Monthly Archives: September 2006
The New York Post’s Roddy Boyd is reporting that former CNBC anchor Ron Insana is getting ready to launch his own money management operation called Insana Capital Partners.
Boyd wrote, “The strategy of his latest venture, according to Institutional Investor Magazine’s Alternative Investment News, appears to be based on relationships he has developed with the leading lights in the hedge fund world. Insana could not be reached and his fund’s Web site is still under construction.
“A longtime fund-of-funds manager based in New York City, when informed on Insana’s plans, was skeptical.
“‘[Insana] no doubt has a good reputation and profile, which might help him gather assets,’ he said. ‘But he has to sell something other than access.’”
Read more here. I’ve heard of business journalists becoming analysts, and was once even made the same offer, but never known a business journalist to make the transition into money management. I do know some former business journalists who work for hedge funds as analysts.
A private investigator tailed a Wall Street Journal reporter to find out about a leak to the reporter from a Big Five accounting firm, according to an e-mail that became public record as part of the congressional hearings Thursday into Hewlett-Packard’s investigation to discover leaks at the computer company, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Reporter Peter Waldman wrote, Ronald “DeLia told lawyers interviewing him in August 2006, that he had informed Ms. Dunn that ‘he had undertaken a similar investigation involving leaks from a Big Five accounting firm to a Wall Street Journal reporter. Mr. DeLia was successful in finding the source of the leaks in that case,’ according to an email circulated at House Energy and Commerce hearings on the H-P scandal yesterday.”
Later, Waldman added, “The email reports that Mr. DeLia said he ‘had conducted visual — not electronic — surveillance of the reporter at issue while on vacation and had skip tracers call the hotel the reporter had been staying at to obtain his hotel call records via pretexting, which revealed a call to a senior executive with the company. Pretexting was also used to determine where the reporter was vacationing — somebody called the reporter’s office saying the reporter had requested certain information and asking someone in the office for the hotel number.’”
“The email doesn’t make clear who the Journal reporter was, or where or when the pretexting took place.”
Read more here. A spokesman for the paper said it was looking into the matter.
The New York Post’s Keith Kelly has some of the names of the editorial staff members at BusinessWeek who lost their jobs on Thursday as part of a layoff.
Kelly wrote, “There were no staff announcements on the 12 facing the ax, but Media Ink hears the list includes Chris Summerson, a 28-year veteran who after a long stretch as public relations director, had been the associate editor of business development.
“Also getting their walking papers were Polk Award winner Aaron Bernstein, writer Cathy Yang and editor Liz Weiner.
“The weekly magazine was said to have lost money in 2005, according to one reliable industry source.”
Read more here. Bernstein, in my opinion, was one of the best labor reporters in the country, while Yang had worked out of the Washington bureau. Weiner had been a long-time editor in New York.
Venture captial investor Roger McNamee, whose firm recently bought a minority stake in the Forbes media company, argued at the Technology Review’s Emerging Technology Conference at MIT on Thursday that business journalism needs to become more personalized, especially on the Internet.
News.com’s Martin LaMonica wrote, “McNamee spoke specifically about Elevation Partners’ investment in Forbes, the venerable business magazine. He said that he hopes to introduce more personalization at Forbes’s Web site in order to provide readers with valuable insight, rather than only news.
“For example, a news story on changing mortgage rates could be a signal for a reader to refinance. In order to do that, the Web site needs a lot of personal information on the reader, which is valuable to advertisers.
“‘That is what business journalism has to aim for: personalization, trust and authority. I think all of journalism has to do that because people don’t have enough time,’ McNamee said.
“He said that he is investing in media because it has the potential to affect a large number of people and improve political discourse in the country.”
Read more here.
A dozen staff members of BusinessWeek, including former managing editor Mark Morrison, are leaving the magazine, according to the Romenesko web site. Except for Morrison, who is retiring, the rest are being laid off.
The Romenesko site stated, “BusinessWeek communications director Kimberly Quinn responds to Romenesko’s inquiry about layoffs: ‘There will be a reduction of 12 employees across administration, editorial and editorial production in order to enhance BusinessWeekâ€™s long-term prospects and adapt to a changing marketplace.’”
Editor Stephen Adler’s memo, which did not mention the layoffs, about Morrison, who is retiring after 32 years at the magazine, stated that the former ME was going to teach at the Univesity of Texas, his alma mater. Adler wrote, “Mark not only distinguished himself as a journalist but as a straight-shooting, clear-thinking mentor to hundreds of BusinessWeek staffers, past and present. Please join me in thanking Mark for his many extraordinary contributions to BusinessWeek and wishing him all the best in the classroom and on the golf course.”
Morrison was a candidate for the editor’s job when Stephen Shepard retired back in 2005. However, the job went to Adler, a Wall Street Journal editor, and Morrison was moved out of the ME spot. He had been ME for more than a decade, and he had also worked in the Chicago bureau.
Read the memo here. Having worked for Morrison during my time at BusinessWeek and watching him talk with my UNC students when they visited New York during Spring Break, I can state that this is a loss for the publication and for business journalism.
The Financial Times newspaper is apparently getting ready to ditch its well-known “No FT, no comment” advertising slogan and replace it with “We live in Financial Times,” according to an article in Brand Republic.
