Kenneth W. Baldwin, Jr. passed away peacefully on June 13, 2022. Ken was a former business editor and SABEW supporter.
In October of 1961, legendary business journalism advocate R.K.T. (Kit) Larson organized a three-day meeting that led to the birth, three years later, of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW).
About 60 business journalists attended the gathering. They met in Norfolk, where Larson was associate editor of The Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star. Vermont Royster, the editor of The Wall Street Journal, and pollster George Gallup were featured, speakers. Among the attendees was Kenneth Baldwin Jr., then the business editor of the afternoon Ledger-Star. “I remember the principals quite distinctly,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin sustained his early commitment to business journalism as a donor and supporter of SABEW over the years. His prior experience as a business editor and his continued interest in journalism led to the creation of an endowed chair for a professor to teach courses with a concentration in business and financial journalism at his alma mater, the University of South Carolina.
That gift to the university’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications established the Baldwin Business and Financial Journalism Endowment Fund. The largest gift the school has ever received is aimed at teaching and learning. Income from the endowment will support training, research, symposia, lecturers, visiting professors, student assistantships, and related programs.
“Ken Baldwin was a strong supporter of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He knew that working business journalists were the mentors of a new generation of college students he wanted to expose to the field,” said Fred Monk, past president of SABEW (1986).
“He was familiar with SABEW from its earliest days when he was in Virginia in the 1960s. And in his underwriting of the Baldwin Initiative at the University of South Carolina, he understood that SABEW would be an integral part of developing young professionals. His generosity extended to SABEW with several significant gifts that have elevated our organization,” Monk said.
In 2014, past SABEW President Kevin G. Hall (2013) awarded Ken Baldwin with the President’s award for his efforts to advance business journalism. “Ken’s contributions to journalism were only exceeded by his philanthropy. He was a lover of all things news and a generous friend of SABEW. He will be missed,” said Hall.
“We are grateful for Ken Baldwin’s support of SABEW’s mission,” said Kathleen Graham, executive director of SABEW. “The organization looks forward to advancing Ken’s commitment to the profession through our continued relationship with the University of South Carolina and the Baldwin Business and Financial Journalism Chair.”
Baldwin was managing editor of The Gamecock, the university’s student newspaper. He worked for the Associated Press, the Greenwood Index-Journal, the Columbia Record and WCOS-AM/FM/TV before joining Landmark Communications, the parent firm for the Norfolk dailies, in 1956.
In 1963, he went into management, overseeing Landmark’s personnel and human resource programs in Greensboro, N.C. Later, he served as the Newspaper Personnel Relations Association president, which eventually merged with the Society for Human Resource Management.
Baldwin retired to Columbia, SC, in 1986.