Stories by Chris Roush
by Chris Roush
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette said Tuesday that it would once againÂ publish short list of mutual funds to the business section Tuesday through Friday after receiving reader complaints.
A short item in the paper stated, “We dropped our mutual fund listings from the Tuesday through Friday newspapers in January and began using that space to provide additional business news, including more stories on quarterly earnings reports. We did, however, continue to run mutual funds in the Sunday Journal Gazette.
“Many newspapers across the country are reducing the amount of space they dedicate to mutual fund and stock listings. But based on the calls and e-mails we received, we know that many of our readers still place a value on finding this information in the newspaper.
“The mutual funds list that we will run Tuesday through Friday will include the top 250 mutual funds â€“ based on assets â€“ as provided by The Associated Press. The list that will continue to run each Sunday will be the same, more extensive list that our readers are used to.”
by Chris Roush
Paul Steiger, the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal who had been told by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch that a bid had been made for Dow Jones & Co., the parent of the Journal, said Tuesday that the decision not to tell the paper’s reporters “did not cause me a lot of anguish.”
Steiger, speaking at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers annual conference, said that two other news executives new about the $5 billion offer. “We knew it as business executives, not journalists. We were embargoed out of the story.”
Steiger, who retired as ME last week and is now editor at large until the end of the year,Â has been criticized by some for holding the story.
Steiger said that if one of the Journal’s reporters had discoveredÂ the offer, then the paper would have run the story. CNBC first broke the story, and the Journal was forced to follow a competitor. “I hate being in that position, but that’s life in the city,” said Steiger.
Steiger, who received SABEW’s Lifetime Achievement Award on Tuesday, said he went to Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino and Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz after the story broke and told them that he didn’t want to be involved in any business meetings related to the offer.
“From now on, we were journalists 100 percent,” said Steiger. “We don’t want to be involved in business briefings.”
Steiger said he warned the two executives that if a reporter or editor encountered them in the elevator, they would ask as journalists and seek information.
by Chris Roush
The Aspen Times, in conjunction with the Glenwood Springs Post Independent,Â rolled out Tuesday a new business section called Inside Business,Â which coversÂ all things business in the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond, according to a short item in the paper.
The item stated, “Recognizing that the local economy is supported by a plethora of industries stretching 50 miles, covering three counties and driving dozens of communities, Inside Business will follow every aspect of commerce in the marketplace.
“The weekly publication will be in the daily newspapers from Aspen to Garfield County every Tuesday. The publication also will be available on newsstands separately throughout the week.”
Read more here.Â
by Chris Roush
The UCLA Anderson School of Management, which administers the Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, named finalists and award winners on Tuesday.
The 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Matthew Winkler, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News. This annual award recognizes an individual whose career exemplifies the consistent and superior insight and professional skills necessary to further the understanding of business, financial and economic issues.
Dan Kelly, the news editor of page one at the Wall Street Journal, will receive the 2007 Lawrence Minard Editor Award, named in memory of Laury Minard, founding editor of Forbes Global and a former final judge for the Loeb Awards.
This award honors excellence in business, financial and economic journalism editing and recognizes an editor whose work does not receive a byline or whose face does not appear on the air for the work covered.
Winkler and Kelly will receive their career achievement awards at the 2007 Loeb Awards dinner, Monday, June 25,Â in New York City. Winners in the 12 competition categories, including the new feature writing category, will be announced from among the following finalists, which were chosen from among a record 433 entries.Â Â
The finalists in the large newspapers category (circulation of more than 350,000) are:
Gretchen Morgenson, Julie Creswell, Geraldine Fabrikant and Louis Uchitelle for “Gilded Paychecks” in The New York Times;
Alan Murray, Steve Stecklow, Charles Forelle, John R. Wilke, Rebecca Buckman, Peter Waldman, Joann S. Lublin, George Anders, Pui-Wing Tam and John R. Emshwiller for “The Hewlett-Packard Spying Scandal” in The Wall Street Journal;
Charles Forelle, James Bandler, Mark Maremont and Steve Stecklow for “The Secretive Backdating of Option Awards for Corporate Executives” in The Wall Street Journal;
Dan Morgan, Gilbert M. Gaul and Sarah Cohen for “Harvesting Cash” in The Washington Post.
