I’m leaving this morning to go to Columbia, S.C., where I’ll be meeting all day with a group of a dozen business reporters from across the state in a day-long seminar sponsored by the South Carolina Press Association.
I think I’m about to see a quality and a brand of business journalism that reporters at larger metro papers can’t fathom. I’ll be meeting with reporters from papers such as Walterboro Press and Standard, the Anderson Independent Mail, the Summerville Journal-Scene, the Sumter Item, the Hartsville Messenger and the Columbia Star. Some of these papers are weeklies, and I’ve never seen them, so I don’t even know if they have a separate business page or what kind of coverage they provide.
I kind of get a gut feeling that I’m going to be mentioning stuff to these reporters later today such as SEC filings and incorporation records, and I’m going to find that a lot of the reporters have never heard of these documents or have never used them in their reporting. That’s not to denigrate the reporting at these papers; it’s just that when most in the field of business journalism think about reporting tactics and public records, that’s what they think about. However, there’s a different brand of business journalism practiced at the very small papers, and for their readers, I wonder if they’re providing just as good information as the bigger papers.
These papers are not SABEW members — they probably have never heard of SABEW. But it’s probably these papers who need SABEW’s help the most when it comes to education and training. What more could we do to get them involved in the organization?