Media Moves

McGraw Center to focus on long-form, in-depth stories

February 2, 2014

Posted by Michael Leibel

Jane Sasseen’s investigative business and economic stories have been featured in publications such as BusinessWeek and Yahoo News.

At her newest job, she’ll help journalists write their own long-form business pieces.

Sasseen became the executive director of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Center for Business Journalism at City University of New York three weeks ago. The Center, financed by a $3 million grant from the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation, will commission long-form stories from experienced reporters, filling a void in business journalism education across the country, Sasseen said.

“There are a fair number of media foundations that give grants for longer projects that geared towards investigative reporting in agriculture, social justice and health care,” Sasseen said, “but there aren’t very many that are devoted to business and economics and better understanding the economy, which is our goal.”

In addition to overseeing the McGraw Center, Sasseen will review and select reporting projects to receive funding.

Long-form business journalism is important because people need in-depth stories to understand increasingly complex business and economics topics, Sasseen said.

“There is an enormous amount of good journalism that is day-to-day,” Sasseen said, “but it’s important for freelance journalists or journalists at publications to have the time and resources to create a longer, in-depth story.”

The goal of the McGraw Center is to support business journalism by funding these long-form stories that many business news organizations cannot afford to create on their own, Sasseen said. The Center will pay its fellows a stipend for three to six months of work, and the finished story will be featured on the school’s website or published with a partner news outlet.

“At the end [when a story is finished], we’d like to be able to go to a publication and say, ‘We’ve got a completed project for you’,” Sasseen said, “‘we’ve got a completed, ready-to-go story for you if you’re interested.’”

The McGraw Center will also award scholarships to students enrolled in the business and economics reporting concentration at CUNY’s journalism school. In addition, the Center will give stipends to students who take summer internships at business news publications.

The McGraw Center is currently creating a website and application form for journalists to submit their stories. Those interested in applying do not have to attend CUNY’s graduate program. Though the application is not ready, Sasseen said she is always interested in hearing great project ideas.

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