Q&A Advice

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1. What should I expect in my first business journalism job?

It all depends on where you’re working. A business reporter for a smaller paper might cover a variety of topics, including dinners held by the local Chamber of Commerce. Business reporters in bureaus for larger papers are expected to find stories on their own -- few cover publicly traded companies. Enterprising business reporters who write and report business stories that have previously not been covered will move up quickly.

2. What will the competency level be of my editor and fellow reporters?

Unfortunately, you may run into a situation where your editor has come from another desk in the newsroom and knows little about covering business news. The same may be the situation with business reporters. In some cases, other reporters covering business may also be covering beats such as government and education, which they focus more time and effort on. Look at this as an opportunity. If you’re the only one who likes business news, it will be easier to carve out a niche and make a name for yourself in the newsroom.

3. How do I keep learning about business?

Look for online training programs that you can work on at night or on weekends. Read the best business journalism out there -- The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, BusinessWeek and the New York Times business section. See if your newspaper will pay for you to attend business journalism training opportunities offered by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

To ask a question about business journalism, send an e-mail to croush@email.unc.edu. Specify in the e-mail whether your name can be used.