Monthly Archives: July 2010
Keith Alexander of The Washington Post reports Saturday that a judge lifted a temporary restraining order that had prevented the National Law Journal from publishing information about a federal government agency investigation into juice manufacturer POM Wonderful.
Alexander writes, “But on Wednesday, the law journal filed an emergency appeal, seeking to overturn Bartnoff’s temporary restraining order. Then on Friday, nine media organizations, including The Washington Post, the New York Times, Dow Jones & Co., the Associated Press and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, filed a brief with the District’s appellate court supporting the law journal’s request.
“By Friday afternoon, POM attorneys had asked Bartnoff to rescind the order. After hours of telephone calls between Bartnoff and attorneys for POM and the law journal, Bartnoff lifted the order that prevented the publication from identifying the agency, the Federal Trade Commission.
“‘We have won our fight,’ David L. Brown, editor in chief of the National Law Journal, said after the judge lifted the order. The publication is distributed to about 15,000 lawyers and judges.”
Read more here.
The Securities and Exchange Commission was not seeking a blanket exemption from public information laws when it asked Congress to include a little known provision in the Wall Street reform law, according to a letter it sent to lawmakers Friday.
Organizations such as the Society of American Business Editors and Writers have objected to the provision in the past week, saying it will hurt reporters’ ability to cover stories.
Annalyn Censky of CNNMoney.com writes, “The SEC responded to those concerns in its letters to Dodd and Frank on Friday, saying the exemption was merely meant to apply to documents related to routine examinations, in which companies will often reveal ‘sensitive and proprietary information’ including customer records, trading algorithms and company strategies.
“Without the exemption, the SEC said many companies would refuse to cooperate with such examinations out of fear that their private information may be made public. The FOIA exemption makes it harder for companies to refuse to participate in the examinations, the SEC.
“‘It will allow the SEC to gain access in a timely fashion to information and data that it otherwise may not receive, thereby further enhancing our ability to identify fraud and root out wrongdoing,’ Schapiro said in the letters.”
Read more here.
Michael Lev, the assistant managing editor of business at the Chicago Tribune, writes about how the business desk covers its paper’s parent company, the Tribune Co.
Lev writes, “First of all, no one outside the newsroom, including any executive on any other floor of Tribune Tower, ever has access to our stories before publication, or dictates coverage in any way. We decide what we should write, and when, without any interference from company management.
“For those who cover Tribune and edit those stories, recognizing and dealing with potential conflicts is a daily exercise. In some cases, it means that reporters do not attend ‘town hall’ staff meetings. That way, they avoid hearing internal Tribune Co. information meant only for employees. In other cases, it means making the appropriate editing accommodations. For example, if we quote Tribune Editor Gerould Kern, he would not see that story before publication.
“One important practice is to disclose our relationships. In the business section, any time we write about Tribune Co. or one of its businesses, such as WGN radio or television, we note that the Chicago Tribune is also owned by Tribune Co.
“Often, the bigger challenge is to separate what’s of burning interest to us as Tribune employees from what is interesting and relevant to readers. The latest turn of the screw about our 401(k) plan may be a subject of fascination within the Tower, but who else truly cares?”
Read more here.
A U.S. bankruptcy court judge has OKed the sale of some weekly business newspapers and business magazines owned by Ohio-based Brown Publishing to a new company formed by some of its executives.
Frank Eltman of the Associated Press reports, “Edward Fox, an attorney who represented Brown Publishing, said he was pleased with the judge’s ruling, which he claimed would save 800 jobs. ‘We’re very happy that business will continue,’ Fox said.
“Thomas Clark Carlson, an investment banker appointed to oversee the sale, echoed the attorney’s comments.
“‘I’m pleased the court gave its approval,’ he said moments after the judge made the ruling late Thursday afternoon. ‘We’re happy to be going forward with the sale.’
“Brown Media Holdings Co. and Brown Publishing Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief in May. Newspapers, which get the bulk of their revenue from advertisements, have been struggling in the economic recession and from reliance by news consumers on websites and other nonprint resources. Brown is the latest of several publishers that filed for bankruptcy protection.”
Read more here.
The company owns the Des Moines Business Record in Iowa, the Fort Worth Business Press in Texas and the Boulder County Business Report in Colorado and a majority ownership of the Northern Colorado Business Report in Fort Collins, and the Wyoming Business Report in Cheyenne.
It also owns the Charleston Regional Business Journal, the Columbia Regional Business Report, SC Biz and GSA Business, all in South Carolina. It also owns Utah Business magazine.
