Tag Archives: AP

AP launches personal finance package

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The Associated Press is rolling out a package of new weekly and monthly consumer-oriented content for use by its members and subscribers to offer readers insight on how they can earn, spend, invest and save money.

“We’re tapping the extensive knowledge that exists across the AP to produce categories of this content on a regular schedule,” said managing editor Kristin Gazlay, who oversees financial news, in a statement. “For example, we’ll deliver weekly stories from our retailing, technology and transportation teams, plus a weekly story that examines career and workplace issues. Energy and health care will be topics covered monthly. And the personal finance, real estate and financial markets teams will continue or increase their offerings.”

The material will be tight, bright and useful — in the form of stories, Q&As and top tips — aimed at helping readers make decisions large and small, from investing a sudden windfall to switching careers to dealing with a car mechanic to turning a hobby into something that pays.

Personal finance editor Trevor Delaney is the editor for the expansion project.

Here’s the schedule of new and enhanced fixtures being rolled out this month.

Investors immune to negative business writing

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Hal Morris, writing Monday on his Grumpy Editor blog, notes that investors seem to be immune to the negative slant of many business news stories.

Morris writes, “The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 106.41 points on Thursday and tacked on an additional 217.52 points on Friday — for a total gain of 323.93 points, reaching 8,280.59 – as financial writers were banging away with lines such as:

• The recession shows no signs of abating.
• Data released Thursday underscored the reluctance of individuals and businesses alike to spend in the face of a gloomy economy.
• Anxious consumers, whose spending fuels the nation’s economy, have cut out all but the essentials.

“The above phrases are from Ylan Q. Mui and Howard Schneider writing in Friday’s Washington Post while compressing the latest statistics on retail sales, factory orders and jobless claims.

“But the week’s prize for working in negative phrases goes to Associated Press writer Jeannine Aversa who, in a lead, puts the growing jobless blame, not on the heavy outsourcing to foreign countries of jobs — ranging from newspaper copy editing to furniture manufacturing — and steep financial damage stemming from subprime loans, but by ‘a vicious cycle of cutbacks by consumers’ that ‘forced ever more layoffs by beleaguered employers.’”

Read more here.

Covering food recalls

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Dean Rotbart of NewsBios.com writes Wednesday that the media’s coverage of food recalls, including the latest peanut scare, in recent weeks has been perfunctory recitations of the Food and Drug Administration’s statements and actions.

Rotbart writes, “The Associated Press, collectively, has covered the peanut recall better than any other domestic news organization, using reporters in D.C. and in the afflicted communities to provide in-depth and broad coverage.

“The AP uncovered records in Texas, for example, showing that a local peanut-processing plant run by PCoA was operating without inspections and isn’t licensed, as required.  AP also reported that the U.S. Army was taking action to remove some peanut-butter items from its European warehouses.

“The AP’s reporting was so good that WSJ.com used it instead of its own staff reporters on at least three occasions in late January and early this month.

“The Wall Street Journal looked to Jane Zhang, who covers the FDA for the paper, Julie Jargon, who watches consumer products, and Jennifer Corbett Dooren who covers the agency for Dow Jones Newswires, to handle its self-generated coverage.”

Read more here.

AP expanding local and state economic coverage

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The Associated Press announced Tuesday that it is expanding its coverage of state and local economic indicators provided by the federal government.

It’s part of the increased focus on financial impact by the AP Business News department.

“Our expanded coverage of economic indicators is designed to help readers get beyond the national statistics and understand employment news and trends at the state and local level,” said AP Business Editor Hal Ritter in a statement. “The global economic downturn affects readers everywhere, but its impact can vary greatly from state to state and even within a state.”

This month, AP will begin coverage of the monthly metropolitan area employment report produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That follows January’s AP coverage of the BLS monthly regional and state employment report.

In March, the Business News department will augment its coverage of the Federal Reserve’s “beige book” report, which is a summary of anecdotal information on current economic conditions gathered by each of the Federal Reserve Bank’s 12 regional districts. The report is published eight times per year.

Former AP labor reporter Walker dead

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Norman Walker, who covered the labor beat for the Associated Press from 1945 to 1963, has died, according to an AP story. He was 96.

The AP story stated, “Walker began his career with the AP in 1934 in New Orleans, where he helped cover the assassination of Huey Long. Walker later served as Baton Rouge correspondent and moved to the AP’s Washington bureau in 1943.

