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School of Communications selects visiting professor in business journalism

Former Bloomberg reporter Dianne Finch will teach business electives in the School during the spring semester.

Dianne Finch


Dianne Finch, multimedia manager for the Knight Foundation's Science Journalism Program at MIT and a former Bloomberg business reporter, will be a visiting professor in the School of Communications in spring 2013 under the auspices of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.

Elon is one of three universities announced in May as recipients of a $50,000 Reynolds Center grant, joining Louisiana State University and Central Michigan University. The grant supports both the visiting business journalist and summer internships in business journalism for School of Communications students.

“The Reynolds grant will be the catapult to propel our school to do a better job of training future journalists to expand and improve coverage of business and the economy,” said Paul Parsons, dean of the School of Communications and author of the grant application.

Finch earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

She spent four years in Japan, including serving as IT director for Dun & Bradstreet (ASI Market Research) in Tokyo. She worked as a product manager for software companies in Massachusetts, as a news data editor for The Associated Press, as a reporter for Bloomberg News and as health and science reporter for New Hampshire Public Radio before being named one of 11 Knight Science Journalism Fellows in 2008. Following the one-year fellowship, she became multimedia manager for the Knight program, based at MIT, where she oversaw the design and launch of the program’s new website and social media strategy.

At Elon, Finch will teach two electives in spring 2013 and be a guest speaker in other courses. Her courses are tentatively titled “Covering Business in an Information Age” and “Business Reporting.” Quality student work through the classes will appear in the Burlington Times-News, which wrote a letter of support as a local media partner for the Elon grant application.

Reynolds Center president Andrew Leckey said Elon, LSU and Central Michigan were chosen from dozens of applications, and all three “presented strong immediate and longer-term plans for initiating vigorous business journalism coursework and programs.” He added, “The large number of excellent applications from throughout the country underscored the fact that business and economic journalism is growing in importance and popularity.”

This is the second year that the Reynolds Foundation has funded visiting professors at universities to encourage the development of stronger business journalism training. The inaugural visiting professors were at Texas Christian University, University of South Carolina, Colorado State and Grambling.

“We are delighted with the quality and commitment of the three professors and universities in this second year of the program as we seek to improve the quality of business journalism,” Leckey said. “Last year’s inaugural visiting professors did an outstanding job, and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity ahead for the incoming professors.”

The five-year program, funded by a $1.67 million Reynolds Foundation grant, ultimately will create 11 visiting professorships at 11 different schools.

Since 2003, more than 15,000 journalists have learned to cover business better through free training from the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. The center is at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University's Phoenix campus. The center offers regional workshops and webinars, as well as daily tips to cover business better at BusinessJournalism.org.

It is funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it has committed more than $115 million nationwide through its Journalism Program.

Colin Donohue,
8/23/2012 1:15 PM