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Business journalism conference inspires students

This year, four eager business reporters (in training) headed west for the Society of American Business Writers and Editors (SABEW) conference in Phoenix, where we were graciously hosted by Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Over the course of the two-day conference, we met successful writers and editors from across the country. We ate lunch with Michael Lewis, acclaimed author of "Moneyball" and "The Blind Side," and discussed the evolution of business journalism with veterans from Quartz.com, The Wall Street Journal and many more.

As with any conference, SABEW had something to offer every journalist, with panels ranging from reporting on the marijuana industry to the future of the industry in the digital age.

For Shu Zhang, it was a breath of fresh air.

“I felt encouraged at SABEW when seeing so many mid-career journalists still passionate about high-quality reporting and writing,” she said.  “It convinced me again that journalism is not dying.”

One of the most popular panels among the Medill contingent was a lunch session dedicated to innovating in the field.

“They talked about how to report business stories in a creative and innovative way so that people find them approachable and are willing to read,” said Lingjiao Mo.

“Business stories don't have to be dry and number-oriented and it prompted me to think vigorously about some of the questions that I had never thought about."

For others, the conference meant a new definition for journalism altogether.

“The SABEW conference made me critically think about the definition of business reporting,” said Hayat Norimine. “It was the first time I realized that the possibilities for storytelling are limitless, that the only limits to business reporting are the boxes reporters placed themselves in. But as writers, it's our job to think of ways to expand those boxes or eliminate them altogether.”

The conference was the perfect way to reenergize the journalist in all of us, a way to see innovation and passion in action. The SABEW conference left us all thinking of ways we could bring more to the table both as students and reporters.