It’s July, and we’re halfway through a doozy of a year.

SABEW wasn’t able to hold its May conference in Toronto because of the coronavirus, so I missed seeing many of you. But I’m pleased and honored to serve as SABEW president until next spring, and I wanted to take a moment here to introduce myself and share a couple of exciting things our organization has been up to.

This month, we launched our first ever business book contest. This competition builds upon the successful Best in Business journalism competition SABEW runs each year. The book contest is the brainchild of SABEW Vice President Caleb Silver, editor in chief of Investopedia, and I’m grateful for his hard work on this project. If you’re interested in entering a recent business book you’ve authored, there’s still time. We’re accepting entries through Aug. 17, 2020. Look for the results of this competition to be announced later this year.

SABEW has also been busy the last several months producing virtual training sessions aimed at helping newsrooms cover the business aspects of COVID-19. Some of you know that I’m a long-time chair of SABEW’s Training Committee, and this type of distance learning for members is a particular interest of mine. If you’re looking for fresh ideas and resources for your coverage, take a moment to check out our training archive and catch up on any sessions you may have missed. And be sure to mark your calendars for Aug. 11, 2020, when we’ll be holding our next training session on “Approaching the Business Beat with a Diverse Lens.” There’s also plenty more to come. We’re mapping out training plans for the months ahead. If you have an idea, or a request for training in a particular area, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Lastly, to say that these past few months have been difficult for our industry would be a tremendous understatement. You probably saw the report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc. showing that newsrooms cut 11,027 jobs during the first half of this year, an increase of 170% over the number of cuts during the first half of 2019. Too many exceptional business reporters and editors are out of work, and our organization is working to meet the needs of these journalists.

We’ve expanded the job listings on the SABEW website, and we have a fledgling effort underway that allows journalists to pitch themselves as potential job candidates. If you’ve got ideas about how we can better serve business journalists who are in transition, please let me know. We are already taking a forgiving approach to members who’ve been furloughed or laid off.  Please let us know how you are doing and we will work with you!

Finally, a little more about me. I’m currently one of the editors on the Chicago Tribune business desk. I’m a career business journalist and editor, with previous stops at the Arizona Republic, the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, and the Delaware State News.

Most importantly, I’ve been an active member of SABEW for almost 15 years and a member of the board of governors for more than 10. This organization – and the professional journalists involved in it — has offered me a great deal of support over the years. I’m looking forward to giving back to SABEW over the months to come, and I hope you’re up for playing a role. Please feel free to reach out with suggestions, feedback, and ideas about how we can better meet the needs of the business journalism community. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kim Quillen
kquillen@chicagotribune.com