Reporter Kate Nicholson Campaign wrote, “The ‘No FT, no comment’ line was introduced by Ogilvy & Mather in 1982. However, the account moved to Delaney Fletcher Slaymaker Delaney & Bozell in the early 90s.
“Frances Brindle, the FT’s marketing director, EMEA, said: ‘Having just appointed DDB London, it’s no surprise that part of the process over the next few months will be to review what we do in marketing terms and where we go from here.
“‘We have made no decisions about taglines or specific creative at this stage.’”
New York Post media writer Tim Arango will leave the newspaper for a writing job at Fortune magazine, according to a short item in Women’s Wear Daily.Stephanie Smith wrote, Fortune “managing editor Eric Pooley poached two staffers from The New York Times and the New York Post this week, proving that Portfolio’s Joanne Lipman is not the only magazine editor scouring newspapers for talent. Times information graphics editor Sarah Slobin will join Fortune on Oct. 24 as senior editor and Post media reporter Tim Arango will join Oct. 16 as a writer. Arango, whom Pooley said “is really great at penetrating big media organizations,” worked at TheStreet.com and Budapest Business Journal (really!) before joining the Post in 2002.
Arango joined the New York tabloid in September 2002 after reporting for the financial news site TheStreet.com. He is a native of Essex Junction, Vt., and earned his undergraduate degree from Saint Michael’s College and his graduate degree from Brown University.
Women’s Wear Daily reporter Stephanie Smith noted in Thursday’s edition that BusinessWeek magazine is working on a redesign that has included bringing in people from other magazines to critique the glossy. However, the McGraw-Hill weekly has lost its art director this week.
Smith wrote, “Top editors at BusinessWeek this summer invited Gary Belsky and Neil Fine, executive editors at ESPN the Magazine, and New York editor in chief Adam Moss in to critique the magazine as it geared up for a major redesign, according to insiders. The men provided a host of suggestions; for example, insiders said Moss preferred shorter stories (Ã la New York’s “Intelligencer” section), and preferred more conceptual covers, such as the ones The Economist often produces. The group surely knows what they’re talking about â€” New York this year won a National Magazine Award for Design, while ESPN won for General Excellence for magazines with circulations of 1 million to 2 million.
“A spokeswoman for BusinessWeek said, ‘We often meet with outside editors and opinion leaders to discuss new ideas for how we can best serve the needs of our readers.’ Does that mean creating an Approval Matrix for business leaders in BusinessWeek?
“The redesign is being planned so meticulously that insiders say the title postponed unveiling the new look from March to next fall so it can take a peek at Portfolio first. But while consulting with successful editors of weekly and biweekly titles may be helpful, editor in chief Stephen Adler first must find a new art director to execute the overhaul since Malcolm Frouman, who served 22 years in the position and oversaw the 2003 redesign, left the company this week.”
Read more here. Smith also noted that there is talk of an editorial layoff at BusinessWeek.
Former Hewlett-Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn, who resigned last week amid a scandal at the company about its spying on business journalists covering the company, is denying that she hired investigators to determine the leak to reporters, according to a Bloomberg News story.
Dunn’s remarks are part of her prepared testimony on Thursday to a congressional committee looking into potential wrongdoing at the company.
Reporters Christopher Stern and Karen Gullo wrote, “Dunn’s statements, less than a week after she was ousted for overseeing the probe that began as an investigation into leaks to the media, pits her against the company. As the scandal widened, it came under scrutiny by regulators and lawmakers and prompted the dismissal of two employees. Hewlett-Packard has painted Dunn as being responsible and complicit in the actions of the investigators.”
Later, they wrote, “In testimony submitted to the committee, Dunn said she initiated an investigation into boardroom leaks at the insistence of a majority of directors. She said she received assurances throughout two phases of the probe, dubbed Kona 1 and Kona 2, that the methods used to obtain phone records were legal.
“Kona 1 didn’t yield the source of the boardroom leaks. Dunn said she revived the probe as Kona 2 in January of this year after a report by online news service Cnet.com contained information discussed in a board strategy meeting. At that point, Dunn said she didn’t find it objectionable suspected leakers may be followed to see if they were meeting with reporters.
“‘I was fully convinced that HP would never engage in anything illegal, and the privacy issues related to our directors were balanced in my mind against their eagerness to get to the bottom of the problem,” Dunn said.
Ken Shepherd of the Business & Media Institute writes that NBC and CBS have been downplaying good news about the economy in its recent nightly newscasts despite the fact that the Dow Jones industrial average rose to its second-highest close ever and consumer confidence rose.
As an example, he referred to a recent spot on the CBS Evening News. Shepherd wrote, “‘ â€œWith gas prices dropping by the day, Americans are suddenly feeling a whole lot more confident’ about the economy, CBS anchor Katie Couric noted during the September 26 broadcast, before introducing an Anthony Mason story on the dropping price of natural gas.
“Even so, Mason warned viewers, ‘donâ€™t count your savings just yet. Even though the forecast is for a milder energy bill this winter, your meter will still be at the mercy of weather and world events.’ Using the backdrop of video clips of hurricane devastation and war, Mason then posited that ‘another Katrina whipping through the Gulf or an escalation of tensions’ could send crude oil and natural gas prices up again.
“While itâ€™s true that supply shocks from foreign tension and natural disasters can affect price, Mason didnâ€™t mention just how inactive the hurricane season this year has been. In fact, respected hurricane expert William Gray has downgraded his earliest predictions twice.”
Read more here.