Monthly Archives: December 2010
Allen Wastler, the managing editor of CNBC.com, writes about the potential for press conferences at the Federal Reserve Board, which has not been holding such events.
Wastler writes, “It’s a notion of particular interest to business journalists, since we’re covering the institution all the time. The central bank is typically aloof and guarded in its communications. The Big Guy’s unscripted discussions usually come in appearances before Congress or in carefully controlled interviews with journalists who aren’t beat reporters (see the ‘60 Minutes’ appearance a few weeks ago. My colleague Steve Liesman had a few choice words about that).
“When the Fed chairman does speak, the answers can be a little opaque and hard to follow. Alan Greenspan was the master of the turgid comeback, but Bernanke can do some mean gobbledigook too.
“Of course, there’s a good reason for all this. One misstatement or fumbled answer from the Fed Chief could conceivably give the Flash Crash a run for its money. Nevertheless the central bank isn’t getting credit for keeping its distance these days. Instead it’s getting grief for its lack of transparency.
“Press conferences would change the journalistic ball game somewhat. For starters, you’d get the chance to publicly say what most people are probably thinking: ‘What exactly does THAT mean, Mr. Chairman?’”
Read more here.
Suzanne Sataline, the hospitals reporter at the Wall Street Journal, is leaving the paper.
In an e-mail to the staff on Thursday afternoon, Sataline wrote, “After five years and three beats – most memorably, under the guidance and fellowship of the hallowed Boston bureau — I’m leaving the Journal. I have enormous respect for the work you do. It’s been a pleasure working with so many talented people, especially the reporters who generously shared their time, knowledge and advice through the years. I will miss you.”
Sataline joined the Journal in January 2005. She previously was a national news reporter based in New York and the paper’s national religion reporter, detailing how religion shaped the 2008 presidential race. She also covered Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Previously, Sataline worked as a correspondent for the Boston Globe and as a staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Daily News and the Hartford Courant.
She graduated from Syracuse University in 1985, where she was the managing editor of the student newspaper. Sataline was a Nieman Fellow in 1998-99.
Richard Anguiano, the editor of the Ocala Business Journal in Florida, writes Thursday about the paper’s closing after four years.
Anguiano writes, “Above all, I cannot thank enough, you, the readers, who invited me to your businesses, your trade shows, the meetings of your professional organizations. You shared story tips, a friendly lunch now and then, and the occasional piece of constructive criticism. (Perhaps the most valuable bit of feedback I received was from a dedicated reader who called to say we’d left a key piece of information out of one profile.)
“My conservative estimate is we told 1,000 stories about Marion County’s business community in 46 editions and tried to give it to you straight — the news being neither positive nor negative, but the news. That said, I do wish we had a happier overall picture to paint.
“Thankfully, this isn’t a parting of the ways; I will remain at the Star-Banner and will be involved a new venture involving online and social media aimed at gathering and sharing the news of groups throughout Marion County, including the business community. I’ll continue in shut-up-and-listen mode for this new project and will seek your input.
“In the meantime, there’s still one issue left of Ocala Business Journal. Enjoy it and keep in touch.”
Read more here. The paper was produced by the Ocala Star Banner, a New York Times paper.
Erik Sherman of BNET reports that Forbes.com is taking free content from bloggers and wants to resell it in other formats.
Sherman writes, “In other words, Forbes can take any free blog material and use it in any of its magazines or give permission to any other publisher that has licensed the Forbes name. It can sell rights to others to use the blog posts and also sell reprints. These rights last forever and extend to all wireless and mobile. And the writers get nothing.
“This is irony thick enough to cut, to say nothing of the stance being fundamentally dismissive of the writers that publisher wants to attract. If something is worth selling, it is worth paying for. Then again, I recently spoke with someone who worked for DVorkin when he still had True/Slant — before he sold it to Forbes, locked in his new job, and cut loose most of the writers who had helped build the site.
“‘We all got a form letter — a form letter: Your contract is up,’ the person said. ‘Thank you for your help. It was [addressed] ‘Dear contributor.’ They couldn’t even fill in our names. If he was having a heart attack in the gutter, I wouldn’t call 911.’ Ouch. At least he was paying writers something back then. Call the Forbes.com angle a refinement. Who said you can’t take it with you?”
Read more here.
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Andrew Ross Sorkin, the chief mergers and acquisitions reporter for The New York Times, is Talking Biz News business journalist of the year for 2010.