“He covered labor relations for AP from 1945 until he left the wire service in 1963, a span that covered a time of great upheaval in labor relations.

“He served as information director for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service from 1963 until his retirement in 1978.”

Read more here.

Biz writers too negative, need to improve attribution

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Hal Morris, writing Monday on his Grumpy Editor blog, argues that business reporters are being too negative right now and they’re using too many anonymous sources.

Morris writes, “Grumpy Editor notices one of the big problems with some business writers these days is lack of attribution.  They just like to pump in their own crystal ball gazing.

“An example from the lead of a New Year’s Eve story by Associated Press writer Ellen Simon:  Reporting on consumer confidence hitting a new low and rising layoffs, she works in that it’s ‘another sign that consumer spending is unlikely to pull the U.S. out of a yearlong recession any time soon.’

“Who is behind that prediction?  Is it a Wall Street analyst, an economic expert, a Ph. D. researcher, a college economics professor?  Or was it something based on an extensive survey?

“In another AP business story the next day on the number of laid-off workers, writer Jeannine Aversa adds, ‘even more Americans are expected to join the ranks of the jobless in 2009.’

“That’s heartening news, sure to drive consumer confidence further southward. (And among those joining the jobless ranks — more reporters, editors and other editorial staffers.)”

Read more here.

AP biz editor Ritter named Kansan of the Year

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Associated Press business editor Hal Ritter was named a Kansan of the Year by the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Here is an excerpt:

Work: Began his career as a reporter and then editor at the Times-Union in Rochester, N.Y. Became deputy managing editor of USA Today’s Money section in 1982, managing editor of that section from 1985-95 and managing editor of news from 1995-2004, leaving after it was discovered reporter Jack Kelley had plagiarized and invented stories. “Don’t assume others will do the right thing,” Ritter said, saying the statement extended beyond Kelley. Joined the AP in 2006 and was named business editor in June.

Best accomplishment: Built two of four newsrooms at USA Today — Money and News. Made the Money section competitive with The Wall Street Journal. As managing editor/news, made the weakest section of the newspaper competitive with The New York Times.

Future project or goal: Make AP Business News as good as or better than every AP competitor. “Responsibility for global coverage of business and financial news means a chance to shape coverage of the biggest story of my career, perhaps the biggest story of our time,” he said. 

Read more here.

WSJ to add Web offerings, more charges

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Anick Jesdanun of the Associated Press reports that The Wall Street Journal is looking to add more online offerings and find new ways to charge readers for them.

Jesdanun writes, “Details are scant, but the planned offerings include better customization and search. The Journal also is exploring payment technologies that could let it more easily charge for each service a la carte, while it also will continue to offer a range of online content for free.

“Paying subscribers now have access to the entire site, while other readers see a subset that excludes the Journal’s core financial coverage.

“‘The real challenge for us will be to understand the potential,’ said Robert Thomson, the Journal’s editor. ‘For us, one of the most important tests will be in how we allow readers anywhere in the world to customize our content to suit their needs and frankly, how we charge them for that.’”

Read more here.

Staff numbers up, company coverage down at WSJ

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Anick Jesdanun of the Associated Press takes a look at the changes at The Wall Street Journal in the year it’s been owned by Rupert Murdoch and discovered that they haven’t resulted in any complaints from the staff.

Jesdanun writes, “Dozens of jobs were cut as the Journal merged print and online editing tasks as part of a push for various Dow Jones units to work more closely together. But total staff has grown by about 20, to 760, as the Journal boosts its international and political coverage.

“As the Journal broadens its front page, less room remains for company and industry news — 21 percent this year, compared with 30 percent last year, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

“Criticism persists about that shift. Gone or played down are the Journal’s ‘leders’ — longer investigative pieces that often took weeks or months to complete and used to run at the top of the front page.

Read more here.

Singapore court rules against WSJ

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Singapore’s High Court ruled The Wall Street Journal in contempt of court for publishing two editorials and a letter to the editor that the government says damaged the reputation of the country’s judicial system, according to an Associated Press story.

The story states, “The court also fined the newspaper 25,000 Singapore dollars ($16,400).

“Justice Tay Yong Kwang ruled Tuesday against the newspaper and two of its editors, three weeks after Attorney General Walter Woon argued the editorials published in June and July questioned the judiciary’s independence from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the ruling People’s Action Party. Not meting out punishment in this case would undermine the country’s rule of law, the court said.

“The letter to the editor was written by Chee Soon Juan, head of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party.”

Read more here.