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How Business Journalism Can Change Your Life

Business columnist Mitchell Schnurman featured speaker at William J. O’Neil Lecture, Nov. 5

by Mackenzie Ferch (B.A. in Journalism, May 2014)

Dallas Morning News business columnist Mitchell Schnurman will deliver the William J. O’Neil Lecture in Business Journalism, “How Business Journalism Can Change Your Life,” on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 3:45 p.m. in Room 241 in the Umphrey Lee Building at SMU. Admission is free.

Schnurman, seven-time winner of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers’ “Best in Business” columnist award, has reported on many of the region’s top business stories, such as the failure of Texas’s banking industry and Ross Perot’s departure from General Motors. In addition, Schnurman has challenged Texas’s small-government claims, argued for the lifting of the Wright Amendment and advocated for natural gas drilling in various urban areas. A strong proponent of the merger of US Airways and American Airlines, Schnurman regularly weighs in on tax breaks and engages in and contributes to the business journalism arena.

As print media shifts to online forums, business journalism proves a viable option for many graduates, as the specialized field continues to grow and expand on a local and national scale. Business journalism demands a combination of both business analytics and knowledge, and journalistic expertise and skills. According to Mark Vamos, the William J. O’Neil Chair of Business Journalism, the business journalism track at SMU is an innovative interdisciplinary program that combines study of journalism in the Meadows School of the Arts with course work at the Cox School of Business, and is one of only a very small handful of such programs in the country.

“The idea is to train the next generation of highly qualified business and economics journalists,” Vamos said.

Schnurman graduated from the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and began his writing career in Dallas in 1986 as a beat reporter. From a weekly business journal, he advanced to the Dallas Times Herald, then to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and, eventually, to D CEO magazine. In 2012, Schnurman signed on with the Morning News.

Each semester, the O’Neil Lectures bring a prominent figure to the SMU campus to deliver a presentation, interact with students and faculty, provoke discussion and stimulate audience members’ thinking. When asked why Schnurman was selected for the fall 2013 lecture, Vamos said he wanted to bring in someone local with a high profile rather than a speaker who is well-known in, say, New York. “Mitch is a great choice because he is a deeply experienced business columnist whose smart, thought-provoking work is helping to shape this city's conversation about itself,” Vamos said.

Recognizing that business journalism is on the rise, Vamos urges both journalism and business students alike to embrace the opportunity to hear Schnurman speak and to take advantage of the knowledge, experience and insight he has to offer. “Anyone who has read Mitch's work, either at The Dallas Morning News or, previously, at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, knows that he is consistently smart, funny, and provocative -- and his lecture at SMU is sure to be all three,” Vamos said. “Mitch is fearless about puncturing conventional wisdom and skewering the self-important. He goes after the businesses and people who get things wrong, and is also honest about praising the ones who get things right.”

Read more about the William J. O’Neil Lecture in Business Journalism event. 

William J. O’Neil Lecture in Business Journalism
Mitchell Schnurman, business columnist for The Dallas Morning News
“How Business Journalism Can Change Your Life”
Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 3:45 p.m.
Umphrey Lee Center, Room 241
3300 Dyer St. on the SMU campus
Dallas, TX 75205

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