Sorkin also oversees the Dealbook section of the Times business coverage, and he also authored “Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the FinancialSystem–and Themselves.”
“Andrew has helped make The Times’s Business Day section a must read for news about Wall Street,” said Larry Ingrassia, the business editor of the Times. “Whether it is scoops about m&a deals or commentary that sheds light on the news or his award-winning book about the financial meltdown that grew out of his New York Times reporting, Andrew has become one of the preeminent journalists chronicling the business world.”
His selection is based on an unscientific, subjective review by Talking Biz News. Sorkin beat out three other semifinalists: Gillian Tett of the Financial Times, who oversees its U.S. coverage; Bloomberg News columnist Michael Lewis, who wrote “The Big Short;” and Bloomberg Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel.
This past year “has proven to be a great narrative for business journalism as we begin to ‘reform’ — and I put that word in quotes on purpose — our financial system,” said Sorkin on Thursday. “I imagine the post-crisis story, plus the emerging TBTF problems in Europe — and our own municipalities — will provide great fodder for 2011.”
Although some criticize Sorkin for being too cozy to the Wall Street and investment banker sources that he covers, he is still one of the hardest-working business journalists in the country, and he is not afraid of criticizing business.
For example, his Jan. 11, 2010 column about the first hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission suggested questions that should be asked of Wall Street CEOs. Sorkin wanted the CEO of Goldman Sachs to be asked about the collateralized debt obligations that lost money to most of the people who bought them from Goldman, and he wanted the CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase to be asked about the firm’s request for collateral from Lehman Brothers, which hastened its demise.
In his June 1 column, Sorkin took a similar strategy in attacking credit ratings and how they duped many investors. And on Aug. 31, he examined why Wall Streeters were walking away from their support of President Barack Obama. In addition to his weekly column, he wrote breaking news stories on the M&A beat.
And he has embraced new media delivery systems with more than 327,000 followers on Twitter. He also began producing short radio segments called “The Business Brief with Andrew Ross Sorkin” for the U.S. Radio Network beginning July 12.
Dealbook has undergone an expansion in the past year as well, adding staff and content in the printed Times during the week.
“The expansion of the DealBook online financial news site as part of Business Day is testament to his vision in embracing the Web as a way for newspapers to build new audiences,” added Ingrassia.
Sorkin thanked the Dealbook staff and executives at the Times for its success.
“I’m remarkably proud of the strong team of journalists, both editors and reporters, that we have been able to hire and assemble for the expanded DealBook,” he said in an e-mail on Thursday. “They are the ones who have made the new DealBook such a success. And, of course, everyone from Jill Abramson, the paper’s managing editor to Larry Ingrassia, the business editor, and the entire Bizday team, made this expansion happen. For that, I am tremendously grateful.”
His book won the 2010 Gerald Loeb Award for best business book of the year, was on the shortlist for the 2010 Samuel Johnson Prize, shortlisted for the 2010 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, and was on The New York Times Best Seller list (business) for six months.
Sorkin is an assistant editor of business and finance news at the Times, helping guide and shape the paper’s coverage. He’s also been controversial this year, being spanked by Times columnist Paul Krugman for writing that Krugman advocated nationalizing banks.
Sorkin won a Gerald Loeb Award, the highest honor in business journalism, in 2004 for breaking news. He also won a Society of American Business Editors and Writers Award for breaking news in 2005 and again in 2006.
Sorkin began writing for The Times in 1995 under unusual circumstances: he was still in high school. He joined the Times in 1999 after graduating from Cornell University.
The Wall Street Journal reported an analysis of the news it published in 2010 reveals an array of words and terms that starred in this year’s coverage – many of which rarely appeared in 2009, if at all.
Covering topics ranging from volcanoes and other disasters to sports and financial events, fashion trends and automobile recalls, the “Words of the Year” interactive feature includes photos and coverage, maps, info-graphics, timelines and more to help showcase the words that told the stories of 2010.
