Worried about the quality of business journalism?
by Chris Roush
Renita Jablonski, a producer for American Public Media’s “Marketplace”; Indira Kannan, U.S. bureau chief for CNBC-TV18 and CNN-IBN in India; Richard Perez-Pena, a reporter with The New York Times; and David Barroux, U.S. bureau chief for French business daily Les Echos, spoke recently at the University of Pennsylvania about how business journalism is changing.
Here is an excerpt:
Penn: Should we be concerned about the quality of business news these days?
Jablonski: Maybe we could start with the new Fox channel. Prior to that becoming more publicized, you were seeing the subtle changes in its main competition — the flashier graphics, and maybe a pace that was slightly different. I think that Rupert Murdoch and company recently revealed that, in fact, they are going to be aiming more for the consumer. While there are more options [for consumers], you need to be really educated about what each outlet is providing you, the background of the company and its affiliation side. I find that the way they are trying to position themselves differently is really interesting from the get-go.
Kannan: I’ll talk from the perspective of what CNBC does in India. It is a 24-hour channel in English, but we also have the Indian-language counterpart in Hindi, which is called CNBC Awaaz. They do address different audiences. CNBC-TV18, which is the English-language channel, looks very aggressively at an urban, upwardly mobile, up-market kind of an audience, whereas CNBC Awaaz probably has been doing what Fox Business News now says it will do — it’s targeted more towards Main Street rather than Wall Street. CNBC Awaaz is really directed at a whole lot of retail investors, people in small towns — maybe even housewives who are sitting at home, who want to get into investing and do a lot of day trading. So, in India, we already have these two very distinct segments which are being served by both channels.
Perez-Pena: Obviously, there are more sources of information than ever. It has been a proliferation especially on the web, and at the same time the traditional media have fewer and fewer resources to work with. I think while there is a democratization of information, and more people have access to more information, there also has been a fragmenting of the audience, so there is a lot of information that doesn’t reach certain people. And while the universe may be wider, it is not necessarily deeper, because the resources to do really in-depth work — investigative work — are harder and harder to find, which is what Paul Steiger’s new venture is intended to address. So it is changing, and I think in some ways for the better and some ways for the worse.
Read more here.