Tag Archives: Agate changes
by Chris Roush
Carolyn Callison Murray, the editor of the Myrtle Beach Sun News in South Carolina, writes about why the paper didn’t publish stock listings last week, when bad weather hit the state.
Murray writes, “Frequently during such times, newspapers will establish early deadlines to make it easier for carriers to get the print edition delivered, and we established 5 p.m. deadlines for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday’s editions. It worked reasonably well as far as deliveries went, but despite notes published in each day’s edition, by Friday we spent a significant amount of time explaining to readers that no, we have not in fact decided our readers are not smart enough to understand the stock tables and we’ve decided not to run them anymore.
“I’m not kidding, that’s the conclusion one caller jumped atop and shared in a lengthy voicemail message.
“I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to leaping to the worst possible scenario if worrying about the safety of a loved one, but I try to extend good will when something else has caused me to question a less-than-undertandable action by a person or business.
“The stock market closes each day at 4 p.m. Eastern time, but the information doesn’t come to us immediately upon close of trading. It takes the wire service until at least 6 p.m. and usually closer to 6:30 to get the data documented and shipped to us in the format necessary for publication. A 5 p.m. press time meant that we were unable to include that information.
“It was back in the paper by Saturday, where it will remain unless it’s a holiday that closes the exchange (as was the case on Monday) or we have to make another choice between delivering the print edition and including the stock/mutual fund numbers. In that case, we will again err on the side of our delivery times.”
by Chris Roush
David Stoeffler, executive editor of the Springfield News-Leader newspaper in Missouri, writes about how the Gannett paper is expanding its Sunday business section.
Stoeffler writes, “Most noticeably, you’ll find an expanded Sunday Business section filled with local content.
“Our current daily Business page combines national and local news. Starting next Sunday, we’ll be dividing that content.
“• Every day, you’ll find 1-2 pages of national business news, including an overview and analysis of the stock markets, inside the USA TODAY section.
“• Stocks of local interest and commodities reports will be published Tuesday through Saturday at the bottom of our new Community page.
“• Other breaking local business news will be published day to day in the main news section.
“The weekly highlight, though, will be our Sunday Business section. It will be more than double the size of our current Sunday section and feature weekly in-depth reports from business reporter Thomas Gounley and other News-Leader staff and freelance contributors.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
The Las Vegas Review-Journal will introduce a new stock agate page on Tuesday that includes more listings.
An item on its website states, “The new grid offers more more stock listings and more information in a sharper, easier-to-read package.
“Among the new features are listings of Top Mutual Funds and Widely Held Stocks.
“The new grid, which appears Tuesday through Saturday on Page 3 of the Business section, will include a closer look at Stocks in the News in graphics-illustrated form.
“Readers are always welcome to suggest which stocks should appear under a section called Local Stock Watch. While space is limited, every effort will be made to include stocks that local readers find of interest.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Twelve years ago this month, a major event in the evolution of business journalism occurred. The Star-Ledger in Newark cut its printed stock listings from its business section during the first week of September 2001.
During the next decade, virtually every other metropolitan daily newspaper, and many smaller newspapers, would follow suit. That would lead to the cutting of standalone business sections, which had been supported by the stock agate.
Kevin Whitmer was an assistant managing editor of the Star-Ledger at that time, overseeing the business editor Dave Allen and assistant business editor Kevin Shinkle.
Whitmer, who is now the editor at the Star-Ledger, responded to Talking Biz News’ request for information about the decision with the following comments:
Like most papers our size we had spent the years leading into 2001 nibbling around the edges of our agate package. We had taken out pages daily and Sunday, but by 2000 we knew that that strategy was a slow march to a losing battle. We also finally admitted two other things. One was that quotes, portfolios and all kinds of market research tools were popping up all over the internet — in effect becoming an on-demand commodities that were more widely and readily available than the paper ever was on its best day. And two, we knew our market was loaded with readers who potentially would turn the Journal or Times for the full tables — and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, we saw that as an opportunity because we knew there were so many other things for readers in our market, which in many households was still a two paper market back then.
The key, though, was deciding not to take all the savings and run. Instead, Jim Willse, the editor, challenged us. What could we come up with if we reinvested a good chunk of the savings in “new” news hole and additional people to produce a full-color section packed with enterprise, graphics, analysis and advice? After several months and hundreds of templates, we landed on a 6-to-8 page daily section. The goal was to do color on every page every day and have something on every page, front to back, that readers wouldn’t expect.
By time of launch, we were making just about everything in the section from scratch, including dozens of new features. It really wasn’t a newspaper section — even though we did still have some Jersey-centric stock tables. It was a mini-magazine inside the newspaper. We were doing industry notebooks, stock picks and research graphics, salary comps, big lifts on workplace issues and career guidance. To put it another way: We viewed it with great pride as content you just didn’t see every day in a newspaper section.
