JRN350: Reporting on Business

Reporting on Business students now know their way around SEC filings and IRS form 990s. (Missing: Alex Malasavage.)
Reporting on Business students now know their way around SEC filings and IRS form 990s. (Missing: Alex Malasavage and Althea Perley.)

When I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in December of 1983, my first job offer came from the Fort Collins Coloradoan. The paper had two openings: police reporter and business reporter. I was offered the latter, and stayed on business desks for most of my newspaper years.I’m not sure why the hiring editors didn’t consider me police beat material – maybe it was the suit I wore for the interview? – but I do know that a few business courses on my transcript didn’t hurt. With classes in marketing, management and accounting (and a saavy salesman for a father), I was just knowledgeable enough not to embarrass myself or my employer on that first assignment.

As I wrap up my fourth business reporting class at Miami, I am hoping a few of the 18 students in my fall 2014 Reporting on Business course might feel the same and gravitate to business journalism.

Over 15 weeks, they read and dissected one of the better texts about business journalism (“Show Me The Money,” by Chris Roush), along with daily coverage in the Wall Street Journal. They spent considerable time learning about Procter & Gamble Co., one of Cincinnati’s most prominent Fortune 500 firms, by reading corporate documents and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and then covering the annual shareholders meeting in Cincinnati. They also learned how to write about small business: public radio star Alex Blumberg schooled them on start-ups as he launched his Start-Up podcast; later, they learned how to use government filings and IRS Form 990s to report on private firms and non-profit organizations. Near the end of the semester, they applied their knowledge about SEC documents to analyze large, public media firms. And they closed out the semester with a “Miami & Money” assignment, reporting on a self-selected aspect of Miami’s finances and assembling an info-graphic to accompany their story.

Those final “M&M” stories – covering such topics as tuition, state funding, debt, uptown spending, meal plan costs, parking and winter term expenses – are posted here, as links under their authors’ bios.

I can’t predict whether any members of the class will end up covering Main Street small businesses or P&G-sized corporate entities. But should they find themselves interviewing for a news organization with a business opening, they can, at minimum, say, “Yeah, I know that.”

 “Reporting on Business” students, Fall 2014:

IMG_6805Nick Bogner — Nick is a junior from Cincinnati with a  strategic communications major and minors in information systems analytics and computer science engineering, who has been interested in business and computers since high school. A member of Delta Upsilon fraternity, Nick loves working on his car, computer or motorcycle. He also loves traveling, and has been to more than 10 countries.

IMG_6808Edo Boldrini — Edo is a junior from Powell, Ohio, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications with minors in information systems and Italian. Last summer, he interned at Ashland Inc. where he conducted market research. He hopes to work in the automotive industry after college and wants to eventually own his own car dealership. Outside of school, his interests include traveling, cars, and playing soccer.

Maura Colwell IMG_6804–Maura is a junior from Westfield, N.J., majoring in strategic communication. Her interest in television grew last summer, when she had an opportunity to intern at ABC News. She learned how to coordinate a proposal, proofed and edited logs in the network release room, and provided and formatted spreadsheets. Maura hopes to become an anchor for a large TV network. When Maura is not reading up on current events, she enjoys running and spending time with her family.

Alexis DeBrunnerIMG_6820 — Alexis is a junior from Grosse Pointe, Mich., who is pursuing a bachelor’s in journalism and mass communications with an art and architecture history minor. Having written for two on-campus publications, The Miami Student and The Odyssey, Alexis is also involved in Greek life by serving on the Panhellenic Council Executive Board as vice president of public relations. She has also previously served as the Panhellenic Delegate for her chapter of Gamma Phi Beta. Outside of school, Alexis volunteers with community art centers in her hometown, and is currently pursuing summer internships with print publications, after having previously interned with the Chicago travel magazine Concierge Preferred.

Alexandra FliotsosIMG_6800 — Alex,  a senior from Westerville, Ohio, is pursuing a strategic communication major and marketing minor. At Miami, she is heavily involved in her sorority, Pi Beta Phi. She has held the position of vice president of event planning, as well as chapter president. Outside of school, Alex enjoys volunteering at Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, a nonprofit based in Columbus, Ohio, that raises funds and awareness for kids and teens battling cancer. She also loves to travel and spend time with family and friends. Upon graduating, Alex will join Abercrombie & Fitch in its Merchandising Leadership Development Program.

Alexa Lyn Malasalvage — MalasalvageAlexa, from Orange County, Calif., is a senior pursuing majors in mass communication and journalism, who hopes to work in television production or marketing after graduation. She is involved with her sorority Pi Beta Phi, as well as producing video packages for Miami Television News. In her free time she enjoys working out and spending time with family and friends.

