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Questions and answers about Cronkite’s online graduate certificate in business journalism

Business Journalism Certificate Program Q&A

Starting in August 2014, Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication will offer the first online graduate certificate in business journalism through its Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the certificate.

To apply, visit bizjournalism.asu.edu.

  • What is the graduate certificate in business journalism? This 15 credit-hour program consists of five courses in business journalism and is taught fully online by the nationally recognized faculty and staff of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.  It is the only online graduate certificate program in business journalism in the United States. Information about the program is at bizjournalism.asu.edu.
  • Why the Cronkite School? The Cronkite School is among the top journalism schools in the country and has deep expertise in business journalism. It is home to the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, which developed and administers the certificate program, as well as the home of the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
  • What is the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism? Since 2003, the Reynolds Centerhas offered training in business journalism to more than 20,000 professional journalists globally via workshops and webinars.


    Arizona State University
    Online Graduate Certificate:
    Business Journalism

    Questions and answers
    about the certificate
    Why you should consider
    the certificate program

    Email Cassandra Nicholson
    or call 602-496-9189.

    Apply here

    It also operates the world’s premier website for journalists seeking to cover business better: BusinessJournalism.org. The center has been based at the Cronkite School since 2006 and is funded by generous grants from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it has committed more than $145 million nationwide through its Journalism Program.

  • What will I learn? You’ll learn best practices in covering companies, markets and the economy. And you’ll emerge better equipped to find compelling business stories, analyze financial and economic data, and investigate business leaders and operations. Even if your beat isn’t business, you’ll gain a thorough understanding of how money drives decisions in government, politics, the arts, sports and other areas.
  • Whom is the program for? The certificate program is designed for students and professional journalists who want to be better prepared to cover business and the economy.
  • Why business journalism? Demand for business journalists continues to be strong, and salary levels remain healthy. GorkanaJobs.com, a website that specializes in job postings for business journalists, regularly lists more than 100 openings each week in both the United States and in the United Kingdom. Demand for business journalists is expected to grow as the global middle class – the primary consumers of business news – almost triples to 5 billion consumers by 2030.
  •  Who will teach the classes? Classes will be taught by Cronkite’s award-winning faculty, including Andrew Leckey, former syndicated investment columnist and CNBC anchor, who holds the Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism at the Cronkite School; and Steve Doig, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who is an internationally known data journalism expert. Other classes will be taught by the staff of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, which has extensive experience training business journalists around the world.
  •  What five courses are required for the certificate?
  1. Issues in Coverage of Business and the Economy. Understanding from a journalist’s perspective the financial markets, economics, company statements, banking, credit markets, real estate and global competition, emphasizing significant issues and differences in coverage.
  2. Special Topics: Critical Analysis of Business Journalism. Understanding the process of researching and reporting basic business news stories, including utilizing social media and social strategy. Identifying the key elements of stories on a public company, a small business, a consumer issue, an earnings report, court records, demographic information, a CEO interview, financial statements, a nonprofit, an IPO and a merger.
  3. Better Business Storytelling. Identifying ideas, cultivating sources, gathering scenes and sensory detail to construct narratives, finding real people, interviewing, reporting stories for multiple platforms, writing short and fast.
  4. Data in Business Journalism. Using Excel to analyze public databases; using ratios to understand financial statements and Form 990s; localizing economic indicators; researching stocks, bonds, derivatives, currencies and commodities; creating simple data visualizations.
  5. Investigative Business Journalism. Identifying and researching an investigative business story, using public records, including SEC documents, and databases. Cultivating sources and getting people to talk to you. Organizing and bulletproofing your story. Producing a detailed pitch memo for an investigative business story.
  •  When will courses be offered? Each course is offered twice during an academic year. Please see Arizona State University’s upcoming academic calendars for planned start dates for these terms. The first course – Issues in the Coverage of Business and the Economy — will be offered in Fall A 2014.
Number Title Instructor Title Terms offered
MCO 550 Issues in the Coverage of Business and the Economy Andrew Leckey Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism, president of the Reynolds Center and former Fulbright Scholar Fall A, Spring A
MCO 598 Special Topics: Critical Analysis of Business Journalism Robin J. Phillips Digital director of the Reynolds Center, nationally known social-media strategy trainer and a former editor at BusinessWeek Online Fall B, Spring B
MCO 551 Better Business Storytelling To be announced   Spring A, Summer A
MCO 552 Data in Business Journalism Steve Doig Knight Chair in Journalism, internationally known expert in data journalism, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk Award, and former Fulbright Scholar Spring B, Summer B
MCO 554 Investigative Business Journalism To be announced   Summer A, Fall A
  •  How long will it take me to complete the certificate? Each course lasts 7.5 weeks during the school year and six weeks in the summer. The five-course certificate can be completed within six months. You may take the courses in any order, but we recommend beginning with Issues in the Coverage of Business and the Economy.
  •  Do I have to take all the courses in the certificate program? You do to earn the certificate, but you can choose to take individual courses outside the certificate program.
  •  Can credit hours earned in the certificate program count toward completion of an on-the-ground master’s degree at Cronkite? Students interested in pursuing a master’s degree through the Cronkite School should email Cronkiteinfo@asu.edu or call 602.496.5555 for more information.
  • What are the requirements for admission? Applicants must meet the admissions requirements for graduate education at Arizona State University. The GRE is not required, but the following are required:
  1.  A bachelor’s degree:  While the bachelor’s degree can be in any subject, courses in the certificate program presume an understanding of the basics of journalism obtained either through undergraduate study or professional experience.
  2. Grade point average (GPA): Minimum of a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (scale is 4.0=A) in the last 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of a student’s bachelor’s degree program. Applicants must submit official transcripts of all college-level work.
  3. English Proficiency Requirement for International Applicants: International students must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and have a score of at least 100 on the Internet-based test (iBT). Students can have their scores submitted to ASU and the Cronkite School by using institution code 4007.
  4. An application fee, which is currently $70 for U.S. applicants and $90 for international students.

For more information on how to apply for graduate admission, go to https://students.asu.edu/graduate/apply

  • What are the deadlines for applications to the certificate program? They are usually about three weeks before classes start.
For admission to: Classes start Submit application by:
Fall A 2014 Aug. 21, 2014 July 31, 2014
Fall B 2014 Oct. 15, 2014 Sept. 24, 2014
Spring A 2015 Jan. 12, 2015 Dec. 22, 2014
Spring B 2015 TBD, usually mid-March Feb. 23, 2015
Summer A 2015 TBD, usually mid-May April 27, 2015
Summer B 2015 TBD, usually early July June 11, 2015


  • Once I start the program, what do I have to do to remain in good academic standing? You must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 while earning at least six credit hours per academic year.
  • Whom at the Cronkite School can I talk to for more information? Call Cassandra Nicholson at the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at 602.496.9189 or email cassandra.nicholson@businessjournalism.org.

In 2014, ASU Biz Journalism, Basics, Career tips.

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