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Alumni Profile

AU Experiences Helped Drawbaugh, 'BA ’82, Break Into Business Journalism

By Michael Wargo

SOC Kevin Drawbaugh

Kevin Drawbaugh, 'BA ’82, used his internship experience and work for The Eagle, along with his degree in economics, to break into the world of business journalism at the right time. Now he’s the recently appointed deputy Washington Editor for Reuters Professional News where he’ll be sharing in the running of a new team reporting on tax and accounting in the United States and legal issues in Washington. 

Drawbaugh says more than anything else, SOC gave him access to opportunities in Washington. “I had an internship when I was a senior at the D.C. bureau of The Hartford Courant that was arranged by Jo Williams, a wonderful woman who helped steer many of us in our early journalism careers,” he said.  “It was an important learning experience. I also learned a lot working incredibly long hours for The Eagle while I was at AU.”

He says the new job has been exciting, allowing him to refresh his editing skills and dive into a huge and fascinating policy story – tax, accounting, the deficit and related legal issues. “It is going to play out for years to come, right through the 2012 elections and beyond.”

After graduating from American University, Drawbaugh took his first full-time job in journalism at The Potomac News in Northern Virginia.  There he was a one-man band, writing stories, taking photos and putting together pages. 

“It was a real small-town operation and a valuable experience,” said Drawbaugh. While at The Capital in Annapolis, Maryland, Drawbaugh says business journalism was just emerging at the time as a career path. “It seemed like a logical move because I had a BA in economics from AU,” he said. “I answered an ad and moved to Indiana to be business editor at The Indianapolis News (now The Indianapolis Star), which was a large evening daily.”

With the news industry changing, Drawbaugh made another smart career move to Reuters in New York City, covering pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and other industries. Transfers followed to Reuters bureaus in Chicago and to London in 1999.

“I traveled a lot in Europe as a reporter and then as a corporate trainer. I took a leave of absence to write a book on brand marketing, which I had been covering. In 2001, it was time to come home to the United States. Reuters asked me where I wanted to land and I said Washington.”

The Enron scandal kept Drawbaugh busy for several years and then in 2006 he started covering business, finance and tax issues in Congress, which drew him into the new unit of Reuters, that’s focused on tax, accounting and law.