Tag Archives: Blogging

Financial bloggers and the Treasury

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Brian Stelter of The New York Times writes about how the Treasury Department has reached out to financial bloggers in the past week.

Stelter writes, “Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University who has written at the Marginal Revolution blog for six years, said it was the first time he had heard from any Treasury official.

“The meeting ‘shows that the Obama administration is working very hard on outreach to a lot of different media sources,’ he said.

“The Treasury invited about 20 bloggers. Eight attended — at their own expense — including some ardent critics of the department. Michael J. Panzner, who writes the Financial Armageddon blog, said the invitation ‘was totally out of the blue.’

“Andrew Williams, a spokesman for the Treasury who assembled the event, said that Mr. Geithner had ‘long valued the blogosphere’ and mentioned that during Mr. Geithner’s tenure as the president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, he had requested a daily compendium of relevant blog posts.

Read more here.

A suggestion for the Loeb awards

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Felix Salmon, who blogs about business and finance for Reuters, has some suggestions for the Gerald Loeb Awards in business and financial journalism after receiving a call from one of the judges that they’re considering adding online categories.

Salmon writes, “So what happens when the Loeb jury tries to drag itself into the 21st Century and honor online journalism? My guess is that it’s going to be in baby steps: the first winners are going to be newspaper brand extensions like Dealbook or Alphaville, and maybe one of those labor-intensive interactive data dumps that the NYT’s digital team is so good at. (Up until now, the Online award has gone to big Flash-based projects on newspaper websites, which isn’t at all what online journalism is really about.)

“But if the Loeb jury wants to go further and start honoring new and disruptive forms of online journalism, they’re going to face enormous difficulties. First there’s the difficulty in defining what even counts as journalism in the first place. If the awards need to go to professional journalists at accredited media organizations, that automatically excludes 90% of the internet, including highly-respected blogs — Calculated Risk, say, or Mark Thoma, or Nouriel Roubini. And insofar as a few great bloggers get picked up by larger media outlets (Mike Konczal, Baseline Scenario), that’s precisely because those media outlets recognized them as being extremely good online journalism before they were picked up. It’s silly to restrict your awards to people who feel like they can or should accept an offer of being hosted on a major media outlet’s website.

“What’s more, the biggest and most successful game-changers online have been startups: Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, Politico, and the like. In the business space, TechCrunch, The Business Insider, and many others are setting the pace for what can be done with imagination, hard work, and a lean, aggressive attitude. Yet at the same time it’s almost inconceivable that the Loebs would honor Henry Blodget for his work, given his $2 million fine for securities fraud.”

Read more here. Salmon says he’d like to see Loeb Awards for art direction, which would “be a welcome sign that the Loebs award journalism which isn’t just Important but is also accessible and popular and easy to read.”

The dominant entertainment biz reporter

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Tad Friend of The New Yorker profiles Nikki Finke, whose blog Deadline Hollywood Daily on the business of entertainment has become a must-read for executives.

Friend writes, “In recent years, as her fame has increased, she has felt so vulnerable to public scrutiny that she no longer sees her subjects at all. But in seclusion she manages to seem ubiquitous, covering the golden acres from Santa Monica to Sunset-Gower from a home newsroom containing six phones, a laptop, and her cat, Blue.

“Her all-knowing voice on the phone is reminiscent of Charlie of ‘Charlie’s Angels’—yet she salts her site with references to her diabetes and dental work, drawing readers into the drama of her daily struggle. Three weeks ago, she posted an exclusive: ‘I just got out of the hospital. Here’s breaking news . . . Dick Cook’—the revered chairman of Walt Disney Studios—’has been fired.’

“A little while later, she added, ‘Hollywood can’t believe this has happened, especially on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. ‘I’m shocked by Dick’s ouster. I love him more than life,’ one Disney insider told me, adding ‘I walked out of a meeting and heard this. And, 4 minutes later, you post it.” Finke told me, ‘I literally ripped the I.V. out of my arm to leave the hospital, and I would have had the story an hour earlier if I hadn’t stopped to get an antibiotic.’”

Read more here.

Montreal paper expands online business news offerings

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Bryan Demchinsky, business editor of the Montreal Gazette, writes Thursday about how the paper is expanding its online business news offerings.

Demchinsky writes, “A new departmental business blog called Inc. Ink has been launched. It will be one of the elements on a new Web page on montrealgazette.com called Business Observer. As the name suggests, the page will take its cue from the one you are reading, offering insight and commentary on the issues of the day from staff columnists and freelance contributors. It also will serve, we hope, as a forum for debate in the Quebec business community, as well as the community at large.

