Stories by Chris Roush Chris Roush

Hal Ritter

Ritter, former AP and USA Today business editor, is retiring

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Hal Ritter, who was business editor of the Associated Press from 2008 to 2013 and previously business editor of the Times-Union in Rochester, N.Y., and managing editor/Money of USA Today, is retiring next month.

Current AP business editor Kevin Shinkle sent out the following to the staff on Thursday:

I wanted to pass on the news that Hal is retiring after a long and distinguished career in journalism that most certainly includes his tenure as business editor here at the AP. His last day is Sunday, April 6.

Before becoming weekend editor, Hal taught us all to shoot higher every day — whether it was developing great ideas, editing better, digging deeper in our reporting or writing more conversationally. Details matter. Numbers are critical. Think, analyze and explain.

Sure, he had his faults. He had great shoes — if only he had worn them more often at his desk. And his proclivity to edit emails for grammar? Irritating to be sure. Who? Whom? Whatever.

But Hal came to work every day ready to do great journalism. I know I will miss his mentoring and his friendship. He was a tireless advocate for this department and the importance of business and economic news in general. Under his direction, our department got on a roll that hopefully continues long into the future.

Please join me in wishing him well as he embarks on his next chapter.

Hopefully, this note was written for readers.

Ritter has a degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and an MBA from Stanford Business School. In 2000, Ritter was named one of the 100 greatest business journalists of the 20th century by TJFR and MasterCard. In February, he was named AP weekend editor.

Wall Street Journal

WSJ accused of violating video privacy law

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Dow Jones & Co. has been hit with a potential class-action lawsuit accusing it of violating federal video privacy laws with the Wall Street Journal‘s Roku app.

Wendy Davis of MediaPost.com writes, “Georgia resident Terry Locklear alleges in her complaint that the news company’s app automatically transmits information about the Wall Street Journal Live clips that users view — along with the serial number of their Roku devices — to the analytics and video ad company mDialog. Locklear argues that this activity violates the Video Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits video providers from revealing consumers’ personally identifiable information without their written consent.

“‘Unbeknownst to its users … each time they view video clips or news reports, the WSJ Channel sends a record of such activities to an unrelated third-party data analytics and video advertising company called mDialog,’ she alleges in her lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. ‘The complete record is sent each time that a user views a video clip or news report, along with the serial number associated with the user’s Roku device.’

“Locklear asserts in the complaint that a Roku’s serial number is a ‘persistent identifier’ that can be matched with users’ identities to reveal ‘a wealth of extremely precise information’ about them. ‘Software applications that transmit a Roku’s serial number along with the user’s activity provide an intimate look into how the user interacts with their channels, which can reveal information such as the user’s political or religious affiliation, employment information, articles and videos viewed, and even detail about the sequence of events in which the user interacts with their Roku,’ she alleges.

“Dow Jones did not respond to a request for comment.”

Read more here.

bloomberg

Bloomberg should have rethought articles on China, says chairman

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Bloomberg News should have reconsidered articles that deviated from its core business-news coverage in light of the huge potential for its products in the Chinese market, the chairman of Bloomberg LP said in a speech on Thursday.

Neil Gough of the New York Times writes, “Bloomberg, the financial data and news company, relies on sales of its terminals, which are ubiquitous on bankers’ desks around the world, for around 82 percent of its $8.5 billion in revenue. But sales of those terminals in China declined sharply after the company published an article in June 2012 on the family wealth of Xi Jinping, at that time the incoming Communist Party chief. Following its publication, officials ordered state enterprises not to subscribe to the service.

“Acknowledging the vast size of the Chinese economy, the world’s second biggest after that of the United States, the chairman, Peter T. Grauer, said, ‘We have to be there.’

“‘We have about 50 journalists in the market, primarily writing stories about the local business and economic environment,’ Mr. Grauer said in response to questions after a speech at the Asia Society. ‘You’re all aware that every once in a while we wander a little bit away from that and write stories that we probably may have kind of rethought — should have rethought.’

“He did not specifically mention the article about Mr. Xi or any other articles.

“Mr. Grauer’s comments on Bloomberg’s journalistic priorities in China reflect what some Bloomberg employees say is a re-emphasis on financial news and skepticism from the business side of the company that investigative journalism might not be worth the potential problems it could create for terminal sales.”

Read more here.

