SOURCE: The Society of American Business Editors and Writers

March 28, 2007 11:05 ET

SABEW Advocates for Business Journalism

COLUMBIA, MO -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 28, 2007 --


The Society of American Business Editors and Writers Today Distributed the Following Letter to Editors Attending the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) Conference in Washington:

Dear Newspaper Editor,

As you gather at your annual convention in Washington to discuss transforming the industry, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) -- an organization of 3,200 business reporters and editors, mainly at your newspapers -- asks for you to consider the importance of business coverage to your readers.

Recent research by Harvard University business school professor Gregory Miller published in the Journal of Accounting Research revealed that nearly one-third of the accounting improprieties uncovered at companies are first discovered by business journalists. That means the business press often scooped the SEC, Eliot Spitzer and Wall Street analysts.

In addition, Miller found that when a business story based on original research is published, the stock market reaction is "huge."

Miller's study concluded that business journalists "really do fulfill an important role, particularly in the business press. A lot of non-business press journalists don't always think as highly of the business press because it's been a trade press in the past. But the analytical skill set that's developed in the last fifteen or twenty years amongst business press journalists is amazing."

As business journalists, we realize better than anyone else in the newsroom that times are tough in the newspaper industry because we've been writing the stories about the companies in the business being sold or broken up. We've also written that hundreds of reporters and editors have been laid off or offered buyouts in an attempt to keep profits at previous levels.

We know the industry needs to adapt to maintain its relevance to readers. Some of the biggest changes in the industry have occurred within business sections, such as cutting stock listings, the combination of business and news desks, and placing more breaking business news on newspaper web sites.

But please consider the vital need for our free society and market economy to have a vigorous, independent and vibrant business press.

More than ever, business journalism serves an important role in our society. Everything these days revolves around money, including stories on other beats. No one is better equipped to report and write those stories than your business staffs.

We'd ask that you preserve the aggressive and hard-hitting coverage that your business news desk has provided by understanding their importance to the success of your paper and to your readers. Strong business coverage has, time and time again, proven to be a good thing for newspapers readers.

Thanks for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Dave Kansas
President, Society of American Business Editors and Writers
Since 1964, SABEW has operated as a not-for-profit organization made up of business journalists. Part of its mission is to upgrade the skills of its 3,200 members through continuous educational efforts.

SABEW is headquartered in Columbia, Mo., at the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri.

For more information about SABEW, contact Carrie Paden, SABEW's executive director, at 573-882-7862 or padenc@missouri.edu. Or visit the organization's Web site at http://www.sabew.org.

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