IMG_6822Sarah McIlwain — Sarah, a senior political science and journalism major, is a member of Amicus Curiae Pre-law Society and is on the steering committee of The Janus Forum. She is also the 2014-15 president of the Miami chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  She has studied political relations and culture in Ghana, Africa, and she interned at KosovaLive in Pristina, Kosovo, in the summer of 2014. Sarah is political enthusiast and active news consumer. Home is the rural town of West Union, Ohio, in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains.

Kelsey McCreadyIMG_6809 — Kelsey is a junior strategic communication and journalism major from Springfield, Ohio, about  an hour and a half from campus.  She is an active member of Public Relations Student Society of America, Miami University Redhawk Radio, and Kappa Delta Sorority. She also serves as the administrator for the Inside New York Program at Miami, as well as a Digital Marketing Associate for Designed Learning, a consulting firm whose marketing branch is based in Oxford. Kelsey is interested in pursuing a career in public relations or event coordination.

Brent NovoselIMG_6826 — Brent is a junior majoring in strategic communications with minors in finance and entrepreneurship. He enjoys hockey, Buffalo wings, and expressing his opinions. He wants to work for a start-up after college with the hope of eventually starting his own business.

Shannon O’ConnorIMG_6796 — Shannon is a junior double major in strategic communications and journalism with a minor in marketing. Her love of history is displayed through a passion for classic films, traveling, and a position as the Alumnae Relations Coordinator for her sorority. She is excited to continue her journalism studies with Professor Newberry this January term in New York City.

Althea Perley — PerleyAlthea, a sophomore from Darien, Conn., is working toward a double major in journalism and strategic communications. She is an active member of Pi Sigma Epsilon Gamma Gamma Chapter, a business fraternity, as well as Delta Delta Delta sorority. She currently holds the position of Head of Recruitment for the Miami University Student Federal Credit Union, and is the Health and Wellness Columnist for Up Fashion magazine on campus. Looking toward a future in television, Althea can usually be found drinking coffee and playing squash.

Nick RamseyIMG_6817 — Nick is a junior from Columbus, with a double major in journalism and economics. Nick is still undecided on a career path after college, but is considering business reporting. Outside of school, he is interested in satirical news and ice hockey.

Michael RojasIMG_6816 — Michael is a third-year strategic communications major. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Michael is pursuing a career in public relations after participating in Miami’s Inside New York PR workshop in Manhattan. Prior to graduation Michael plans on spending a semester abroad in Europe studying at Miami’s Luxembourg campus.

IMG_6824Kate Shea — Kate was born and raised in Chicago, graduating from Hinsdale Central High School there in May 2011. After graduation, her love for writing and reading brought her to study English Language Arts at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She currently enjoys writing for the Miami University media site Her Campus. Last January, Shea was apart of the NYC Media, a class that traveled to New York to study journalism at many different media companies. Shea also serves as a leader in  Adopt-A-School, which recruits tutors to travel to different schools and after-school programs in Cincinnati. Shea also serves as director of events for the Alpha Phi chapter at Miami, planning events for the chapter while communicating with many third-party vendors.

Dustin Stout – Dustin is a sophomore accounting major at the Farmer School of Business. Reading, writing, and solving difficult math problems are among his many hobbies. He hopes to one day beat the stereotype of being your typical, everyday accountant.

Torey SweeneyIMG_6812 — Torey is a senior, born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He is pursuing a major in strategic communications and a minor in finance, with hopes of opening a PR agency or an investor relations firm. Outside of school, Torey enjoys supporting Cleveland sports teams, playing lacrosse and spending time with friends and family. He is currently working to obtain his private pilot’s license so he can share the hobby of flying with members of his family. Torey is a creative thinker who loves to work with his hands and build constructive projects. He enjoys the art of bringing multiple elements together to make something valuable out of nothing.

IMG_6799Alice Tullio –Alice, a junior from Erie, Penn., is pursuing a major in strategic communications in the public relations field. At Miami, she is the two-year head of PR for her sorority, Alpha of Delta Zeta. Outside of school Alice enjoys working out, spending time with family and friends, and relaxing. She has two sisters and one brother that she is very close with. Alice will have an marketing internship this summer with Erie Insurance Company in her hometown.

Julia ValenciaIMG_6814 — Julia is a junior with majors in journalism and strategic communications. She was born in El Monte, Calif., moved to Richmond, Texas, in middle school, and now calls  South Lyon, Mich., home.  Julia wants to pursue a job in public relations, broadcasting, or sales. She ran cross country and track competitively for two years but now enjoys running and working out recreationally.




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