Venture Beat

Confessions of a former tech journalist

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Bekah Grant, who was a technology reporter for VentureBeat, writes about her job on Medium.com.

Grant writes, “I wrote an average of 5 posts a day, churning out nearly 1,740 articles over the course of 20 months. That is, by all objective standards, insane.

“Busy days were a blur of furious typing, rushed calls, and ignoring everything that wasn’t news (like food and water). There would be days with 20 funding announcements, on top of everything else we covered. VB writers could have a post up in 15 minutes if the situation demanded. Online publishing is a horse race and speed is critical.

“When a story breaks, you could take a couple hours to do research, call to sources, and write a contextualized, edited piece — but by that time, 5 of your competitors will have posted on the story. You will look slow and readers will have moved onto the next thing. The reality is that original reporting and careful editing fall by the wayside in the desire to be fast.

“Volume is also key. Most of the tech news sites post something at least once an hour and throughout the night, even when there isn’t news. Fresh content keeps people coming back to the site again and again, regardless of its quality.

“The need for speed and volume is primary driven by one thing — pageviews. Pageviews are what sell advertisements, and advertisements are what keep most online publications running — particularly the small independent ones. Are they a good barometer for quality? No, but the reality of online journalism is that you need pageviews to survive.”

Read more here.

Boston Business Journal

Boston Business Journal seeks health care reporter

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The Boston Business Journal, the Boston area’s leading business publication, seeks a talented, experienced and creative journalist to cover the local health care beat.

We’re looking for a highly competitive individual with at least five years of reporting experience and a demonstrated record of success across mulitple platforms — long-form reporting, breaking digital news, data reporting, blogging/new analysis, social media, and video.

Send résumé and links to your best work to executive editor George Donnelly at gdonnelly@bizjournals.com.

American Lawyer

American Lawyer seeks reporter

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The American Lawyer, a prize-winning Web site and monthly magazine that reports on the business of major law firms among other legal topics, is seeking a staff reporter for its online news operation, The Am Law Daily.

We cover subjects such as the top grossing firms globally; the work they handle; the lawyers at those firms; career issues; management issues; and much more. We are on top of the leading business news every day – from a law firm/legal angle. We are looking for an energetic reporter with an eye for such news who can write well on tight deadlines.

Responsibilities include:

Reporting and writing stories mainly for The Am Law Daily but also for The American Lawyer magazine.
Developing sources, gathering news, and supporting stories in other areas of the Web and in the magazine.
Establishing and broadening a base of industry contacts.
Identifying and acting on story opportunities.

Requirements include:

Bachelors Degree in Journalism, English or related field of study.
Three years of legal and/or business journalism experience.
Ability and interest in analyzing data sets including financial and statistical data.
Ability to develop ongoing source relationships.
Strong reporting and writing skills.
Good interviewing skills.
Excellent organizational and communication skills.
Strong nose for news.
Able to work well under pressure in a fast paced environment.

Qualified candidates should submit resume and cover letter with salary requirements to opportunities@alm.com for immediate consideration. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted. No phone calls or agencies please.

Stock-Market

Study: Stock market blogs beat financial news articles

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The tone of stock market opinion blogs published on investor forum SeekingAlpha.com predicted stock returns, as well as earnings surprises, above and beyond what was evident from Wall Street analyst reports and financial news articles, according to researchers from City University of Hong Kong, Purdue University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Yuliya Chernova of The Wall Street Journal writes, “The researchers also noted that Seeking Alpha predicted stock returns above what was evident from news articles. The report used news stories published on Dow Jones News Service, which is a part of Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones declined to comment.

“Overall, the findings fit with prior analysis in other fields on the way crowds can outsmart, or at least be just as smart, as professionals. Studies have shown, for example, that Wikipedia accuracy is similar to that of Encyclopedia Britannica.

“Crowd platforms have other advantages over professionals, besides accuracy — Seeking Alpha, for example, covers a greater stock universe than stock analysts, and Wikipedia has more subject entries than Encyclopedia Britannica. Plus, both get updated and revised as things change more quickly than their professional counterparts, Dr. Hu said.”

Read more here.

Bloomberg-TV-online

Bloomberg TV seeks field producer

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Bloomberg Television seeks an experienced field producer to work on stories that will run on Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg’s digital platforms.

