How business journalism has changed
by Chris Roush
Herb Greenberg, the senior stocks commentator at CNBC, writes about how his job has changed after 40 years in journalism given social media and new technology.
Greenberg writes, “Like most journalists, I always tried to have some kind of edge and, if at all possible, be first with something good. I kicked all of that up a bunch of notches in 1988, when I started writing a daily ‘Business Insider’ financial column for the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Back then, as hard as my job was, it was easier (if that makes sense). While the financial wire services were slugging it out for real-time dominance, there was no financial TV. No Internet. No social media.
“Then, in the early 1990s, along came CNBC. Money managers like Jim Cramer and even CEOs started to guest host the network’s flagship show, Squawk Box. But it was more about competition. This was the first time I was worried that real-time scoops and first-hand insights could spoil something I had been working on. (When you write six columns a week, there is little room for a story getting derailed, especially as the daily deadline nears.)
“Then came the Internet and the real beginning of the blurring of the lines: David and Tom Gardner’s The Motley Fool, originally on American Online (which used non-journalists to report and analyze stocks); Cramer’s TheStreet.com, which I joined in 1998 (talk about blurring: A quality, edgy news website, aimed at the little guy, started by a former hedge fund manager); TheStreet’s Columnist Conversation, the brainchild of Jon Krim and Leland Montgomery (this was the original streaming stocks discussion, mixing the comments of a few journalists like me with investment pros like Cramer and Doug Kass. (Truth be told: I thought it was a stupid name and an even stupider idea. Boy, was I wrong.)
“Then came the blogs. Suddenly, everybody had a blog. Everybody was a journalist. Everybody, from small investor to money manager, was a legend in their own mind! (Once upon a time, while I was a columnist at at MarketWatch, I even had a blog.)”
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