Gabriella Stern, the senior editor for global news coverage at Dow Jones Newswires, and Charlie Roth, an assistant managing editor overseeing Dow Jones Newswires’ Latin America coverage, sent out the following announcement on Friday:
“We’re pleased to announce that Carolina Pica has been promoted to bureau chief of the Santiago, Chile, bureau, where she has been spearheading coverage of Chile’s fast-growing economy as well as politics, markets, and the key mining sector. Carolina will also oversee the five-person (and soon growing to seven) Spanish-language translation team in Santiago; the team will have a dotted line to New York-based News Editor Dick Streuly. Dick will also play a key role in the establishment of our Portuguese language service in Brazil.
“Carolina, who served as Bridge News’s Chile bureau chief earlier in her career, joined Dow Jones Newswires in 2004. She has been an ace reporter, regularly breaking news on mining in the world’s No. 1 copper-producing country. In April, Carolina was the first reporter in any news organization—local or foreign–to secure an exclusive interview with Sebastian Pinera one month after he took office as Chile’s first democratically elected conservative president in more than half a century. She capitalized on that interview to score exclusives with the country’s top finance and trade officials. She also distinguished herself in coverage of Chile’s massive February earthquake, producing dramatic copy about the human toll as well as market-relevant stories on the quake’s damage.
“A Chilean native raised mostly in the U.S., Carolina has bachelor of arts degrees in journalism and Spanish literature from the University of Maryland, and is a Georgetown University-certified translator.”
Jim Romenesko has a memo from Slate Group editor in chief Jacob Weisberg and publisher John Alderman announcing that its immediately shuttering its business news site The Big Money.
The memo states, “This has been a difficult decision, in part because so many aspects of the project have worked as we hoped. Jim Ledbetter and his team have done a first-rate job on the magazine itself, cultivating a talented crew of young writers, coming up with terrific features like Recessionary Road and The Facebook 50, and responding with speed and style to business news. In his short time as Publisher, Brendan Monaghan has broken new ground for the Slate Group as a whole, most importantly by masterminding our recent Untethered Conference.
“The problem, in a nutshell, is that the site is not pointed toward profitability on a fast enough timetable. We’ve struggled to grow the site’s traffic to carry enough ad inventory to run a profitable business. There are some specific reasons for this slow growth which relate primarily to the category rather than to the quality of the magazine. Our timing also could have been better. TBM launched the week of the Lehman Brothers collapse in September 2008, and its existence has coincided with a deep trough in advertising market for business-oriented publications.
“The decision to close TBM as a separate destination doesn’t signal a move away from business as a category or a subject. To the contrary, we expect Slate’s engagement with business to get much stronger as a result of folding in aspects of what the separate site has been doing.”
Read more here.
Publishing company Reed Elsevier, which owns LexisNexis, is asking a federal appeals court to uphold a finding that TheFlyOnTheWall.com misappropriates banks’ ‘hot news’ by reposting their stock recommendations.
Wendy Davis of MediaPost writes, “Reed Elsevier says in a recent court filing that it could face ‘devastating economic effects’ if it lost the ability to prevent other publishers from summarizing its time-sensitive material. The company runs news services like The Pink Sheet Daily, which offers updated news about the biopharmaceutical industry, and ICIS.com, a news service about the chemical industry. It also owns the LexisNexis databases.
“‘Reed Elsevier has invested and continues to invest billions of dollars in the collection, organization, and verification of the information provided through these services in print, email, and via the internet,’ the company says in its legal papers, adding that laws preventing misappropriation prevent ‘economically destructive conduct by those who wish to reap where they have not sown.’
“The current legal debate about hot news stems from a lawsuit by Barclays, Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, alleging that the site TheFlyOnTheWall.com unlawfully posted summaries of the banks’ time-sensitive research before their clients received the information.”
Read more here. The Associated Press, the parent company of American City Business Journals, the New York Times Co. and other media companies have also filed an amicus brief in the case.
Chinese police who put a business reporter on the country’s most wanted list for writing critically about a company have been forced to apologize to the journalist.
Loretta Chao of The Wall Street Journal writes, “Qiu Ziming, a reporter for the Economic Observer, wrote a series of articles for the newspaper starting last month that accused managers at Zhejiang Kan Specialty Material Co., a Shenzhen-listed paper manufacturer, of illegal activities including insider trading and embezzlement. On July 23, police in Suichang County, where Kan Specialty Material is located, added Mr. Qiu to a list of wanted criminals for ‘damaging a company’s business reputation.’ Mr. Qiu and his family went into hiding to avoid being detained, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“The police move prompted widespread criticism, as word of the affair spread over the Internet through Twitter-like microblogging services that are becoming increasingly popular in China. Then, on Thursday afternoon, the public security bureau in Lishui City, which oversees Suichang County, issued a notice on its website announcing that the Suichang authorities would be required to apologize and to remove Mr. Qiu from the list because the detention order didn’t meet legal requirements.
