By Behdad Mahichi
“I came in with free McDonald’s coffee because as a journalist I see money very rarely,” John Shmuel, business reporter for the Financial Post said jokingly.
Contrary to his joke, Shmuel along with three other panelists were at Ryerson on Tuesday to discuss the growing opportunities in the world of business journalism.
“Business journalists actually get paid more than journalists covering other beats,” Katia Dmitrieva, reporter for Bloomberg News said. “It’s the most accurate and challenging form of journalism. Your stories are going to move the stock market.”
The four panelists — all alumni of Ryerson’s School of Journalism — broke down the basics of business reporting and the stereotypes that hold students back from considering the field.
Jennifer Wells, former business writer at the Globe and Mail, says that students are drawn away from business journalism, as they believe “money and numbers are everything.” However, Wells has shown that a business reporter will cover a wider range of topics than just business. From reporting on Haiti’s post-earthquake economic hardships to the mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Wells has traveled to report on international issues.
“Business is usually the gist of most stories,” Wells said.
With that in mind, many newspapers have recently expanded their business reporting team. Shmuel states the new National Post office on Bloor Street features a section for Financial Post bigger than the other sections combined.
“50 per cent of the [business reporting] staff was added in the past two years,” Shmuel said.
Panelist Dianne Buckner, the host of CBC’s “Dragon’s Den” linked the high demand for business journalists with the surge of innovation and entrepreneurship in Canada.
“When we ran the first couple episodes of Dragon’s Den we wondered how many people would actually pitch on the show. But what’s interesting is that the show is incredibly popular and we’re seeing all these new inventions being created,” she said.
All four panelists agreed that neither of them had planned a career in business journalism. Dmitrieva said the standard belief that a business journalist must have a love for math is a myth.
“I hated math since high school […] two years ago I was sitting in your place watching this panel and rolling my eyes,” said Dmitrieva.