The Journal “Words of the Year” highlights include:
- “Greece” appeared 1,406 times in 2010 – compared to 213 in 2009;
- “Tea Party” appeared 549 times this year, up from 46 last year;
- Also spiking in appearances over 2009 include “Wikileaks,” rising from just one appearance last year to 167 this year; “sudden acceleration” from Toyotas resulting in a jump of eight to 127 appearances; and new airport security measures helping “pat down” grow from two to 19 appearances;
- The World Cup in South Africa brought “vuvuzela” up to 18 appearances from two last year, while President Obama’s post-midterm election reference to “shellacking” resulted in that word’s appearance 19 times versus four in 2009;
- Words that appeared this year after a hiatus in 2009 include the “flash crash,” a volcano named “Eyjafjallajokull,” “check in” from Foursquare, and Deepwater Horizon’s “blowout preventer;”
- The April debut of the iPad resulted in its appearance more than 550 times.
Editors scoured a list of every word that appeared in The Journal since Jan. 1, 2010, using technology from Factiva, a research product owned by Dow Jones & Co. The list was stripped of common terms such as “the” and ordered by frequency, noting how many times each word appeared in the newspaper.
Editors then narrowed the list to 30, favoring words that symbolized news or cultural developments of note in 2010. Factiva then calculated article counts for 2010 and 2009. The winning words were identified when the calculations revealed a leap in usage from year to year.
Reuters is now distributing press releases of its parent company’s corporate clients in its editorial feed to Yahoo! Finance, according to Dominic Jones of IR Web Report.
Jones writes, “The development appears to run counter to the Reuters Trust Principles, a set of standards designed to safeguard the respected global newswire’s editorial independence from Thomson Reuters Corporation’s commercial interests.
“One of the five principles states: ‘That Thomson Reuters shall supply unbiased and reliable news services to newspapers, news agencies, broadcasters and other media subscribers and to businesses governments, institutions, individuals and others with whom Thomson Reuters has or may have contracts.’
“However, the Reuters news feed delivered to Yahoo! Finance now includes complete, unedited press releases from Thomson Reuters’ corporate clients in amongst Reuters news articles. Press releases of non-Thomson Reuters clients are not being distributed to Yahoo! Finance. The press release headlines are virtually indistinguishable from the newswire’s editorial content.”
Read more here.
Misty Williams has left the business weekly Atlanta Business Chronicle to cover health care at the daily Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Williams was the industry focus/strategies editor at the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that she was at the East Valley Tribune in Phoenix, where she covered real estate, and The Bakersfield Californian, where she covered real estate and other topics.
She’s just the latest change in the Atlanta business journalism market.
Last month, Andy Peters left the Fulton County Daily Report to join the Chronicle, where he had worked earlier in his career. Cameron McWhirter, an enterprise and watchdog reporter for the Journal-Constitution, was hired to work for the Wall Street Journal. He replaced Corey Dade, who left the Journal’s Atlanta bureau to work for NPR in Washington.
Brian Grow, an award-winning reporter formerly at BusinessWeek, has joined the Thomson Reuters Professional news team as senior writer for law and will be based in Atlanta. He had been based in Atlanta for BusinessWeek.
And earlier this year, Scott Trubey, who had covered banking and finance for the Chronicle, was hired to cover the same beat for the Journal-Constitution. The daily also hired Arielle Kass in August from Crain’s Cleveland Business to cover retail and UPS.
TheStreet.com media critic Marek Fuchs doesn’t understand why the media is falling all over themselves to report the analyst research coming out about General Motors when it is primarily from firms that underwrote its initial public offering.
Alex Schiff of Benzinga reports that the comments made by Fox Business Network‘s Charles Gasparino that he was not given a chance to respond to a post by Reuters blogger Felix Salmon before it was posted has been met with a reply by Salmon.
Schiff writes, “As I had done the interview with Charlie and an earlier interview with Felix Salmon, Felix emailed me to get his side out.
“‘Gasparino has a standing invitation to respond in as much detail and at as much length as he likes, with the response appearing on that particular blog entry, or elsewhere on my blog, or on his blog, or anywhere he wants,’ Felix wrote. ‘So far, he has consistently refused to say anything on the record about the incident in question.’
“Charlie was unable to be reached for a response.
“What’s interesting to me about this debate is the degree to which the lines between traditional journalism and the blogosphere are blurring. Consider, for example, Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Dealbook. While it is typically referred to as a blog (it even won a Webby Award for Best Business Blog in 2007 and an EPpy Award for Best Business Blog in 2008), it breaks news nearly as frequently as any other section of the New York Times — does that make Sorkin a blogger or journalist? I don’t think anyone that listened to my interview with him a few months ago could say he’s not a journalist, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive.”
Read more here.