McLean to receive SABEW’s Distinguished Achievement Award

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Bethany McLean

Business journalist, best-selling author, Business Insider contributor and Vanity Fair contributing editor Bethany McLean will receive the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing’s highest honor – its Distinguished Achievement Award – for 2024.

The award is given to an individual who has made a significant impact on the field of business journalism and has been a nurturing influence on others in the profession.

“I’m so honored to receive this award. I love that I’m following in the footsteps of female business journalists I’ve long admired, including Diana Henriques and Gretchen Morgenson,” said McLean. “We’re in a very fraught time for journalism, but journalism – business journalism – is more important than ever. There’s no shortage of scandals and larger-than-life characters to cover. And as we head into a pivotal election, ongoing coverage of seemingly more economic mundane topics that nonetheless shape our society is absolutely critical.”

McLean will be formally honored during SABEW’s annual conference, taking place April 18-20 at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University’s downtown Chicago campus.

Caleb Silver, Investopedia editor-in-chief, and past SABEW president, will interview Bethany on Thursday, April 18, from 4:05-4:50 p.m. CT about her career, her process, and why she can’t help but question the power and the powerful people and institutions who seem to play by their own rules.

“Bethany McLean is the gold standard for business journalists,” said Desiree Hanford, 2023-2024 SABEW president and Medill professor. “From her work exposing the financial shenanigans at Enron to her work documenting the country’s response to the pandemic, Bethany tackles complicated and tangled financial and economic topics head-on without fear or favor. Her readers are the beneficiaries of her deep reporting and her ability to clearly explain these topics and their importance.”

In addition to her work at Vanity Fair, where she has been for nearly 16 years, McLean is a columnist at Yahoo Finance and a contributor to Business Insider and CNBC. Prior to joining Vanity Fair, McLean was editor at large at Fortune for 13 years, a business columnist at Slate and an investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs.

McLean co-wrote “The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron” and “All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis.” Her latest book, “The Big Fail,” details the country’s failure to prepare for and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

McLean has also written two mini books, “Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the US Mortgage Giants” and “Saudi America: The Truth About Fracking and How It’s Changing the World.”



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