Biz news site goes dark amid issues

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James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times reports Saturday that the iBusinessReporting.com site founded by former Times business reporter Bill Lobdell and fraud investigator Barry Minkow has closed down.

Lobdell writes, “We live in a time of experimentation and reinvention in journalism, and there’s reason to admire anyone looking for new ways to pay for investigative journalism. Yet some of those innovators, including Minkow and Lobdell, have been too ready to throw out the best habits, such as business conflict restrictions, of the ‘old’ journalism. The iBizReporting boys disagreed with that notion, saying they were truer to the audience because they were more transparent about their motivations. They contrasted that to reporters who they said kept too many secrets, particularly about their political beliefs.

“Tackling that subject would take more space than we have here, but suffice it to say that business entanglements can be the most corrupting for a reason. An ideological bias might be suppressed (I’ve seen many reporters trash candidates of their own political party), but a profit motive is forever. That’s why Times Business reporters are not allowed to invest in stocks of companies they cover.

“Minkow and Lobdell told me this week that the disappearance of iBusinessReporting is not the end. They said that they will continue to investigate companies they suspect through Minkow’s Fraud Discovery Institute ‘as a public service’ but no longer will bet against the stocks, which Lobdell admitted had turned out to be an ‘incredibly tricky’ way to make money.”

Read more here.