Monthly Archives: January 2009
De la Merced writes, “The newspaper company contends that Blackstone allowed multiple employees to access thousands of Financial Times articles online using a single user ID, instead of paying for individual logins for each user.
“Beginning in 2002, The Financial Times Limited says in its lawsuit, an individual in ‘a senior position in finance and compliance’ at Blackstone registered an account and paid by corporate credit cards.
“Between February 2006 and June 2008, that account viewed ‘thousands’ of articles on FT.com. The Financial Times Limited said that its records showed the account being accessed from multiple computers, both in the United States and abroad.
“The complaint charges Blackstone and 100 unnamed employees with copyright infringement and violation of computer fraud and abuse laws.”
Read more here.
Patterson writes, “Where Orman’s viewers call in seeking permission to buy Kate Spade pumps, Ramsey’s are often seeking a firm hand to guide them out of debt, which they possibly accrued in co-signing for an ex-boyfriend’s car loan. Where some shows analyze, or at least natter about, the economic-stimulus plan, Ramsey does not give a fig about it, telling one viewer, ‘I think it’s funny and it’s sad that you wait on government to fix anything in your life.’
“He sells principles, as opposed to addressing problems ad hoc, and in doing so, he often acts as an on-screen grief counselor, a platitude-free positive-thinking coach, and an extremely likable dispenser of tough love. Ramsey’s core idea â€” which used to look iconoclastic but now just seems like the common sense that it is â€” is to avoid debt at all costs.
“He preaches it in a humble, down-home, no-frills way that leaves his audience owing him plenty.”
Read more here.
Kevin Roderick of LAObserved is reporting that editors at the Los Angeles Times unsuccessfully lobbied publisher Eddy Hartenstein to cut the standalone business section instead of the California local and state news section.
Roderick writes, “I’m told that in contentious discussions in recent weeks, the editors failed to persuade Hartenstein that if a section had to go, the more palatable cut would be to move the less-read Business pages.”
Read more here.
If the Times does eventually decide to cut its standalone business section, it would be one of the largest papers to do so. Other major metro papers that have cut their business section include the Boston Globe, Denver Post and Chicago Tribune, although the Tribune has brought its section back.
Note that the Times top editors are former business editors at the paper as well. The managing editor is Davan Maharaj, while the editor is Russ Stanton. Both have been business editors at the Times this decade.
Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta write Friday in the Financial Times a list of reasons why business journalists didn’t do a good job in predicting the current economic upheaval.
Here are some of them:
1. First, business reporting is driven by competitive pressure for scoops, which leaves little time for off-diary features, analysis and “big picture” reflections on larger trends.
2. Second, many journalists lack professional training in business. Very few business journalists possess professional qualificationsÂ – as MBAs, M&A lawyers or financial accountantsÂ – that equip them with the quantitative skills needed to grasp the fine-print of the complex dealmaking they cover.
3. Third, like everybody else, business journalists have short memories. Economists frequently observe that our collective memory of previous financial crises is never sufficient to prevent the recurrence of a similar frenzy. True, the current banking crisis has its own characteristics and is not identical to a stock market crash or a speculative bubble. But the underlying cause of these painful episodes is invariably the same: cupidity, and in many cases stupidity.
4. Fourth, business journalists become cheerleaders for speculative frenzy. Walter Bagehot, the celebrated editor of The Economist in the 19th century, once observed that ‘people are most credulous when they are most happy.’ This helps explain why over-leveraged homeowners and over-bonused investment bankers were blinded by credulity and greed. It may also explain why so many seasoned business reporters failed to blow the whistle.
Read more here. Fraser, a veteran business columnist and former editor-in-chief of Canadaâ€™s National Post, is a senior research fellow at Insead. Dutta is Roland Berger chaired professor of business and technology at Insead.
There’s one glaring mistake in their commentary. They write that there’s a show on CNBC called “Money Honey” when there is not. That’s Maria Bartiromo‘s nickname.
Bercovici writes, “According to multiple sources within and close to the Journal, the newsroom is due to undergo another round of personnel cuts late next week. It’s unclear exactly how many employees will be affected, but two sources put the number of people being targeted at 50. (If, as seems likely, that is the number of people on the list to be offered buyouts, then the actual number of jobs eliminated could be substantially lower.)
“It’s also rumored that there will be parallel cuts at Dow Jones Newswires, and that one or more Journal bureaus may be eliminated as part of the cutbacks. A Dow Jones spokeswoman declined to comment.
“Since Rupert Murdoch took over Dow Jones at the end of 2007, the Journal has been relatively exempt from the wave of downsizing that has swept the newspaper industry. The exception was last summer when the paper eliminated 50 copy editing jobs in South Brunswick, N.J., and handed out a passel of exit packages. (Some of the copy desk jobs were re-created in Manhattan.)”
Read more here.
NotedÂ blogger Jeff Jarvis – who is also a journalism professor in New York –Â writes on the Huffington Post about a conversation held Thursday at the World Economic Forum about coverage leading up to the economic crisis by a group of journalists.
