By Josh Dawsey
Business journalism sometimes gets a bad rap.
It’s just sifting through earnings reports, re-writing press releases and looking for tucked away newsy nuggets companies would prefer not to disclose, according to some. Fellow students have said business journalism is too boring and too complex. It is certainly complex, but it is in no way boring.
Becoming a business journalist is alluring to me for a litany of reasons. Most importantly, you have to understand business to understand the world. Having a firm grasp on why companies and people do what they do — and it’s often the pursuit of more profits or prestige — helps you cover politics, county government, sports, entertainment, media and everything else.
The role of any good journalist is to be a watchdog, to hold truth to power. This is all the more important in business journalism, where sneaky companies will try to bamboozle their way out of accountability measures.
A top business journalist can highlight the missteps, call out companies for unethical behavior and send top executives to the unemployment line or jail. Inspiring journalists such as David Cay Johnston and Diana Henriques demonstrate why this country needs heavy-hitting business journalists.
On a somewhat selfish note, there will always be abundant jobs in business journalism. Those in the business community will always need trusty, smart and dependable journalists to make sense of the world, even if the rest of our industry seems to balance on a flimsy diving board above a deep pool filled with alligators.
Many of my thoughts on business journalism were undeveloped before I was honored with the David J. Morrow scholarship one year ago. Winning this award was one of the best experiences of my time at the University of South Carolina.
Not only did I meet some of the world's top business journalists, I learned a great ton about how these folks carved a career path. And spending time with the Morrow family, who sponsored this scholarship and attended SABEW's annual conference, was doubly special.
There is no doubt this award has changed my career trajectory and leaves me as a journalist better positioned to succeed in a rocky industry.
Dawsey is a journalism student at the University of South Carolina and the original recipient of the David Morrow Scholarship. He attended the SABEW conference last month.