Read more of the finalists here.
by Chris Roush
Sheryl Harris, the consumer columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, provided some tups on column writing at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers fall conference in Anaheim, Calif.
Among her suggestions:
Mix it up. Serious one week? Try something offbeat the next. If you can use elements of narrative, do it. If you can build a column like a mystery, try it. Sol Stein’s “Stein on Writing,” a manual for fiction writers, has great tips on techniques that can be adapted for nonfiction.
Trust your gut. If you have a feeling that someone’s story is unbelievable and they can’t produce documentation, don’t be afraid to pass. If you’re writing multiple columns a week, you don’t have time to get mired in someone’s complicated fantasy.
…But try the impossible. Because sometimes it works. Some of my best columns have come from reader questions that I thought might be unanswerable.
Keep an emergency idea file. Having a list of quick topics can save you if something falls through. If I write a column on “free consumer advice from the government,” you know I had a bad week.
by Chris Roush
Todd Bishop, a reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, wrote about comments made by Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger at the annual Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference about what the thinks about News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch‘s bid to acquire Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Wall Street Journal.
Iger stated: “I find what Rupert (Murdoch) is doing, or attempting to do, with The Wall Street Journal to be very interesting, both from a business perspective and a consumer perspective. I certainly believe that the notion of creating a global financial news brand that not only occupies more space territorially but more space technologically is a sound one and an interesting one.
“But we’re not looking to grow in the global financial news space, so it wasn’t something that we would necessarily look at anyway.
“I’m not worried about who owns The Wall Street Journal. I read The Wall Street Journal, both as a consumer and as an executive, and I’m just going to hope that whoever runs The Wall Street Journal, owns it or runs it, is going to do so in a fair and balanced way. And until such time as I see otherwise, I’m not going to lose sleep over it. I’m sticking to our knitting, and if I have worries, which you’d expect anyone in this job would have at some point or another, it’s not about that. …
“But I watch with interest.”
Read more of Iger’s comments from Bishop’s story here.
by Chris Roush
Jonathan Hoenig, a manager at a hedge fund, writes on the SmartMoney.com web site that the best investors do well when they ignore what they read about in the financial press.
Hoenig wrote, “While I have plenty of respect for television business news, I simply don’t want to be influenced by it â€” even by the order of stories they choose to cover. If an anchor leads with fancy graphics about the tech-stock rally and buries word about the falling dollar in the last two minutes of the broadcast, which story do you think you’ll be likely to weight?
“The printed word is not bound by a ‘hard out’ commercial break, so I opt to read my financial news. Some of it is actually useful, and reading itself also happens to be relaxing and pleasurable activity. Like Alan Greenspan, I spend many hours in the tub with a stack of reading material about the financial world.
“I try to read only select financial news, not analysis or opinion. And I’ve trained myself to read it in a particular way, concentrating on certain elements and either discounting or skipping others altogether.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Miami Herald business editor Lisa Gibbs, University of North Carolina professor Chris Roush, Dow Jones Newswires reporter Dawn Wotapka Hardesty, CNBC reporter Rebecca Jarvis and SmartMoney.com editor Ray Hennessey were elected for the first time to the Society of American Business Editors and Writers board on Tuesday.
Re-elected to the board were Seattle Times business editor Becky Bisbee, Virginian-Pilot business editor Bill Choyke, New York Times business reporter Diana Henriques, Arizona Daily Star assistant managing editor Jill Jorden Spitz,Â Bloomberg News columnist David WilsonÂ and Dallas Morning News personal finance columnist Pamela Yip.
