Executive Director’s Report May 2018

Posted By David Wilhite

SABEW18
This year’s conference was all about getting back to the basics and building skills. We’ve seen a number of ground-breaking stories over the past year, and all were done the old-fashioned way — by cultivating sources, digging into documents and data, collaborating with editors, and finding angles that matter most to people. Hats off to SABEW18 conference chairs Bernie Kohn and Bryan Borzykowski and the committee that worked hard to create solid programming and networking opportunities.

New name
SABEW’s familiar acronym remains the same, but the organization has changed its name to the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. The change is part of a broader effort to embrace a global focus on business journalism. Having “American” in the name implied that we did not offer membership or training to international journalists. The rebrand is about engaging and encouraging news professionals from across the globe to become members.

First Amendment Committee
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. To that end, SABEW created the First Amendment Committee to address members’ needs and desires, including advocacy of journalism, at this challenging time for the industry. Over the past year, it has released public statements in support of press freedom, partnered with other groups concerned about protecting the quality of government data, advocated for safety as journalists have experienced unprecedented risks and threats, and offered programming opportunities related to press freedom, transparency and access to data.

AWARD HIGHLIGHTS

2017 Best in Business Awards
We celebrated the 2017 BIB Award honorees at a ceremony on Friday evening, April 27, 2018. The 121 winners and honorable mentions came from all corners of the business-journalism world. One hundred seventy-three news organizations submitted 986 entries across 68 categories. SABEW18 conference attendees were encouraged to attend the “BIB Winners: How They Did It” session to learn from this year’s winners. The 2018 BIB contest opens Dec. 1, 2018.

SABEW Distinguished Achievement Award
Congratulations to Gretchen Morgenson, senior special writer in the investigations unit at The Wall Street Journal, who received the Distinguished Achievement Award at the Best in Business ceremony Friday evening, April 27. The award is given to an individual who has made a significant impact on the field of business journalism and who has served as a nurturing influence on others in the profession. Morgenson shared insights, career highlights and thoughts on journalism during a special Q&A session led by Lisa Gibbs, director of news partnerships at The Associated Press.

Larry Birger Young Business Journalist of the Year Award
Jillian Berman, 28, a New York-based reporter for MarketWatch, was the 2017 winner of the Larry Birger contest. It is the fourth year of the competition. Berman received the award and a $1,500 honorarium at the 2017 SABEW 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, 2018.

Membership
We have just over 3,000 members. This includes 2,637 institutional members from 132 media outlets, 51 institutional members from six academic institutions, 175 journalist members, 135 student members and 12 associate members. Keep your membership current and share your Twitter handle by updating your profile in the membership database.

TRAINING HIGHLIGHTS

Monthly training calls
The training calls continue to be extremely popular – since last year’s spring conference, we’ve held 13 calls for over 500 participants. The calls are archived and can be accessed at any time on SABEW.org. Highlights include sessions on freelancing, international trade in the Trump era, the state of press freedom, and how to cover cryptocurrency. We strive to offer a variety of topics and to recruit presenters who represent diverse backgrounds and organizations. Thanks to SABEW members Kim Quillen and Patrick Sanders for leading this effort.

Data-immersion workshop
Our fifth annual Goldschmidt fellowship week in Washington, D.C., was a huge success. Twenty-two business journalists participated in the seminar that immersed them in data and accounting skills. Janet Yellen, then-chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, addressed the group in the historic Fed boardroom. Journalists also 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. Many thanks for the continued work of SABEW leaders Marty Steffens and Kevin Hall and donor Jim Goldschmidt of the Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation for supporting this initiative. The application process for the winter 2019 workshop begins in November.

SABEWNYC17 fall conference
The October 2017 event in New York was a huge success. It attracted some 200 people over the course of two days of programming including a daylong personal-finance reporting workshop produced by NEFE’s Paul Golden.

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.

Sixth annual Business of Health Care Summit in Washington, D.C., June 28-30
SABEW is seeking applications for a workshop that will help journalists better understand health-care economics and will provide an update on the Affordable Care Act. Attendees will be able to share and test out story ideas at this summit. Space is limited to 15 journalists. Selected participants will receive a stipend to offset travel-related expenses. Go to SABEW.org to apply. Made possible by a grant from The Commonwealth Fund.

SABEW Canada
SABEW Canada continues to expand and thrive with new members, social events, programs and BIB awards! Bryan Borzykowski, SABEW’s well-known Canadian board member who has been instrumental in leading expansion, now serves as vice president of SABEW.

Finance
In keeping with best practices for non-profits, SABEW conducted an independent audit of our 2016 financials, and we will do so again for the 2017 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 2017 with $447,337 in net assets

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