Jarvis writes, “The assembled journalists insisted that the crisis had been reported, that they can point to articles that warned of the insanity. I’m not sure whether that’s an effort at industrial whitewashing: If one reporter gets the story, the entire profession gets credit. But fine, let’s stipulate that the stories were written. But one of the wiser editors said that didn’t do any good because it didn’t make an impact; it didn’t register; it didn’t go mainstream.
“So is that what’s missing in journalism: the ability to bang on a story until the world pays attention? Our assumption had been that if it appeared in a major newspaper or magazine, that was the definition of attention. It assumed that the world paid attention to our news. So under this argument, we could be seeing an admission that papers and magazines have lost their juice. But let’s get past that, too. I think there is something to the idea that we aren’t good at driving a story.
“In response, I quoted Arianna Huffington telling the same group two years before that journalists have attention deficit disorder and bloggers have obsessive compulsive disorder. Josh Marshall’s key skill is dogging a story until the press and the powerful do pay attention. The press can learn from that.
“But then again, as an editor said yesterday, if an editor devotes page one every day to a warning that the sky is falling, no one will listen to him, either.”
Read more here.
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
John Meehan, who had been managing editor of Bloomberg Television in the United States, is no longer with the company in the first move of an apparent shakeup under David Rhodes, former Fox News vice president of news.
A Bloomberg spokeswoman confirmed Meehan’s departure to Talking Biz News.
Rhodes was hired late last year to headÂ Bloomberg TV’sÂ U.S. operations. Bloomberg LP named Andrew Lack as chief executive officer of its multimedia group, responsible for the companyâ€™s television, interactive and radio operations.Â Â
Meehan had previously been a senior editor at CNBC before joining Bloomberg TV in 1999.
Meehan and Ed Caldwell of Bloomberg Television won the Detroit Press Club’s prestigious Golden Wheel Award in 2006 for a segment on General Motors Corp.Â The segment also won a Deadline Club Award from the New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Dolan Media Co., which owns aÂ number ofÂ business newspapers across the country, announced Thursday that it had created a shareholder rights plan designed to prevent hostile takeovers.
In a statement, the company said, “It is designed to protect the company and its stockholders from potentially coercive takeover practices or takeover bids and to prevent an acquirer from gaining control of the company without offering a fair price to the stockholders. The plan is not intended to deter offers that are fair and otherwise in the companyâ€™s and its stockholdersâ€™ best interests.”
CEO James Dolan stated, “Our adoption of this plan was not prompted by any external actions. There have been no hostile communications, and no takeover approaches. We adopted this plan in order to give our board of directors time to evaluate and respond to any unsolicited future attempts to acquire the company.â€? He said the plan is similar to plans adopted by many public companies.
Dolan MediaÂ ownsÂ the Long Island Business News, Mississippi Business Journal,Â the Colorado Springs Business Journal, the Idaho Business Review and the Daily Journal of Commerce in Portland, Ore., among others.
Read more here.
Internet users turned to CNNMoney.com in record numbers.Â The site registered 25.5 billion total minutes in 2008, a 39 percent growth rfrom 2007, according to Omniture.
Unique visitors were also at an all-time high, with an average of over 29.8 million unique users a month, a 33 percent increase over 2007. Yearlypage views topped 5.2 billion, a 28 percent increase fromÂ 2007.
After launching its online video platform in January 2008, streaming video exploded on the site. According to Nielsen Video Census, CNNMoney.com streamed the most videos in the financial news & information group in 2008, hitting 186.6 million, with popular series such as â€œThe Business of Greenâ€? and anchor Poppy Harlowâ€™s market updates.
The site bested its closest competitor, MSN Money, by more than 200 percent. In December alone, CNNMoney.comâ€™s 21.2 million video streams were more than the siteâ€™s top 10 competitorsâ€™ numbers combined.
The site showed impressive gains all year and had a banner month as Lehman Brothers collapsed in September and users sought reliable, up-to-the-minute information about the unprecedented financial meltdown. Page views were up 62 percent from 2007 to 2008, according to Omniture, and unique visitors increased 79 percent year-over-year that same month.
Daniel Dunaief, a former Bloomberg News reporter, writes in the Smithtown Times about how business journalists should have been more skeptical of the Citicorp/Travelers merger when it was announced in 1998.
Dunaief writes, “The press conference that day revealed just how different these two financial leaders were. Weill offered amusing sound bites and off the cuff witticisms straight from his self-made Brooklyn pedigree, while Reed considered his answers, often describing what he hoped the merger would achieve.
“The stock market, which was in great shape in 1998, fell in love with the deal and the sales pitch. Citicorp shares surged $35.625, or 25 percent, to help the Dow to its first close above 9,000.
“Numerous print and TV journalists â€” caught up in the euphoria of this marriage â€” started their “exclusive” interviews with Sandy Weill and John Reed that day by congratulating them on the merger. Strange as it seems now, at the time, it was perfectly normal. It was like the sports reporters who congratulate the manager of a team that had won a big game. How could they not have felt and noticed the excitement? The stock market loved the deal and the reporters often used the market’s reaction as a scorecard. On that day, Weill, Reed and anyone who had money invested in either of their companies were winners. Investors believed in the promise of the merger.”
Read more here.