UofSC Announces first Baldwin Business and Financial Chair in Journalism

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Friday, August 10th, 2018

Michelle LaRoche, a journalist with more than two decades of experience at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, will join the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications in August as its first Baldwin Business and Financial Chair in Journalism.
Tom Reichert, dean of the College of Information and Communications, announced LaRoche’s selection Wednesday (Aug. 8).
“Michelle comes to us with more than 20 years of experience at Dow Jones & Company, where she served in a multitude of roles,” said Reichert. “In addition to her business journalism acumen, she has a solid record of mentoring editors and reporters, something that will translate well into higher education. We’re excited to see where she takes the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and its students.”
The announcement was the culmination of a nationwide search. Prior to LaRoche’s completion of a master’s degree in higher education from Harvard University in May 2018, she served as the development editor for The Wall Street Journal. There, her responsibilities included the creation and management of the paper’s internship program, campus recruitment, the development of a business reporting syllabus and oversight of employee training programs.
Her stint at the Wall Street Journal capped a 21-year career with Dow Jones & Company. She served in a variety of leadership roles at Dow Jones Newswires, including time as director of corporate information services, recruiting and training editor and managing editor of Real-Time News.
Much of her previous experience involved working with young journalists, making her transition into higher education a natural choice.
The chair is the first of its kind in the university’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and is made possible through a generous gift from 1949 alumnus Kenneth W. Baldwin Jr. As part of the larger Baldwin Business and Financial Journalism Initiative, the endowed chair will help ensure that students gain expertise in business journalism and the business of journalism and mass communications. It’s an area of interest not just for the school but also for the college, which wants students in each of its programs to become comfortable working with data and information.
LaRoche’s hire is another step toward establishing the SJMC as the premier educational institution where students learn the importance of business in the mass communications industry, whether covering a business angle of a story or working for a business as a public relations practitioner.
More importantly, she envisions an initiative that reverberates into each of the school’s programs, teaching all students to approach news coverage with an eye for the bigger picture.
“I think it’s imperative for young journalists to understand the business side of anything that they’re covering,” LaRoche says. “Point blank. Period. If you’re going to cover entertainment, if you’re going to cover sports, politics, it’s the money behind those things that really influence people’s decision making. And if you don’t understand that, you’re only telling a part of the story.”