Gibbs, Bisbee, Choyke, Henriques, Spitz and Yip will serve three-year terms. Roush and Wilson will serve two-year terms. Hardesty, Hennessey and Jarvis will serve one-year terms.
Wilson and Jarvis actually tied for a two-year slot, and Jarvis won the coin flip to break the tie. Since Wilson had already been on the board, Jarvis gave the two-year position to him and said she would run again next year.
In addition, vice president Gail DeGeorge, business editor of The Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, becomes the new SABEW president, succeeding Dave Kansas. Bernie Kohn of the Baltimore Sun becomes the new vice president, while Greg McCune of Reuters becomes the new treasurer and Rob Reuteman of the Rocky Mountain News becomes the new secretary.
by Chris Roush
Allan Sloan, the Newsweek Wall Street editor who announced last week he was leaving to work for Fortune magazine, said Monday that the decision was partly based on working with an old colleague and the demand for high-end business journalism caused by the launches of Portfolio magazine and Fox Business News.
“I’m just excited about the chance to be with a lot of people who care about this stuff,” said Sloan, speaking to a group of business journalists at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers annual conference.
SloanÂ said he wanted to work again withÂ Hank Gilman, now deputy managing editor at Fortune and formerly the business editor at Newsweek. As part of his deal, the Washington Post will continue to run his column.
He also noted that business publications in New York such as Forbes, Fortune, BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal “are thinking they have to do something” in the wake of high-profile hires by Conde Nast Portfolio, a new business magazine that launched earlier this year, and the fall launch of the Fox Business channel.
Sloan, who has been at Newsweek for 12 years, is a six-time winner of the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award, business journalismâ€™s highest honor, and has also won numerous awards and honors during his 35-year business journalism career. In 2001, he received both the Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award for business and financial journalism, and the Distinguished Achievement Award from SABEW.
Sloan also spoke about his column writing and his career. In a handout given to SABEW attendees, Sloan wrote, “One of the joys of being a business writer is that the world produces documents for us. Documents never give you lip and don’t complain if you hunt them up outside of normal business hours. And I’ve never known a document to call my boss and complain it was misquoted.”
Later, when discussing good column writing, he added, “It’s a question of finding the story, then writing it in a language approaching English. It helps to have intelligent editing, which was the case in all of these [examples], and to have an art department that picks up on the spirit of what you’re trying to do.”
by Chris Roush
Marek Fuchs, TheStreet.com’s media critic who was on a panel that I organized and moderated at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers annual conference on what’s wrong with business journalism, publishing his introductory speech Monday.
In part, Fuchs wrote, “Here’s my solution. Though a wall exists between a news outlet’s journalistic and business sides, it needs to be scaled in this one circumstance. We need to give business journalists the sort of real-world business experience that will inform their writing for years to come. It might not be working on a trading desk, but even making some sales calls or seeing how a business plan for a new division is structured can only help. This means, that media outlets must send business reporters for occasional rotations on the business side of their operations.
“Also, we must formally train business journalists in the history of business. In all its liveliness and utter ridiculousness, business repeats itself in cycles. Anyone who is writing about it must have a sense of what business history is all about. Too often, when a business journalist invokes history, it is merely the last time something similar happened. History’s cycles are not that tidy, and a good formal education would teach more journalists that.
“An entire separate lesson must be devoted to the enduring difference between journalism and Wall Street. The main difference — and a major cause of mistakes on the media’s part — is that journalists are concerned with what is happening in that moment. But businesses — stocks, for example — are priced on the hunch of what will be.
“Business is probably the most complicated field to cover. The issues and markets are not contained. And the business media serve too many masters — from those in high finance to those interested in personal finance to those interested in the social significance of events in the business world. But that’s no excuse for messing up GDP so frequently or for acting like the cast of the gullible when it comes to puff-files of CEOs.”
Read more here.Â