Tag Archives: Agate changes

Biz readers want stock data, not big pictures

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Derek Donovan, the reader’s representative at the Kansas City Star, writes about the response the paper got to its Thursday business section front.

Donovan writes, “I had to laugh to myself at this morning’s news meeting during the critique of the day’s paper. While reviewing pages from the print edition, a few editors noted the Business centerpiece, which was made from a table of regional stock listings instead of the photo or graphic usually seen there. This is the kind of thing newspaper people generally consider bad design.

“One caller this morning had quite a different take on it, though. ‘I wish every day the Business page looked like it does today,’ she said. ‘That’s what we care about — how those stocks are doing, some big overblown picture that people who are concerned about money don’t care about.’

“Other readers have told me similar things — they they’d prefer more text and fewer visual elements to the page. On the other hand, I can’t count the number of compliments I’ve heard for photos and illustrations, too.”

Read more here.

Reuters launches new financial news service for papers

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Reuters announced Thursday it will offer automated delivery of customizable, print-ready financial data layouts to U.S. newspapers at what it calls “an attractive price.”

The move puts Reuters in competition with the “Money & Markets” product offered by the Associated Press.

The offering, Reuters Financial Infographics (RFI), provides camera-ready pages and graphs that can be customized to individual newspaper requirements.

“RFI was created as part of a larger strategy to address the challenges facing media owners today,” said Christoph Pleitgen, managing director of Reuters news agency for Thomson Reuters, in a statement. “Our media customers told us they need more than content, they need workflow solutions. And the solution we are launching today is specifically tailored for the needs of U.S. newspapers.”

Reuters’s partner in delivering this new product is Custom Flow Solutions, a development firm specializing in publishing automation.

Read the release here.

NC paper drops stock listings

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Lee Barnes, the editor of the Hickory Daily Record in North Carolina, writes Sunday about the decision to drop printed stock listings from the paper.

Barnes writes, “Did you notice that we no longer have the stock market listings in our newspaper?

“Judging by reader response, you probably didn’t. We had 30 people call to complain. That’s well under 1 percent of our readers.

“Any regular feature in our paper that attracts less than 1 percent of our readership would be considered a dismal failure, but this decision was different. Those 30 callers were older, loyal readers who don’t have home computers, or prefer not to use them.

“In this electronic age, stocks reports are one of two things that newspapers do poorly. When you pick up your paper in the morning, those stocks listings have already been available for free on the Internet for more than 12 hours.”

Read more here. Disclosure: I have been a trainer on business news coverage for the Hickory Daily Record in the past three months and worked with Barnes at the Tampa Tribune.

Release the pounds!!!

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Los Angeles Times reader representative Deirdre Edgar writes about changes made to the paper recently in the wake of reader complaints.

Edgar writes, “Cuts to the Daily Market Roundup in the Business section have drawn a number of calls and e-mails as well. One specific source of puzzlement was the elimination of the British pound in the foreign currencies list.

“Claudia Albert called to say, ‘In your new Business section, I’m not sure why you don’t think the British pound is important in the currencies.’

“And Sara Lafare wrote, ‘How can you possibly have a section on currencies and leave out pound sterling?? Only one of the most important currencies in the world. (I’m not British.)’

“That omission is being fixed, and the pound will again be listed starting Friday.”

Read more here.

New York paper changes financial data

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The Albany Times Union in upstate New York said Friday that it has updated its financial data in its business section, with expanded currency exchange rates, additional commodities prices and a summary of the best and worst performing local company stocks

A brief in the paper states, “Called ‘Markets at a Glance,’ the new presentation will run atop the second business page Tuesdays through Saturday and will include silver, natural gas and crude oil prices.

“A new daily feature tracking how much $1,000 invested in a local stock one year ago would be worth today has been added. The listing will also show how various industries have performed over the past year.

“Treasury bond, note and bill activity, which had previously been in the stocks package, will now be in the daily story that reports on Wall Street activity. The performance of the S&P 500 index has been added to the summary of market activity every day on the front of the business news section, replacing Treasury bond, gold, and dollar-euro data.”

Read more here.

WSJ reinstates regular dividend table

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Hal Morris, writing on his Grumpy Editor blog, is happy that The Wall Street Journal has brought back the regular dividends table to its Money & Investing section.

Morris writes, “The WSJ abandoned regular dividends in print months ago, spotlighting only changes, including reduced, increased, initial, irregular, special and foreign.

