The Online Business News Publication Reflects on How Students Have Contributed to Its Growth and Success
By Erika Peepo and Carole Trickey
Columbia, Mo. (Aug. 6, 2015) — Missouri Business Alert, a digital business news startup at the Missouri School of Journalism, celebrated its three-year anniversary in July.
Missouri Business Alert’s website was officially launched in 2013 and now receives more than 8,000 page views each month. Missouri Business Alert is also active on social media, having reached 900 followers on Twitter (@MoBusinessAlert) with almost 7,000 tweets. The account is followed by an entire spectrum of business community members from legislatures like Mayor Sly James and U.S. Rep. Billy Long to entrepreneurial leaders and economic developers such as Jay DeLong. One of Missouri Business Alert’s most popular tweets of the summer featured an infographic explaining how some Kansas City startups have gained funding.
Missouri Business Alert reporters – who are Missouri School of Journalism students – have broken news about some of the state’s biggest employers and top executives. They have produced the earliest profiles of some of the state’s emerging entrepreneurs and startup ventures. Student reporters have offered enterprising looks at some of the many industries that make up the economic fabric of Missouri, ranging from energy, to education, and from restaurants, to retail.
For the 2014-15 school year, Missouri Business Alert partnered with KBIA-FM to revive the weekly Business Beat segment on the local NPR affiliate. Students report for the station, which won a 2015 national Edward R. Murrow Award. KBIA serves a listening area of about 70 miles in the mid-Missouri area.
One of the most unique features of Missouri Business Alert is “The Morning Minutes,” an email newsletter sent out each morning, synthesizing the top business stories from across the state. Earlier this summer, Missouri Business Alert launched a new weekly newsletter called “The Week Ahead,” which is published every Sunday and is designed to inform readers what major events and issues are upcoming. Students on Missouri Business Alert’s summer intern team collaborate to find the stories for “The Week Ahead.” with each student-staff member being responsible for finding a story for an assigned day of the week.
Missouri Business Alert’s fourth year will include a facelift for the website and the launch of a mobile app. The free mobile app will make it easy to keep up with business news on the go.
Missouri Business Alert is a newsroom that uses the Missouri Method, which allows students to gain real world experience with professional oversight. The Missouri School of Journalism offers classes on business and economics reporting that place students in the Missouri Business Alert newsroom to earn reporting experience. There are also students hired during the summer months as both reporters and marketing interns. These undergraduate and graduate students work under the supervision of Missouri Business Alert founder Randy Smith, Managing Editor Michael Stacy and Director of Marketing Lorah Slaton. Smith is the Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism. He joined the School’s convergence journalism faculty in 2009 after serving as editor of the Kansas City Star. Stacy has been the managing editor of Missouri Business Alert since January 2013.
In the three years since its founding, Missouri Business Alert has worked with more than 100 Missouri journalism students, many of whom are now working for Bloomberg News, The Associated Press, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kansas City Star, Singapore’s largest daily newspaper and other major publications specializing in business news. One recent Missouri Business Alert staff member went on to win the Gramling Award given by the Associated Press to honor employees for excellence. Alecia Swasy, Missouri Business Alert’s founding editor, is now a professor and a Tom and June Netzel Sleeman Scholar in Business Journalism at the University of Illinois. Francesco Marconi, Missouri Business Alert’s first marketing coordinator, recently published his first book.
“It’s really rewarding to see students who just a year or two ago worked for Missouri Business Alert now thriving in professional careers with great organizations,” Stacy said. “To see so many students achieving success in such a short period of time is definitely validation for what’s being done here at the university.”
Updated: September 10, 2020