The producer will pitch, research, book, and write stories in the field, taking sometimes complex business issues and making them understandable. The successful candidate will manage several projects at once, multi-task and prioritize assignments and schedules. Control room experience and familiarity producing content for multiple platforms is preferred.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • 5+ years of recent and relevant experience producing television news
  • Track record of experience in live segment and field producing
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and interest in business news
  • Experience with digital media platforms and integration with the ability to contribute to the creation and production of digital video and graphics
  • Ability to shoot video using DV cameras and edit preferred
  • Flexible to travel as needed
  • Must be willing and able to work flexible hours, under tight deadline pressure, including breaking news

To apply, go here.

 

mergers and acquisitions

Rumors, accuracy and the M&A beat

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Only one third of stories written about companies being takeover targets between 2000 and 2011 proved to be accurate, according to research by two business school professors.

“Accuracy” was defined by whether the rumored takeover target received an official offer within one year of the story. The researchers discovered that accurate rumor articles are more likely to mention a specific takeover price, to discuss possible bidders, and to indicate that negotiations are in an advanced stage.

The research, by Kenneth Ahern at the University of Southern California and Denis Sosyura at the University of Michigan, reviewed 2,142 articles written about 501 rumors between 2000 and 2011. Of those rumors, only 167 were followed by a public bid for the company. The Wall Street Journal was the most prolific publisher of such articles, with 158 during the time period. It was followed by Dow Jones Newswires with 67 and the New York Times with 38.

“The rumors published in the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones News Service are also more accurate than the average rumor, with accuracy rates of about 39%, compared to 33% for the average rumor,” wrote the researchers. “In contrast, the Los Angeles Times and NYT Blogs have accuracy rates less than 20%.”

Among the journalists covering mergers and acquisitions during this time period, the researchers found that Dennis Berman of The Wall Street Journal wrote the most accurate articles, with 62.5 percent of his rumored deal stories receiving a public offer within a year. Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times, who also covered mergers and acquisitions during this time period, had a 42.1 percent accuracy rate.

Nikhil Deogun of The Journal had a 53.8 percent accurate rating, while Robin Sidel of The Journal had a 55.6 percent accuracy rating.

Deogun now oversees editorial content at CNBC, while Berman is the business editor of The Journal and doesn’t actively report on M&A anymore. Sorkin also works for CNBC now.

Among media sources, Bloomberg News had the highest accuracy rate — 80 percent — of its rumored deal stories, according to the research. The Los Angeles Times and NYT Blogs both had accuracy rates of 16.7 percent.

“In the literal sense, as long as any person, anywhere, with a degree of knowledge suggests to someone else that a firm is ripe for a takeover, a merger rumor is published in the press as accurate,” noted the authors. “However, this is an extremely low bar for accuracy. It just implies that the journalist is not fabricating the rumor.”

To read the research, go here.

 

usnewsworldr

US News & World Report seeks economics reporter

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The News & Opinion section of U.S. News & World Report is looking for an experienced economics reporter well versed in macroeconomic policy and trends. This is a high-profile reporting position with a broad scope and the opportunity to do significant work that identifies and reports on trends in the national and global economy.

It’s also a highly productive beat, and requires a journalist up for the challenge. The successful applicant should be comfortable covering economics at the intersection of the public and private sector. It will not be enough to write what happened; it will also require the ability to explain why. The writer will cover the Federal Reserve as well as economic trends in the business world. The candidate must be able to understand complex issues and write clearly, accurately and authoritatively.

We are looking for a critical thinker who knows how to dispense with acronyms and jargon to explain what’s working and what’s not – whether it is Obama’s jobs program or the Fed’s stimulus plan. An understanding of how politics plays into economics is also required.

The candidate should be as comfortable interviewing Fed governors as CEOs.

This is a position requiring a lot of collaboration with other writers. The ability to be a team player is essential. The writer will be expected to both be able to turn around a breaking news item on the latest jobs report as well as a rich, analytical piece on deflation.

A minimum of three years of reporting experience, with specific coverage of economic news, is required.

Additional requirements:

·         Strong editorial sensibility and news judgment

·         Excellent knowledge of grammar and AP style

·         Strong communication and organizational skills

·         Awareness of social media tools

Applicants must provide two references, a résumé, cover letter and three writing examples. Please send all materials to newsjobs@usnews.com and include “Economics Reporter” in the subject line.