Since then — while more convenient to open up the Journal and check the dividends table — readers/investors had to search the Web to see dividend action of companies with unchanged payouts.

“Important to investors: knowledge of record and payable dates, even with regular dividends.

“With the reinstatement of regular payouts, The WSJ still headlines the table Dividend Changes rather than Dividend Digest or such. Also, the Money & Investing front page index box continues to omit reference to the dividends table in that section.”

Read more here.

Little Rock publisher: I won't cut printed stock listings

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

The publisher and owner of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said Monday that the paper has no plans to cut its printed stock listings, despite the fact that virtually every metro newspaper in the country has done so and put stock listings online.

“Maybe some day,” said Walter E. Hussman Jr., speaking to an “Economics Reporting” class at the University of North Carolina. “But given the current economy, I don’t want to do anything to make someone cancel their subscription.”

Hussman also said there were no plans to cut the printed stock listings at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which he also owns.

“There are still people who don’t go online every day,” said Hussman. “There are still people who want to get their stocks in the daily paper. In some markets, the printed stocks still have an avid interest.”

Hussman noted that the Little Rock paper publishes more stock listings daily than The Wall Street Journal, which he lauded during his talk for its increased coverage and its charging for access to its online content. The Little Rock paper also charges for content access online.

“I subscribe to the printed edition of The Journal, and I subscibe to the online edition,” said Hussman. “The Journal is one of the few papers that has improved its coverage and expanded its coverage.”

DISCLOSURE: I hold the Walter E. Hussman Sr. Distinguished Scholar in business journalism position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was funded by Hussman Jr. to honor his father.

Sunday snippets

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The Pottstown Mercury newspaper in Pennsylvania is cutting back on its stock listings during the week. Editor Nancy March writes, “We are scaling our stocks listings to an abbreviated format with graphics reporting to allow more columns of local Business news.”

The Oshkosh Northwestern is folding its business section into its sports section. Managing editor James Fitzhenry writes, “There is no less room for sports or business, we just distributed the space differently. Rest assured that Streetwise is still walking the business beat and sharing his unique take and tastes on the town, just in a different storefront.”

Katherine Fiorile, leaves her job as the associate producer for “Opening Bell ” and “Countdown to the Closing Bell,” on the Fox Business Network in New York.

MSNBC.com launches new stocks page

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Martin Wolk, the executive business editor of MSNBC.com, writes Monday about the Web sites new stock page.

Wolk writes, “To be quite honest, this change is long overdue. Msnbc.com users depend on us for the latest business news and deserve an easy way to track and research companies and investment ideas. With this new feature we take a major step toward a more complete integration of news and stock information.

“Data for the new stock quote pages come from Interactive Data Corp., a leading provider of  financial information to institutions and investors, which worked with msnbc.com to create the customized offering.

“‘Together we were able to develop a solution to help msnbc.com’s users more effectively analyze comprehensive financial data in order to make investment decisions,’ said Luan Cox, general manager of Interactive Data Managed Solutions for the Americas.”

Read more here.

AP redesigns markets site

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The Associated Press has redesigned its Markets Web site. The Web site has been enhanced to include better navigation and design.

Money & Markets, customizable for both print and online use, provides insight into the financial markets with a broad mix of text, graphics and data modules.

“Users have told us the new site looks great, is easy to navigate, and provides increased functionality and better access to product information,” said Josh Orenstein, AP Global director of business and financial products, in a statement. “The new features really highlight our Money & Markets product, and the site has been designed so that members can easily take action,” Orenstein said.

The site now allows subscribers to more easily login and download their files. A new “Featured Members” page provides links to existing member implementations of Money & Markets online, giving subscribers a quick way of seeing Money & Markets “in action.” Ticker/Stub Lookup is featured more prominently on the page so members can easily figure out abbreviations or stub names in their print listings.

“The updated Web site emphasizes the current Money & Markets product offerings while still providing information about Grand Central Stocks (GCS), StocksExpress, and our Quarterly/Annual products,” said Russell Pollack, AP manager of markets operations, in a statement.

Money & Markets Print, Online, and Extra Modules are prominently featured on the home page with robust drill-down information available. Money & Markets Print Product drill-down information includes a pop-up window providing easy one-click access to samples of each module. Money & Markets Online drill-down information offers “live” samples of modules.

There are detailed “Help” and “Download” pages providing one-stop access to everything a member needs for Money & Markets. In addition, downloads, fonts, GCS data elements, fund classifications and more are easily located from the main navigation.