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Visiting professor to promote and expand USC's business journalism initiative with students and community

by Joshua Joiner

Expanding its emphasis on programs in business and financial journalism, The University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications welcomes visiting professor Rob Wells for the spring semester.

A veteran financial journalist, Wells joins the USC faculty as part of a national program funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation at the Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The program sends visiting professors to universities around the country to teach business journalism.

Reynolds selected USC in part due to the Baldwin Business and Financial Journalism Fund, established in March 2009 when USC alumnus Kenneth W. Baldwin Jr. donated $500,000 to the school to support business journalism teaching, research and other activities.

Wells, whose academic experience includes working as an adjunct at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, brings with him more than 20 years of experience as a business and financial journalist. Along with teaching two business journalism courses this semester, Wells will use his experience to contribute to the ongoing development of USC’s business journalism initiative.


“The school has already started with a solid foundation for building a great business journalism program at the University of South Carolina. I see a lot of strong elements in place for a successful program,” said Wells, who previously served as the deputy bureau chief for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal in Washington and prior to that worked for Bloomberg News and The Associated Press. “The school has very talented faculty and a robust campus community with a strong business school. One of the things I hope to help with this semester is to facilitate a partnership with the Moore School of Business and get that relationship and interaction going on between the two schools.

wells“One of my other goals for the semester is to establish strong relationships between the journalism school and the local business and financial media in the state and Columbia,” Wells added. “I’ve met with the editor of the Columbia Business Report and they’re very enthusiastic about assisting us. We’re actually going to take a class field trip over to their newsroom in a couple weeks. My hope is that’s just a start to this process and something we can continue to build upon.”

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications has two endowments to enhance teaching of business journalism. In addition to the Baldwin Business and Financial Journalism Fund, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) last year established the David J. Morrow Scholarship. This fund honors the memory of David Morrow, a highly respected business journalist, teacher and a USC journalism graduate. SABEW’s board of directors channeled $90,000 in memorial gifts to USC in Morrow’s honor.

“Having Rob here this semester is helping us build momentum for our business journalism efforts,” school director Dr. Carol Pardun said. “His enthusiasm for the topic is infectious.  I truly believe that one semester with Rob Wells is going to pay dividends for us for many years to come.”

Business Journalism lecturesThe Reynolds Visiting Business Journalism Professor Program is a five-year initiative administered through Arizona State University. In addition to USC, Colorado State University, Grambling State University and Texas Christian University were among the first colleges selected.

About the Reynolds Center

Since 2003, more than 10,000 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. 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 is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.


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