journalist members, 122 student members and 15 associate members. Keep your membership current and share your Twitter handle by updating your profile in the membership database.

SABEW Canada

SABEW Canada continues to expand and thrive with new members, social events, programs and more BIB entries than last year! Bryan Borzykowski, SABEW’s well-known Canadian board member who has been instrumental in leading expansion, has joined the executive ladder as SABEW secretary.

SABEW - Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication,
Arizona State University

555 North Central Ave, Suite 406 E, Phoenix, AZ 85004-1248

E-mail: sabew@sabew.org

©2001 - 2019 Society of American Business Editors and Writers, Inc.