OLD Media Moves

Expanding SABEW membership?

November 2, 2005

One of the things that I have been wondering about in relation to the Society of American Business Editors and Writers is how to keep this fine organization growing. And it seems as if SABEW has yet to tap the vast potential of membership within business-related magazines and with the weekly business newspapers that are in most metropolitan markets.

It seems as if the last people on the SABEW board that were part of either of these sectors were Mark Calvey and Sougata Mukherjee, both of whom represented weekly business newspapers. I’ve had discussions with Sougata about this issue because I’m worried that the organization is becoming dominated by the daily newspapers, particularly the daily newspapers in the big metropolitan cities.

And as far as the magazines go, we have virtually no membership from Fortune, Forbes, BusinessWeek, Money, Smart Money and the others in the field. Are we — current SABEW members — beneath them? Or are they beneath us? When I worked at BusinessWeek, I don’t remember any discussion of SABEW involvement. Maybe that’s because a lot of the New York-based business writers belong to the New York Financial Writers Association.

I’ve only been a SABEW member off and on for the past 15 years, and I’ve only started attending the conventions and meetings in the past five years, so I don’t know if there is some sort of historical reason for the lack of interest in SABEW from these areas of business journalism.

I wonder if we could draw more interest from these areas if the Best in Business contest was expanded to include categories specifically tailored to business journalism published in weekly newspapers and in the magazines. Having judged it for two of the last three years, the contest is already stretching the capabilities of the organization, but I think taking such a step would help make SABEW more of an all-inclusive business journalism organization.

Just thinking out loud here.

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