I have known Jim Ellis, the chief of correspondents at BusinessWeek, for more than a decade. When I was at the magazine, he was in the Chicago bureau, but he soon came to New York and was considered the heir apparent to Keith Felcyn, who was the chief of correspondents in the early 1990s. Jim’s job for the past decade has been to oversee all of the magazine’s bureaus.
When I came to UNC, Jim was one of the first people I contacted to join the business journalism advisory board. He has been a frequent visitor to Chapel Hill for our meetings, talking to students and engaging in the conversation about what they should be learning — and what I should be teaching them.
In addition, Jim has always arranged for a group of UNC business journalism students to visit BusinessWeek’s offices in New York during spring break, graciously spending time with them explaining the process of how the magazine is put together. When he wasn’t available, he always made sure other editors were there to talk to the students.
Part of the reason that Jim came to Chapel Hill for the meetings was to spend time with one of his sons, who was a student here and later lived in the area. That showed me how close he was with his kids.
That’s why it hurts to read in the Washington Post today that another one of his sons, David, who was a student at the University of Maryland, died in an apartment fire earlier this week. I am saddened by the loss and by the pain that I know Jim is experiencing.