Business journalism is not just writing about men in suits, reporting from boardrooms, and dealing with complex numbers, says Alexis Akwagyiram, Nigeria bureau chief for Reuters. Rather, it’s about people.
“Often the misconception is that it’s just a very, very narrow gaze,” Akwagyiram says. And yet, from his base in Lagos, he’s written on topics as wide-ranging as oil and how Africa’s richest man built his empire, to the growth of Nollywood, Afrobeats, and fintech. Business journalism is “about people fundamentally: why people want a service, and how business can be a force for good, or not.”
Akwagyriam was one of three panelists to speak in the first of a series of Quartz webinars on “A Better Kind of Journalism.” The panelists included Kimberly Johnson, senior editor of professional products at the Wall Street Journal, and Ana Campoy, Quartz’s finance and economics editor. The discussion was moderated by Katherine Bell, Quartz’s editor-in-chief.
Topics tackled by the panelists included:
- Common misconceptions about business journalism
- What a career trajectory looks like today
- The skills you need to succeed in the field
- Salary expectations for those considering business reporting
- Diversity in newsrooms, stories, and readership
- The premium provided by business journalists
- The evergreen debate over whether a journalism degree matters
“Business touches everything, and it’s a great setting to explore a bunch of different, really important questions,” Campoy says. “Whether it’s race…inequality—all these social issues can also be explored through a business lens.”
Reporters covering business, finance, and economics, can also provide a vital service, says Johnson. “People need information to help them make decisions about their lives,” she says. “Those decisions are, at their very core, economic decisions.”
You can watch a recording of the seminar above.
“A Better Kind of Business Journalism” is inspired by Bell’s call for the field to break from its conservative past. It is designed as a series of conversations around the industry, the change it’s undergoing, and its prospects for young reporters and editors. Have ideas for a future discussion? Let us know at email@example.com.