I spent Friday at the Graduate School of Journalism at Cal-Berkeley as part of a Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism workshop on business writing and got to spend some time with economist Brad DeLong and journalism professor Susan Rasky, who are team teaching a course in economics reporting this semester, to compare notes.
Here were my impressions:
1. Business journalism education around the country needs to train every student the significance of how data on the economy such as the GDP, unemployment and others impact the decisions made by the Federal Reserve. We don’t do enough of this.
2. Business journalists can only do so much in teaching the economy. We need economists to help teach students about how the economy behaves. That’s why I like what’s going on at Cal-Berkeley.
3. The basics of busines journalism education are prevalent in any part of the country, and it revolves around teaching students how to find information about companies the same way we teach them how to find information at the poice department, at city hall, at the board of education, etc.
The Reynolds Center workshop was one of the best I’ve participated in during the past three years. There was a packed house, and the writers asked so many questions that I wasn’t able to finish one of my presentations and never got to another because of all of the time we spent discussing what they wanted to talk about. In comparison, I’ve done some of these workshops where I’ve had time left over because of the lack of questions asked.