By Jamar Younger
Jeffrey Timmermans, an accomplished business journalist and educator, has been named the Reynolds Chair in Business Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Timmermans will direct Cronkite’s Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, which works with journalists around the world to improve the quality of coverage of business and the economy, as well as teach business journalism courses.
As head of the Reynolds Center and an endowed chair, he will develop strategies to advance business journalism in the digital age, build partnerships across the university and industry, and expand training programs for business journalists domestically and abroad.
“I’ve been using Reynolds Center’s materials in my teaching for years, so it’s a tremendous honor to take on this new role,” Timmermans said. “Business and financial news impacts all of us, and business journalists today face a daunting task in helping readers and viewers make sense of it all. The Reynolds Center will continue to be at the forefront of that effort – globally.”
Timmermans currently is associate professor of practice and director of the undergraduate journalism program at the University of Hong Kong, where he teaches economics and business and financial journalism courses for both graduate and undergraduate students.
He has more than a decade of professional experience as a business journalist in the U.S. and Asia. He covered the finance and banking industries for many years, serving as the Tokyo correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, correspondent for the AP-Dow Jones News Service in Tokyo, and correspondent for the International Financing Review in Hong Kong. He also served as senior correspondent and Hong Kong bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires.
In 2000, Dow Jones Newswires/The Wall Street Journal named Timmermans news editor with responsibility for overseeing equities coverage for the Asia-Pacific region. He was subsequently named managing editor, holding that position until he left in 2007 to become associate director for public relations at Bain & Company, one of the world’s top business consulting firms, where he was responsible for leading and implementing the company’s public relations strategy in Asia.
Timmermans began his journalism career in 1991 as deputy editor of The Gunma Commerce Journal in Japan, where he helped produce the monthly Japanese-language newspaper and was the first non-Japanese employee to work at the publication.
In addition to his faculty position at the University of Hong Kong, Timmermans founded and operates Backslash Media Ltd., an independent Hong Kong-based media consulting firm that provides media training and other services for multinational clients.
“Jeffrey brings to the Reynolds Center deep expertise in business journalism, international experience and an understanding of what business journalists need to do their jobs well,” said Interim Dean Kristin Gilger. “On top of all that, he brings a real passion for teaching the next generation of business journalists.”
The Reynolds Center has provided training to tens of thousands of journalists and educators since it was established in 2003 by former CNBC television anchor and reporter Andrew Leckey at the American Press Institute in Virginia. It was moved to the Cronkite School three years later with permanent funding from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.
In addition to providing in-person training in the U.S. and abroad, the center offers a range of resources for business journalists at businessjournalism.org and works with other journalism schools to promote the teaching of business journalism.
As director, Timmermans also will oversee the national Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism, which recognizes the best business reporting each year, place Cronkite students in business journalism internships, and teach in the school’s specialization for students interested in pursuing business journalism careers.
Timmermans earned his Ph.D. from the University of Hong Kong in 2016. He also holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York, and a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University, also in New York.