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Business Journalism Association Moving to Cronkite School

April 27, 2009

The Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the world’s leading association of financial journalists with 3,300 members, is moving its national headquarters to Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix.

“The Cronkite School will be a fresh, dynamic new home for SABEW as it launches more aggressively into helping our members become better business journalists,” said SABEW President Bernie Kohn, investigations editor at The Baltimore Sun. “We were impressed by the quality of the facilities at the Cronkite School and the accessibility of Phoenix to most of the national and international markets.”

SABEW, created in 1964 to promote high quality business and economics coverage, has been located at the University of Missouri School of Journalism since 1984. The society sponsors an annual convention and specialized reporting conferences and confers the annual “Best in Business” awards for excellence in business journalism.

SABEW will join other major business journalism resources at the Cronkite School. In 2006 the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism moved to Cronkite. Last year the school created the Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism, and later this year Cronkite is launching business journalism specializations on the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Reynolds Center, Reynolds Chair and business journalism curricula are supported by generous grants from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation of Las Vegas.

“It is a great honor that SABEW chose to come to Arizona State and the Cronkite School,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “The addition of SABEW – along with our Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, our new Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism and our new specializations in business journalism – makes the Cronkite School the worldwide center of business journalism education and training.”

The Reynolds Center has worked closely with SABEW under the leadership of Andrew Leckey, the founding director of the center who is now the center’s president and the school’s inaugural Reynolds Endowed Chair.

“The Reynolds Center’s goal of improving the quality of American business journalism through training fits well with SABEW’s mission and ideals,” Leckey said. “As a SABEW member myself, I welcome the organization to this state-of-the-art facility that will help all journalists tackle the present and future issues of business.”

Kohn said the proximity to the Reynolds Center will offer SABEW “exciting possibilities for partnerships in training of journalists at levels ranging from undergraduate students to veteran professionals.”

At Cronkite, SABEW will have access to a world-class journalism faculty that includes Leckey, a syndicated business columnist for the Chicago Tribune; Linda Austin, former executive editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader and the incoming Reynolds Center director; Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of the Washington Post and the school’s Weil Family Professor of Journalism; Tim McGuire, former editor of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the Frank Russell Chair in the Business of Journalism; former CNN anchor Aaron Brown, who serves as the Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism; Carnegie Professor Rick Rodriguez, the former executive editor of the Sacramento Bee; and digital media leaders Jody Brannon, Dan Gillmor and Retha Hill.

The Cronkite School also is home to the Carnegie-Knight News21 Journalism Initiative, the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, Cronkite News Service, the New Media Innovation Lab and other full-immersion programs focused on the future of journalism.

Callahan said SABEW was drawn in part by location – in the heart of the nation’s fifth-largest city and one of its most vibrant, with easy access to a major airport. “The SABEW move is a testament to the city’s growth and creativity under the leadership of Mayor Phil Gordon and the City Council,” Callahan said.

SABEW will be housed in the new Cronkite building, a state-of-the-art, $71 million journalism education complex that was completed last year as part of a unique partnership between the city and ASU to create a new downtown Phoenix campus.

SABEW weighed proposals to remain at the University of Missouri or to move to ASU or the University of North Carolina. The executive board voted 4-2 to move to ASU, and the board of directors supported the move 13-3. The association’s membership voted 33-29 at its annual meeting in Denver this week to approve the move to ASU.

The move to Phoenix is expected later this year. Next year’s annual SABEW conference will be hosted by the Cronkite School.