Business journalists optimistic about journalism's future

June 25, 2010

Almost two-thirds of business journalists report that the amount of business coverage at their organization has stayed the same or increased in the past five years, according to a new ASU survey commissioned by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.

The Business Journalists Study 2010 is a groundbreaking survey of 473 business reporters and editors nationwide. Download Full Image

“We talked with hundreds of print, online, wire, broadcast and freelance business journalists, and they expressed optimism about the future of journalism,” said Andrew Leckey, Reynolds Center president and Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

“I found a shocking amount of optimism, grit and determination in those findings,” said professor Tim McGuire, who retired in 2002 as editor of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. McGuire is the Frank Russell Chair for the Business of Journalism at ASU’s Cronkite School.

“I am convinced the Reynolds study is a seminal piece of work that should make the obituary writers for journalism pause and seriously reflect,” McGuire said.

Specifically, McGuire was surprised that almost a third reported an increase in pay over the past two years and that seven out of 10 business journalists say they are more or just as satisfied with their jobs as they were five years ago. Almost three-fourths plan to stay in journalism for the next five years.

McGuire goes into detail in a post on his blog, McGuire">">McGuire on Media, explaining why this survey is significant to journalism.

“What’s striking in the results is how much more negatively print journalists have been impacted compared with those from other media,” said Linda Austin, executive director of the Reynolds Center. Of the respondents, 139 came from wire services, 135 from print, 88 from broadcast, 67 from freelancing and 44 from online. At almost every experience level, print journalists made less money.

Overall, almost half say they have fewer opportunities for training.

“I would urge them to check out the free regional workshops and online training offered by the Reynolds Center at">">Busine...,” Austin said.

Respondents averaged 20 years in journalism and 12.8 years as business journalists. They report many changes in their jobs in the past five years:

• Six out of 10 are doing more or about the same level of investigative journalism.
• Nine out of 10 have learned new skills.
• Three-fourths say their workload has increased and they use social media.
• About half blog, file first for the web and cover more beats.

Business Journalists Study 2010 was conducted by the Behavior Research Center Inc. in Phoenix. The phone survey between April 19 and May 6 has a margin of error of +/-4.6 percent.

The Reynolds">"... Center is based at ASU. It is funded by the Donald">">Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.

More than 10,000 journalists have benefited from the Reynolds Center’s free training since 2003. The center’s mission is to help journalists cover business better.

For more information about this report,">e-mail Linda Austin, Reynolds Center executive director, or call 602-496-9187.

By Robin J. Phillips

Honoring a leading light in ASU research

June 28, 2010

The John Wheatley Education and Outreach Room was recently dedicated at Arizona State University’s LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science.

Wheatley managed the center’s John M. Cowley Center for High Resolution Electron Microscopy lab for 25 years before his death in 2005. He was responsible for operations of what is one of the nation’s largest collections of electron microscopes. He is credited by colleagues for his contributions to making it one of the leading electron microscopy facilities in the world. Download Full Image

Electron microscopy can be used to observe matter at the atomic level, making it possible to identify the fundamental nature of even a single atom. It is an essential tool for advanced scientific and engineering research and for technology development by industry.

The Wheatley Room will be used for Science is Fun, an education outreach program for middle school and high school students, as well as for training and education of university students, for teachers from K-12 schools and colleges, and for use by university faculty and industry researchers.

Wheatley “was internationally acknowledged for his technical knowledge, but also for his willingness to share that knowledge,” said Nathan Newman, director of the LeRoy Eyring Center in ASU’s College">">College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and a professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of ASU’s Ira">">Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“He enthusiastically gave tours of the microscopy center to everyone from school children to visiting dignitaries,” Newman said.

Eyring Center professor and researcher Ray Carpenter said Wheatley established a tradition of excellence through his day-to-day management of the lab.

“Electron microscopes are complex electromechanical instruments that require constant attention and care to operate at peak performance levels. John Wheatley was remarkably successful at this task,” Carpenter said.

The lab’s history of success under Wheatley’s watch, he said, was a significant factor in gaining support from the National Science Foundation in recent years for the center to acquire state-of-the-art aberration-corrected electron microscopes, due to be installed in 2011.

Eyring Center researcher David Wright said many scientists and engineers have Wheatley to thank for their success in microscopy.

Wheatley was Wright’s supervisor on the use of the lab’s focused-beam ion etching and deposition tool in high-resolution microscopy. [See]


“He taught me how to think about the best ways to make use of electron microscopes, and to balance my time between work in the materials science and engineering facility and the microscopy center,” Wright said.

“He was always cheerful, thoughtful, generous and devoted to helping others,” he said. “I could not have succeeded without John’s steadfast support.”

Sumio Iijima, a former ASU researcher and the 2008">">2008 recipient of the first-ever Kavli Prize in Nanoscience, named Wheatley as “the best lab technician” at ASU during the 12 years (1970-1982) they worked together – a span that Iijima noted was “a golden time” in his research career.

For all those reasons, Wheatley’s colleagues said, the dedication of the Wheatley Room is significant not only for ASU researchers but for members of the microscopy community throughout the country and around the world.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering