Monthly Archives: February 2007
D.J. Waletzky has a nice found-up of how the business news media covered the drop in the Dow Jones industrial average on Tuesday on the MediaChannel web site. The drop was the biggest since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Waletzky wrote, “CNBC was optimistic even in the face of disaster. CNBC talking head Larry Kudlow was unflappable: ‘I think people should stay in for the long run and be optimistic because free-market capitalism is the best way to create wealth and prosperity.’ Counters another guest, ‘I think thatâ€™s a philosophy, not a trading recommendation.’”
Meanwhile, he added, “Bloomberg News was more sober, and more specific about analyzing the causes of the market drop, noting (in a separate article than the one excerpted below) that although the bond markets rallied, gold (traditionally a safe bet in down markets) also slipped yesterday.”
And later, Waletzky pointed out that CNN focused on the debt side of the issue, while Reuters mentioned that there was concern that equity valuations were too high.
See the review here.
Lynn Cook, an energy reporter for the Houston Chronicle who is currently a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University, writes in the latest issue of Columbia Journalism Review how beneficial it can be when business reporters and metro reporters work together on stories.
Her experience was based on an explosion at a BP refinery two years ago.
Cook wrote, “In the moments after the blast, editors treated the story as a standard industrial catastrophe. Reporters rushed to the scene and to local hospitals to gather information on the blaze, the casualties, and the possibility a toxic cloud would descend onto the community. It didnâ€™t take long to realize, though, that Texas City would be a much longer, more arduous reporting slog, requiring expertise in everything from corporate finance to engineering to government regulation. After the initial heartrending stories of courageous workers trying to rescue their colleagues and broken families trying to plan so many funerals, Chronicle reporters would have to get to the bottom of what exactly went wrong and why. Was this truly an accident, or just an accident waiting to happen?
“I remember vividly the first editorial meeting of the Texas City reporting team. George Haj, our deputy managing editor of news, said metro and business reporters would work together on this story like never before. It was a concept that had received a lot of lip service in the newsroom but had never been put to the test on a grand scale. From the start, I could see why the wall between sections had not come down easily. Some reporters on the metro and business desks looked at the world in fundamentally different ways.
“Right off the bat, one metro reporter said labor union officials were talking off the record, blaming the blow-up on shoddy work by contract employees. That reporter thought the focus of all stories to come was obviousâ€”the ills of outsourcing. To the business reporting contingent at the table, that was stereotypical liberal media bias writ large.”
Read more here.
Barry Ritholtz writes on his Big Picture blog that the well-known financial and business blogs saw a dramatic increase in readers and page hits in the past 48 hours with the big fluctuations in the Dow Jones industrial average.
Ritholtz wrote, “As far as the MSM is concerned, there are numerous ways to intepret this. On the one hand, many readers rely on blogs as a filter for the MSM: I don’t buy into the argument that blogs make the media redundant; My sense is that many readers think: Show me what I need to see, and save me the time of sifting thru 100s of other sources. A post like this morn’s Around the World in 24 Hours is just that sort of overview. For many news consumers, media is important, with blogs acting as a filter/redirector.Â Â
“Yet at the same time, most of the generation born after the 1987Â crash doesn’t like to get ink on their hands. They get nearly all of their news from the web, and almost never touch a physical paper.
“I don’t reach any major conclusions on this, other than noting the MSM needs to stay interactive to remain relevant to its future consumers. Media is clearly in a period of transition, and how they handle it will determine how relevant — and profitable — they will be in the future . . .Â ” Â
Read more here.
Robert Pollock has been appointed features editor for The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, according to a release.
In this new role, Pollock will oversee publication of the signed opinion pieces on the Journal’s editorial and op-ed pages. Pollock replaces Tunku Varadarajan, who was recently named assistant managing editor for the Journal. (See item below.)
“Rob has made an outstanding contribution to the Journal editorial page on issues ranging from Iraq and the Middle East to cancer drug research and health care,” said Paul A. Gigot, editorial page editor of the Journal. “He has both the experience and skills to maintain the Journal’s op-ed columns as one of the world’s most important locations for political and economic debate.”
Pollock joined The Wall Street Journal Europe in Brussels in 1995 as an editorial page writer. In 2000, he moved to the U.S. Journal as an assistant editorial features editor, and was also the editor of the weekly ‘Manager’s Journal’ column. Mr. Pollock became an editorial page writer in 2002 and was named to the Journal’s editorial board in 2005.
Mr. Pollock is the winner of the 2006 Gerald Loeb Award for commentary.
Read more here.
Michael Calderone of the New York Observer writes Wednesday about the difficulties facing Tunku Varadarajan, who will be moving next month from the Wall Street Journal’s conservative leaning editorial page to its news operations to become an assistant managing editor.
Calderone wrote, “So while The New York Times regularly has moved staffers, including executive editor Bill Keller, back and forth between news and opinion, The Journal keeps things divided. News writers can move to editorialâ€”Mr. Gigot himself was once a reporter in the Chicago bureauâ€”but almost no one goes the other way.
“‘The people that move tend to be the ones that share the extreme right-wing views of the editorial page,’ a Journal news staffer said. ‘Once they move, itâ€™s hard to go back to the news side and claim to be unbiased. Youâ€™ve already shown your colors.’”An assortment of current and former Journal staffers, with an institutional memory stretching back half a century, could only come up with the names of two other people whoâ€™d moved from opinion to news: Lindley H. Clark Jr. and Claudia Rosett.
“Mr. Clark left the editorial page in the early 90â€™s to write an economics column on the news side. Ms. Rosett left the editorial page of The Journalâ€™s Asian edition to become the Moscow bureau chief, then returned to the editorial side in New York.”
Read more here.
Fortune magazine, which last week was criticized by the business school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for its list of the top business schools in the country, issued a correction.
The correction stated, “Last week, CNNMoney.com published ‘Top 50 Business Schools for Getting Hired.’ The data for the list was provided by an outside vendor, Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. Upon our publication of the feature, we were alerted to potential flaws in the provided data and the data survey methodology. These flaws in methodology may have resulted in University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and Boston University being omitted from the list. CNNMoney.com regrets the error, and apologizes to its readers and the business schools involved. The list has been removed from the site.”
A story in the Daily Tar Heel, the student paper at UNC, stated, “According to information posted on the school’s Web site, QS stated that Kenan-Flagler was not included in the list because they confused the school with N.C. State University’s College of Management.
“QS officials also that said they did not contact any representatives from the school and that they used out-of-date data collected for a different purpose when creating the list.”
Disclosure: As a business journalism professor at UNC, I work regularly with professors from the business school on various projects.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Wednesday that cable channel CNBC is expanding into Australia by opening a news bureau on the continent in March.
The story stated, “The aim is to grow local and regionally managed ad revenues by 25 per cent and use Australian equity markets as a key daily trading cue for Asian viewers.
“CNBC Asia Pacific’s managing director, Jeremy Pink, would not disclose the online and pay TV channel’s local revenues or first-year targets, but said Australia was increasingly important as an indicator for regional and global currency and commodity markets.
“Already companies such as British Airways and IBM book their pan-Asian ad schedules on CNBC from Australia.
“Others such as Harvey Norman, Telstra, Nissan, Volvo and Westpac buy airtime on the channel for the current Australian feed.
“Mr Pink said the worldwide revamp of CNBC’s programming format and the creation of a one-hour Australian show, which would be carried across Asia and into the ‘global feed’ every morning, would increase ad revenues from Australia by up to 25 per cent. It would also provide regional viewers with the earliest indications of how markets here were reacting to US markets.”
Read more here.
The News Hounds blog, which offers a regular critique of Fox News, noted that the channel covered the drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday with more seriousness than it usually does, but still failed in its coverage.
News Hounds wrote, “Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Neil Cavuto was off today so David Asman, a yeller and screamer, substituted and sure enough, he yelled and screamed during the entire show while simultaneously vibrating in his seat.
“Despite Asman’s talk show-like behavior, Fox seemed to be acutely aware that the dive in the Dow offered an opportunity for the show to presents itself as a real business news program, what with the pending debut of its ‘business news channel,’ so it brought in some new faces, i.e., some grownups. The standout grownup guest was Joe Battipaglia of Ryan Beck & Co. Anyone who watches business news shows knows that Battipaglia has been around for years.
“The first half hour of the show essentially consisted of a roundtable discussion between Fox employees and Battipaglia. Battipaglia brought more honesty and realism to the show than I have seen in years, all while the Fox people were scrambling to spin what he said.”
Read more here.
M. Peter McPherson, the incomg chairman of the board at Dow Jones, the parent company of the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Marketwatch, talked to the Michigan State University paper, The State News, about his new duties.
McPherson is the former president of the university.
Here are some excerpts:
The State News: President McPherson, what will your responsibilities include with this new position?
M. Peter McPherson: I’ll be working with the CEO to get the major issues that the board should decide on, on the agenda and being sure we have a process that makes those decisions. It is definitely not a CEO job because, of course, the CEO must run the corporation.
SN: Are you being groomed to become the company’s next CEO?
M. Peter McPherson: It’s not that at all. I am not a full-time employee. Major corporations have been separating the chair of the board and the jobs. Part of the good governance efforts is that there should be a separation of responsibility for the board to perform its functions well. Previous to now, we generally had the CEO be the chairman of the board, but now the decision is we will have a separate function.
Read more here.
The Corvallis Gazette-Times newspaper in Oregon unveiled Wednesday a new monthly business publication called MidValley InBusiness.
A short story in the paper stated, “‘Business is big news in Benton and Linn counties,’ said Mike McInally, the publisher of the Gazette-Times. ‘We’re excited about the possibilities that Mid-Valley InBusiness gives us to expand our business coverage and to focus on some of the biggest issues facing businesspeople in both counties.’
“Each issue of InBusiness will focus on one theme of importance to businesspeople. The first issue, for example, takes an in-depth look at the idea of sustainability and how that might affect businesses in the mid-valley. The issue includes case studies of how sustainability has played out at specific businesses and institutions in both Linn and Benton counties, including Oregon State University, Hewlett-Packard, Bombs Away Cafe, Stahlbush Island Farms and Western Pulp Products.
“In addition to stories on specific themes, each issue will include profiles of successful small businesses and businesspeople, as well as a variety of other business information.”
Read more here.