During a time of financial crisis, the need for business reporters who can explain what’s happening is more important than ever.
That fact hit home for Bill Hennigan when he began considering a specialty within the field of journalism. He discussed career opportunities in business journalism with Andrew Leckey, Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism, and landed a 2009 summer internship writing business news for the Los Angeles Times.
Before the summer was over, Hennigan, who graduated in winter 2008, was hired as a full-time business reporter for the Times, one of the nation’s largest newspapers.
“If other reporting is checkers, then business reporting is chess,” Hennigan said of his choice. “It is fulfilling and a cut above any other reporting because rather than having to rely on anecdotal information you have hard evidence such as databases and statistics. Once you have the confidence to sit down with the subject matter, you can see there is no need to fear numbers and that this beat will come as easy to you as any other.”
The Cronkite School’s specialization in Business Journalism helps students like Hennigan prepare for careers covering business and economics in print, broadcast, online and multimedia. Students are trained to become sophisticated business journalists, able to cover the fast-paced, ever-changing world of money and to become leaders in the field of business journalism.
The program combines a thorough understanding of business and economic principles with practical journalism coursework and professional internships. It places particular emphasis on new financial instruments and the changing regulatory environment. Students take their journalism and business journalism courses in the Cronkite School and related courses in ASU’s prestigious W.P. Carey School of Business.
The Cronkite training takes place in America’s most technologically advanced journalism education facility, which also houses the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, the nation’s premier provider of continuing education and support to the nation’s business journalists.
Students in the program are placed in summer internships at a variety of national media, including CNBC, Fortune magazine, Thomson Reuters, MarketWatch.com, Phoenix Business Journal and The Arizona Republic. Additional intern hosts have included the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, The Boston Globe, The Oregonian and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Students in the Business Journalism specialization also have the opportunity to participate in a 14-day, for-credit trip to a major world financial center during winter break or immediately following the academic year.
In addition to course requirements for a degree in the Cronkite School, undergraduate students are required to take the following Business Journalism courses:
JMC 494 Issues in Coverage of Business and the Economy (3 hours).
This seminar focuses on the critical study of business and economic coverage in all media with emphasis on quality, clarity and differences. Students will be assigned specific companies and economic issues to follow throughout the semester and will work on a final project appropriate to their personal journalism career goals. From balance sheets to regulation to business personalities, the course will help students set their own professional parameters for coverage and learn effective ways to communicate complex topics effectively.
JMC 494 Reporting on Business and the Economy (3 hours).
In this vigorous, hands-on course, students will pursue deadline stories dealing with significant business and economic stories both local and national in nature. Outlets for presenting student work include the BusinessJournalism.org Web site as well as numerous news organizations. Clear, elegant presentation of complex financial topics will be the goal of the course, which will include a final project in the student’s chosen medium. The course will prepare prospective business journalists for their internships and first jobs.
Four related business and economics courses selected from the W.P. Carey School are required. Choices include:
ACC 382 Accounting and Financial Analysis; ECN 382 Managerial Economics; FIN 380 Personal Financial Management; MGT 380 Management and Strategy for Non-Majors; and REA 380 Real Estate Fundamentals.