We knew readers would be upset. For generations The Star-Ledger had been something of a daily encyclopedia for them. And now we were about to mess with that. We also knew there would be complaints so we drafted a strategy and recruited volunteers to work the phone bank. There were periods when it was insane, but overall I think the total calls were still under 1,000. And what’s also important to note is that the new section was live exactly a week before the world changed — from the Wednesday of Labor Day week to 9/11. Once 9/11 happened the complaints pretty much disappeared.
We wanted to add energy and flair to a lot of the things we already were doing. There was a lot of good beat coverage in the paper back then. To that, we added a lot of personal finance and investing advice and treated some of the business stuff like we had treated sports content. A lot of really good design, short items, a lot of two-way journalism, and what was an early effort to really engage with readers.
As for regrets:
1. The Business section lacked a voice. We never really did staff it with a general interest business columnist. Voice is so important to every section and that’s the one area we could have really improved — especially because we had a lot of really good niche voices.
2. We should have more aggressive taking agate out of the Sports section. After cutting NBA and NHL boxes a few years ago, we finally have removed all out-of-town baseball and football boxes. We survived that, too, and I now think to a person, the folks in our newsroom realize competing with free, real-time content that looks better than we can ever dress it up is silly. There are so many other great uses for space.
by Chris Roush
Don Mecoy, the business editor of The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, writes about the changes to the paper’s Money & Markets page.
Mecoy writes, “That page, frequently referred to as the ‘stocks page’ by many of our readers, has shrunk over the years. Most newspapers, including The Oklahoman, used to carry multiple pages of stock and mutual fund listings and other charts. However, we and many of our colleagues have recognized that we no longer are the primary source of such daily information.
“It turns out there’s an app for that. In fact, there are scores of apps, websites (including NewsOK.com) and automated email services that offer up-to-the-second data on Wall Street.
“As noted in a graphic that appeared on Page 2C of the Business section on Tuesday, most Americans own a smartphone. According to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of Americans own a cellphone, more than 6 in 10 own a laptop and nearly that many own a desktop computer.
“Most Americans age 65 and older are using the Internet, and that number is growing, Pew reported last year.
“Clearly, the number of readers we were serving with those dense charts is shrinking. For the many who get that information elsewhere, the Money & Markets page was becoming irrelevant.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
As Hurricane Sandy wreaks havoc along the Atlantic coast, forcing markets in New York to close on Monday and Tuesday, business editors around the country are adjusting their coverage and sections.
The market closure means that daily newspapers that typically run stock agate on a daily basis now have to find other content to fill that space.
Adam Goodman, the deputy managing editor of local and business news at the S. Louis Post-Dispatch, tells Talking Biz News that the half page reserved for markets coverage and stock agate is going to the national desk for hurricane coverage.
“Most of that space is where our market agate would have run,” said Goodman. “This is easy for us to do since our business pages run inside the A section on those days anyway. We are using the remaining portion of our space for our local business stories and wire.”
Jim Wright, the business editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, said that the market closing doesn’t affect his plans that much.
“We don’t do much personal finance coverage, so a market closure doesn’t do much to us,” said Wright. “We’ll put local and wire copy in the 3/4-page space where the stock table normally runs on Tuesday, and likely give up a little space on Wednesday.”
Michael Lev, the associate managing editor for business at the Chicago Tribune, says the paper didn’t make many adjustments.
“We’ve got more than a full page of coverage of Sandy for Tuesday’s paper, but we didn’t need to make any adjustments to deal with the market closure because we print only a half-page of markets highlights each day,” said Lev. ”It’s not like the old days of publishing three or four full pages of markets info.”
Chris Dinsmore, the business editor of the Baltimore Sun, says his staff is busy focusing on covering the business aspects of the storm.
“My staff is focused on covering the business aspects of the storm’s impact and the ongoing saga of power outages,” he said. “In our Tuesday section, we’re running a story on the market’s unusual closing and plugged the ½-page market hole with wire. We’ll plug again tomorrow.”
The business editors in Charlotte and Miami also focused their coverage on local angles.
“Because Miami is a tourism and transportation hub, we’re watching the impacts of the storm and its aftermath on airlines and cruise lines,” said Jane Wooldridge, the business editor at the Miami Herald. “The regions are closely aligned, so we’re keeping a tight watch on what is happening there. Because we do still run stock results in print daily — we have a substantially large market that does not go online — we have devoted the space we would normally give to stocks in our B section to storm coverage, redeploying that space to our A / national pages.”
Added John Arwood, the business editor of the Charlotte Observer: “We assigned three business reporters to write about the effects of the storm on Carolinas businesses, from US Airways, to Lowe’s to Duke Energy. For our print edition, the closing of the markets — and the absence of stock listings today — gave us a bit of extra news hole on the main Business page. That allowed us to give plenty of good display space to our package on the storm’s business effects. That package included the Carolinas impact story, a main story from the business wires, and two boxes. Normally the stock listings would take up a strip across the bottom of the page about 2.5 inches deep. We were glad to have that space back today.”
Gordon Oliver, the business editor of the Columbian in Vancouver, Wash., tells Talking Biz News that his staff is looking for that local angle as well.
