Four CoJMC students attend business writing conference in NYC

Four CoJMC students attend business writing conference in NYC

Monday, November 5, 2018 - 2:15pm
Lauryn Higgins, Holly Barr, Elizabeth Rembert and Phillip Carter, left to right, heard top journalism organization leaders share their thoughts on the field at the Fall 2018 meeting in New York City of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing.
Lauryn Higgins, Holly Barr, Elizabeth Rembert and Phillip Carter, left to right, heard top journalism organization leaders share their thoughts on the field at the Fall 2018 meeting in New York City of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing.

by Professor Joseph Weber

Jonah Hill, Bruce Springsteen and Shepard Smith now have something in common. They all were among the luminaries CoJMC students came across on their recent trip to New York to explore business journalism.

Graduate students Phillip Carter and Lauryn Higgins joined undergraduates Holly Barr and Elizabeth Rembert at the Oct. 25 daylong conference of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing  (SABEW) at Reuters in Times Square in New York City. All are students in Financial Communications courses taught by Assoc. Prof. Joseph Weber and Adjunct Prof. Mark Tatge. Weber accompanied the foursome on the trip.

As part of the trip, students visited Bloomberg News, Reuters, National Public Radio, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. They met editors and heard about internship and job opportunities at each media outlet.

At NPR, for example, business editor Pallavi Gogoi and media correspondent David Folkenflik showed the students around. They heard how Folkenflik puts together his stories and met such Planet Money stalwart as Stacy Vanek Smith and Cardiff Garcia.

Surprises there included seeing Hill, the actor and director, as he was interviewed in the NPR studio. Among those on hand was alum Nickolai Hammar, who now works as a news assistant in video for NPR.

Later, the celebrity-sightings continued, as students spied Springsteen leaving Jujamcyn's Walter Kerr Theatre after a performance of “Springsteen on Broadway.” Some of them also came across Fox News Channel anchor Shepard Smith, dashing by as he grabbed a bite to eat outside the Fox studios.

Those folks were matched by stars in the media world at the SABEW conference.

“It was interesting to learn insights from some of the industry’s heavy hitters like Sally Buzbee from the AP, Steve Adler from Reuters and Joe Weisenthal of Bloomberg News,” Carter said.

Adler serves as editor-in-chief of Reuters, the global news service. Weisenthal is executive editor of digital news for Bloomberg. Buzbee is executive editor of the Associated Press. All discussed the need for impartiality in news coverage at a time when the media are under assault.

Among others, the students heard from Jon Steinberg, the former Buzzfeed president who in 2016 founded Cheddar Inc. Cheddar bills itself as a “post-cable” news, media, and entertainment company and broadcasts live on SlingTV, Hulu Live, YouTube TV, Philo, Twitter, Facebook Watch, Pluto, Xumo and other rising new outlets. It aims to serve print- and network-averse millennials.

After seeing the high-level media figures up close, Higgins echoed Carter’s sentiments. 

“While the future of journalism appears to be dismal for many, after attending the SABEW conference and hearing from some heavy hitters in the industry, I was reassured and comforted to know that journalism at its core is as strong and fierce as ever,” she said. “My time in New York City was truly a highlight of my last semester in graduate school.”

On the morning after the conference, New York Times Business Editor Ellen Pollock and Deputy Business Editor Adrienne Carter welcomed students into the group’s story planning session, as staffers and editors discussed plans for upcoming work. Later, they met with Theodore Kim, the newspaper’s director of newsroom internships and fellowships.

“Sitting in on The New York Times meeting on Friday was amazing,” Carter said. “Just having an opportunity to be in a room like that was fun.”

Earlier, at Bloomberg, campus recruiter Catherine Whelan showed students around the news operation’s offices and detailed its internship programs. At Reuters, Wealth Editor Lauren Young similarly gave the students an insider’s view of the global news operations offices and opportunities.

At the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Wisnefski, the newspaper’s deputy managing editor, treated students to a tour and discussion of opportunities.

Rembert said visiting such prominent news agencies gave her new momentum in her post-graduation job search.

“Searching for jobs and filling out applications can be boring and intimidating,” she said. “Seeing these places up close refreshed my interest in them and boosted my confidence, because I realized I could really see myself there.”

The bustling newsrooms, filled with people going about work that makes a difference, was an exciting part of the trip, Weber said.

“Visiting such epicenters of business journalism was a thrill for us all,” he said. “This field is one of the healthiest corners of our industry now and the trip underscored how important, interesting and fun it can be.”

Weber thanked the college, particularly Interim Dean Amy Struthers, for supporting the visit. He also thanked officials at the media outlets and SABEW for making it a rich and intriguing trip.