By Dylan Baumann
Business Journalism Conference 2010
Humboldt State University Senior journalism major and staff writer for Times-Standard, Matt Drange, bit into an urban farmed apple at the Brooklyn farmers market and said it was the best apple he’d ever tasted. Drange, Kevin Bunch and I enjoyed the sweet taste of the “big apple” during our visit for the 2010 Collegiate Business Journalism Conference at the City University of New York (CUNY) that took place Oct. 21-23.
Before the conference began we met with instructor Marcy Burstiner who set up exclusive tours for us at Associated Press, New York Times and AOL. AP’s Digital News Designer Sean McDade is a long time friend of Mrs. Burstiner and he led us through the newsroom. We sat in on AP’s morning news editorial meeting where we heard about the top news topics for the day before they were published. It was a great experience to see how the AP newsroom worked and it was comforting to see that they worked in similar ways as the journalism students at HSU; one person was scrambling at the last minute to pitch a story to her editor, one was doodling before her turn to speak and another cracked a joke about munchies after a top story video was played that showed 134 tons of marijuana being burned in Mexico.
Sports Page Designer at New York Times, Ben Hoffman, greeted us in the lobby and took us on an extensive tour of the building. Highlights of the tour included discovering that Hoffman is an HSU alumnus and has a NorCal sticker at his desk, examining all the Pulitzer Prizes that the Times has won over the years, learning about how the staff works differently than other newspapers, hearing stories about people getting arrested for climbing the building and lastly, Mrs. Burstiner treating us to a gourmet lunch at the newspaper’s incredibly decadent buffet style restaurant that featured an endless selection of gourmet dishes.
At AOL we met with Mrs. Burstiner’s friend Buck Wolfe. He specializes in weird and fun news and his desk was covered in toys and goofy gadgets. The inside of the AOL building was colorful and artistic looking. We learned that AOL has lots of money to work with and they’re exploring many new ideas to bring up ratings.
The Collegiate Business Journalism Conference began at CUNY immediately after we checked into our luxurious rooms at the Marriott. The doorman had a bachelors degree in journalism; I plan on using my journalism credentials when I graduate. The pillow top of the mattress was thicker than my entire floor futon that I sleep on in Humboldt. I danced in the elevator to the song by Alicia Keys and Jay-Z called New York:
“In new york, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, There’s nothing you can’t do, now your in New York, these streets will make you feel brand new, these lights will inspire you, lets hear it for New York, New York, New Yor ork!” In case you were wondering, our hotel featured roughly 40 floors!
The first speaker of the night was Allan Sloan, the senior editor for Fortune magazine. He gave a lecture on entrepreneurial journalism and his success with it. He talked about “What Washington isn’t telling us about the economy,” his latest article published in the magazine. He answered questions about business journalism and talked about how happy he was that he paid for his kids to go to college.
On Friday morning, we met in the News Corp building and toured the new Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires, Barron’s and MarketWatch newsrooms. The building had overwhelming amounts of news and computer screens. The workers were all jacked up on coffee, and it was the fastest paced newsroom that we visited on our trip. Our tour guide emphasized that in the world of stock exchanges timing is crucial and that investors paid thousands of dollars to have memberships so that they could receive news feeds before anyone else. Some investors even paid extra to have their portals on site so that they wouldn’t risk any time delays because for them every millisecond matters.
Next, we went to CUNY and a panel of recent college graduates working in business journalism introduced themselves and answered questions. The next panels were internship coordinators that gave us tips on how to apply for jobs. After lunch there was a discussion about deciding on a first job and interviews for internships began. The interviews were great learning experiences for all three of us, and we had the opportunity to try and sell ourselves to some of the best business publications in the world: Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones, Reuters, Business Insider, American City Business Journals, AP and more! Friday’s conference finished with a panel discussing the topic of new entrants in Business Journalism. In the evening all of us journalism students were treated to an Italian dinner at Trattoria Trecolori.
The conference ended on Saturday with discussions on business reporting for broadcast, finding stories in SEC filings, local business reporting and finding information about private companies. We were honored to have the opportunity to attend the conference and learned lots. Besides the conference, the highlights of the trip for me were spending leisure time visiting some of the famous New York attractions, witnessing crazy city people commit random acts on the streets and subways, touring Columbia College’s J school, developing relationships with other journalism students, visiting all the awesome newsrooms, learning how to navigate through New York by myself on the subways and too many good things to list. This trip was an all around success!
Thank you Sean McDade, Marcy Burstiner, Ben Hoffman, Buck Wolfe, everyone at the conference that taught us valuable information, Matt Drange, Kevin Bunch, journalism peers from other schools, airplane pilots and everyone that contributed to the epic journalism trip.