“We are expecting earnings from a local bank tomorrow,” he said. “I called to see if they will still file earnings even if the market is closed and haven’t heard back. That will of course affect our coverage. AP has given us a menu of choices to partially replace the markets page. We haven’t decided whether to pull something together or land a full-page add that needs to go somewhere before the end of November. We also are checking to see if local companies have any role in disaster response, but haven’t come up with one yet. I’m writing a Sunday column about the local utility’s preparedness for a big storm, and how that’s changed in the 50 years since this region’s biggest and most infamous windstorm.”
Jill Jorden Spitz, SABEW’s president and assistant managing editor of business at the Arizona Daily Star, said her business section dropped to one page from its normal two pages because of the storm.
by Chris Roush
The Orange County Register, acquired earlier this year by new owners with a more traditional approach to newspapers, plans to launch a standalone business section by late September at the latest, according to a source at the paper’s business news desk.
The new business section is part of the paper’s plans to beef up its coverage, which will include hiring approximately five new staffers for the business news desk. The Register is currently looking to hire a business editor.
The Register cut its standalone section in 2008. In 2009, it brought back a standalone section called Marketplace that ran on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In 2010, it launched a Sunday section focused on real estate coverage while also publishing content from The Wall Street Journal on that day.
While the Register’s business news coverage has been consumer oriented in the past two decades, the new section will be a lot more about local companies and strategy.
The new business section will be heavily themed, Talking Biz News is told, but not beat oriented. The themes will be on topics such as “leadership” and “lessons learned” and “growth,” which can encompass everything from real estate to a company’s growth plans.
The broad themes are being planned to allow multiple reporters to contribute instead of having just one reporter responsible for the “themed” story each week.
In addition, the new business section will bring back a local stock agate package.
by Chris Roush
The Middletown Times Herald-Record in New York is dropping its Sunday business section and replacing it with other sections, and is also bringing back printed stock listings.
A story on its website states, “On that day, the newspaper will introduce two new sections. ‘Business Matters’ will provide vital guidance for business owners and managers from experts including Charlene Finerty and advisers from the Mid-Hudson Small Business Development Center.
“The section will also feature news of business openings and expansions, hirings and promotions and upcoming events. These features will be complemented by new “lifestyle” classified advertising categories targeted to small businesses, from mom-and-pop stores to bookkeepers.
“Feb. 6 will also mark the debut of a jobs-themed classified section, a meeting place for employers and job seekers.
“Readers will find news of hiring trends, and columns offering advice on job-search techniques. The section will pair these stories with employment-oriented classified ads, providing one-stop shopping for hiring managers and job hunters alike.
“The Sunday Balance section will be discontinued following the Feb. 5 edition, with some lifestyle features moving to the community pages, and financial and legal advice moving to the daily business sections.
“Also during the week of Feb. 6, the Record will reintroduce daily stock listings.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
FinancialContent, a California-based company that provides widgets for business media companies, has rolled out two new offerings that provide economic data.
The widgets, which can be downloaded onto a business media operation’s website, provide data for commodity prices such as oil and gold, the unemployment rate, and the average amount a U.S. family spends on groceries.
Among the media that currently use FinancialContent’s widgets are the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, the Houston Chronicle, PaidContent.org and CBS MoneyWatch.
“We started the company by founding financial data widgets for financial service companies, ” said Brian DeWeese, the vice president of publishing and advertising solutions at FinancialContent, in a telephone interview. “Over time, we expanded to offer those to newspapers, television stations and radio stations. Now we work with verticals and others.”
FinancialContent, founded in 1999, is a privately-held company working with nearly 300 publishers — including McClatchy and Gannett papers — and serving more than 300 million widgets and webpages a month. It is backed by Agile Opportunity Fund and Bay Partners.
It makes money by licensing the widget, but when the newspaper industry began seeing a decline in subscriptions, many wanted to cancel those agreements. So FinancialContent restructured many of its deals to make them ad supported.
“Today, probably about half of our business is giving the widget to financial news properties, and we fill the ad inventory,” said DeWeese. The revenue is then split with the publisher, typically on a 50-50 basis.
A lot of the advertisers that FinancialContent works with want to be associated with the widget, so it only sells the ad space near the widget on the media’s business news page, said DeWeese. Some of its biggest advertisers are NASDAQ and Zecco Trading.
by Chris Roush
The Tampa Tribune is cutting the amount of stock listings that it prints every day in its business section.
“The decision reflects the changing habits of a growing number of readers. As stock prices change dozens, even hundreds of times during a trading period, more readers are tracking that movement all day, for free, online.
“To find your stock information, go to TBO.com and search “stocks” to find the stocks page. Then enter your stock’s name.
“The Tribune will continue to provide a Local Stocks listing for stocks with high local interest. We will also continue to publish daily snapshots of the market indices at the top of our page so you can easily find the Dow Jones Industrial Average, gold prices and the New York Stock Exchange index, among others.
“Sunday’s Business section, which includes mutual funds listings, will remain the same.”
Read more here.