“Kan Specialty Material has steadfastly denied wrongdoing, and the merits of Mr. Qiu’s accusations couldn’t be independently confirmed. Mr. Qiu couldn’t be reached for comment.”
by Chris Roush
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Talking Biz News has learned that Jerry Burke has re-joined the Fox family as a consultant to the new Fox Business Network show “Money Rocks,” hosted by Eric Bolling.
“Money Rocks” started last month on June 21 and airs at 8 p.m. It replaced a personal finance show hosted by Dave Ramsey and stars Bolling, who previously had been at CNBC.
Burke had most recently been with rival CNBC as executive producer of the mid-day show “Power Lunch” for the past two years.
Burke had a short stint at the TV Guide Network and before that was an executive producer at Fox News Channel. Burke left Fox in March 2007 when he was co-executive producer of “Fox & Friends.”
Burke was also a field producer for “Inside Edition” and New York bureau chief for “Extra.”
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Charlotte Observer business editor Patrick Scott sent out the following announcement on Thursday:
“Stella Hopkins and Jen Aronoff are leaving the paper for new opportunities. Stella is going to work for Bank of America in a newly created job working with the bank’s regulators, and Jen is going back to her alma mater Northwestern to get her law degree. Both will be sorely missed by the Business team and the paper.
“Stella has been the rock for the team and critical to the Observer’s watchdog mission, taking on the big stories and heavyweights in Carolinas business since she arrived in 1992. She wound up on 1A her first day, thrown into reporting on the USAir strike, and went on to cover just about every aspect of business. For much of her time, she has specialized in business investigations, distinguishing the paper in reports ranging from Duke Energy’s profiteering in energy trading to poor care and deaths at VA hospitals to businesses exploiting loopholes in the immigration system.
“Stella immerses herself in issues to the point of knowing them better than her sources. When we had a particularly complex and difficult story to seize, when we needed a reporter on the ground in China and India to connect trends to the Carolinas, when we needed someone to wrestle down the annual executive pay report, we turned to Stella.
“Most recently, we’ve relied on her for coverage on two major stories: the roiling housing market and the wounded banking sector. Stella has been a force for good in helping people save their homes as they got stuck in the quagmire of mortgage modification. She has developed a depth of expertise matched by few reporters covering housing in the U.S. She has created databases of foreclosures, housing sales and prices, as well as troubled commercial real estate, that have produced a variety of exclusive enterprise. She has also become an expert on the role of bank boards of directors in the financial crisis, insider loans to banking officials, and the rising number of troubled banks in the Carolinas and what that means for readers and the future.
“Through the years, Stella has helped the team win numerous national business awards for breaking news coverage and this year earned her own plaque from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers as an enterprise winner for a package on how the board of directors blundered in the failure of Cape Fear Bank.
“Said Stella: ‘My 22 years in newspapers have taken me around the world and backstage on events large and small. I have, with the help of editors and many others, been able to help people, expose wrongdoing and hypocrisy and even right a wrong or two. Now I’m onto an exciting new chapter, where I’ll use skills some of you helped me acquire in a new way.’
“Jen came to us in November 2004 after she graduated from Northwestern and Jim Walser saw talent in her clips. She worked in each of the regional offices covering everything from growth to Google, and joined Business to cover retail in early 2008. Jen developed impressive expertise on the retail beat and became one of our most gifted storytellers. She recently dove into chronicling the transformation of Discovery Place and Eastland Mall and took us to the outskirts of the region to explain the impact of slowing growth — each story evidence of Jen’s curiosity, intellect, enthusiasm, thorough reporting and literary touch.
“Jen has a talent for finding stories with a twist, like walking the mall with a marketing professor to show how stores to try to manipulate consumers. She also made sure she had fun, blogging about American Idol, finding ways to write about milkshakes and other sweets and checking out greasy spoons across the region, from The Shrimp Boat in Gastonia to the Varsity in Rock Hill.
“Jen amped up our holiday retail coverage with stories including the memorable ‘Locked, Loaded and Levy Free’ on the S.C. sales-tax holiday for guns. She was a key player in the whiplash of the collapse of Wachovia, owning the coverage of shareholders on the losing end of the sale of the bank and helping the team win breaking news SABEW awards for banking coverage that year. She also helped win a breaking news award this year, coming back to work the evening Brian Moynihan was named BofA CEO.
“Said Jen: ‘I’ve appreciated all of this so much, and I have loved having the chance to get to know this region and tell its stories. Now, I am also looking forward to trying something new, and to returning to the Great Lakes, winters and all.’
“Jen’s last day will be Aug. 11 and Stella’s final day will be early in the week of Aug. 16.
“We will be filling the two positions. If you are interested in covering retails/sports business or housing/special projects, let’s talk by Aug. 13.”