Special to SABEW


TORONTO — Foreign trade, accounting and finance, and investigative reporting were featured in a one-day business journalism workshop conducted by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers July 11 at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

More than 40 journalists attended the workshop, SABEW’s third summer training event in as many years in Canada. It was the second year in a row that the organization worked with Rotman.

“It was a quality program,” said Suzanne Bowness, an attendee who is a freelance writer for CodeWord Communications in Toronto.  “The speakers and expertise were first-rate.  It’s hard to get this kind of training.”

Lucy Damiani, president and CEO of Rook Media, agreed.  She also attended last year’s program, pointing out that the July 11 workshop had a good mix of Canadian and U.S. experts.

Much of the focus was on international topics.

The discussion about Canadian trade touched on the challenges North Americans face in an increasingly global environment punctuated by the emerging middle classes in China and India.

Eric Miller, vice president of policy, innovation and competitiveness for the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, pointed out that Canadian interests still do frequent trading with U.S. companies while paying attention to China and India.

Marty Steffens, SABEW Chair at the University of Missouri and Catherine Solyom, reporter with The Gazette of Montreal
Marty Steffens, SABEW Chair at the University of Missouri and Catherine Solyom, reporter with The Gazette of Montreal

In another session, Catherine Solyom, a reporter with The Gazette of Montreal, discussed her award-winning work chronicling the challenging and controversial work of Barrick Gold, a Canadian company attempting to construct and open a gold mine at 5,200 feet in the Andes Mountains between Chile and Argentina.  Despite billions of dollars of investment, Barrick has yet to win final approvals to open the facility.

Solyom won a SABEW Best in Business award for her efforts in 2012.

Kevin G. Hall and Warren Watson, president and executive director, respectively, represented SABEW at the Rotman event.  Marty Steffens, the SABEW chair at the University of Missouri, also participated, along with David Milstead, a SABEW board member and Globe and Mail columnist who discussed various financial topics.

Other speakers included: Jim Dickmeyer, U.S. consul general to Toronto; Donald Brean and  Francesco Bova, professors at Rotman; Michael Hudson, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists;  and Alex Shprintsen, NBC producer.

On-site coordinator was Ken McGuffin of the Rotman School.

SABEW first organized a two-hour program featuring Andy Serwer, editor of Fortune Magazine, in 2011. In July 2012, the organization conducted an investigative reporting workshop at Rotman.

Watson said SABEW plans to conduct another workshop in 2014, tentatively planned for May.