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November 10, 2016

Students Attend Society of American Business Editors and Writers Conference

Students in the Financial Communications course, a joint effort of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and the College of Business Administration, took in the sites in New York City and deepened their knowledge about business and financial journalism and investor relations in a trip to the fall 2016 conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers on Oct. 6 and 7.

The students heard from Ed Bastian, chief executive of Delta Air Lines, and Sallie Krawcheck, the former head of Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney who now runs Ellevest, a digital financial advisory firm for women. Other speakers at the SABEW meeting included top editors at Business Insider, CNBC Business News, Inc. magazine, Gannett, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Buzzfeed News and the New York Times, as well as professors at Harvard Law School and Brooklyn College, and researchers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research.

“Sallie Krawcheck was very impressive,” said Riley Linder, who is pursuing a master’s degree in public accountancy. “Most of the time I hear about pay inequality between men and women. I have never considered the difference in the number of men and women who invest in the stock market. This approach of empowering women through financial education and ability to invest more in the stocks could help close the gender gap by providing women with more independence and future financial resources.”

Topics at the session ranged from the power of women in investing to reshaping coverage for the mobile/social/video world and covering the 2016 presidential election to the economic impact of Brexit, as well as using social media for news gathering, and data visualization in business journalism.

At a special “speed networking” session, the students were able to chat with senior staffers at organizations including Quartz, CBS MoneyWatch, The Associated Press, NPR, S&P Global Market Intelligence, The New York Times, Reuters News, The Wall Street Journal, Bankrate, American City Business Journals, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Gannett, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, U.S. News & World Report and Financial Times.

“I had the opportunity to see the city I’d love to work in someday, and I was able to network with top professionals in business journalism,” said journalism major Natasha Rausch. “Learning about this job field in class helped me to have an even greater appreciation for the real-life experiences I heard about from the professionals who attended the conference.”

Outside the conference meeting area, which was in the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism near Times Square, the students taxied to the city’s east side to tour the headquarters of Bloomberg L.P., one of the world’s foremost global news and business-information companies. They met there with internship officials who advised them about opportunities at the company.

“Before this conference, I severely underestimated all the work it takes to release news and the number of platforms, such as social media, TV, and articles, that journalists use to get news out there in a timely fashion,” said Linder. “After seeing the number of people that work at Bloomberg, it became apparent how large the news industry is.”

Advertising/Public Relations major Matthew Knapp was similarly impressed.

"Our trip to New York provided me with a tremendous amount of industry insight that I would have otherwise never received,” said Knapp. “I feel more prepared to enter the world of finance and I have some new connections to help me do it."

Organized by Associate Professor Joseph Weber, the trip capped an eight-week intensive course in Financial Communications that CoJMC and CBA offered early this fall as part of a specialization in financial communications the schools are developing. The trip was funded chiefly through the generosity of the Huse family, which endowed the Jerry and Karla Huse professorship Weber holds at CoJMC.

“The students and I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Huse family, which made the trip possible,” said Weber. “Our thanks go, too, to the administrators and faculty of both colleges who see the value of business journalism and investor relations, fields that both our schools can serve well.”

The students who took the trip included Kristen Harvey, Dakota Magrew, and Linder, all of whom are pursuing Master of Professional Accountancy degrees, as well as Knapp and Rausch.