“In the weeks ahead, we will also roll out several new pages. These will include a features page, archiving the best of the insight and entrepreneur stories from the newsprint edition, as well as online-only features gleaned from other sources. There will also be a finance page, a real-estate page and a legal page, keying off the Strictly Legal column that appears weekly in the paper.

“This will take time to accomplish, and it will be a challenge, given that resources are not, for the moment, growing proportionally to our ambitions. But it’s renewal, and it’s exciting. Green shoots, indeed.”

Read more here.

SF Chronicle starts blog about work

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The San Francisco Chronicle has started a new blog called Get to Work, aimed at people looking for jobs or working for themselves as independent contractors, freelancers or consultants.

A short announcement states, “Edited by Chronicle economics writer Tom Abate, with help from career coach Kimberly Thompson, this blog is about how to succeed during tough times.

“Visit us for ideas and inspiration, and share your tips and questions about how to find, get and keep work.”

Read more here. Abate has started and sold two companies. He has written about high-tech, biotech and economics. Thompson has spent more than two decades helping people with career changes and job searches.

The rise of financial blogs

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Joe Hagan of New York magazine writes about how financial blogs have become more powerful in influencing the markets and what we think about them, particularly the Zero Hedge blog run by a 30-year-old Bulgarian immigrant banned from working in the brokerage business for insider trading.

Hagan writes, “Financial blogs grew out of the message boards launched by Yahoo! Finance in the late nineties, which were primarily a forum for day traders to argue investment ideas and vent little-guy frustrations about the Wall Street power structure.

“The first financial blogger, according to Barry Ritholtz of the Big Picture, was Todd Harrison, the head trader for the hedge fund run by CNBC talking head Jim Cramer (also a New York Magazine contributing editor) in the early aughts. Harrison, who wrote a daily market column for Cramer’s TheStreet.com, ‘would crank out these little notes intraday,’ recalls Ritholtz. It was a real-time trader with real assets under management discussing trading flow.’

“In the years that followed, blogs proliferated. They were mostly side projects, updated sporadically. Ritholtz, who started the Big Picture in 2003, was a market strategist who zeroed in on flaws in the government’s inflation data. Calculated Risk was started by a retired businessman in Southern California who took an obsessive interest in exotic mortgages and saw the housing collapse years in advance. Naked Capitalism, which features the work of a small gang of contributors, is overseen by a former Goldman Sachs and McKinsey executive who goes by the pseudonym Yves Smith.

“Early on, the readers of these blogs seemed to be a relatively small and disparate group—a smattering of day traders, academics, and people who worked in and around the edges of the financial industry. They were ‘gold bugs’ and ‘dollar bears’ united by their hostility to Wall Street and their conviction that the U.S. economy was heading off a cliff. When Bear Stearns blew up, the bearish view was validated and these blogs gained credibility with a larger audience. Amid the chaos on Wall Street, they found themselves with much greater influence than they’d ever imagined possible.”

Read more here.

Competing against blogs for tech news

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Deputy technology editor David Gallagher of the New York Times is answering questions from readers this week, and the first question comes from a reader who wants to know how it competes against tech blogs.

Gallagher writes, “One of my favorite sites is Techmeme, which tracks the tech-related articles and posts that are generating the most chatter in blogland. It’s fascinating to watch the interplay there between blogs and more traditional news outlets.

“Blogs often turn up early word of things that become major stories. But they also generate a lot of noise. Our reporters could easily spend half their day chasing down rumors that surface on blogs. In the end, that’s not likely to benefit Times readers all that much. So we pick our battles, and we often choose to step back and spend time pursuing stories that give readers a wider understanding of technology and business. As blogs become a more important part of the news ecosystem, reporters covering subjects other than technology and politics will increasingly have to make similar decisions.

“This is not to say that we are bowing out of the blogging frenzy. The Bits blog, which all of our tech reporters contribute to, lets us do quick hits on breaking news or subjects that are perhaps too geeky for the average Times reader. And the comments from Bits readers are often intimidatingly astute.”

Read more here.

Thomson Reuters set to acquire Breakingviews.com

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Iain Dey of The Times of London reports that Thomson Reuters is about to announce its acquisition of Breakingviews.com from founder Hugo Dixon for 10 million pounds, or about $16.2 million.

Dey writes, “”Mr Dixon, who ran the Lex column in the Financial Times for five years, has been in talks with Thomson Reuters since July. The £10 million price tag was agreed in recent days, according to sources inside Thomson Reuters, which has been seeking to expand the commentary and analysis available on its global news network for more than a year.

“The media company has recruited a number of commentators, including Jonathan Ford, who co-founded Breakingviews with Mr Dixon in 1999. Mr Ford no longer has any shares in the business, having left in 2007.

“The Breakingviews operation is likely to be left as a separate entity, with its own branding.

“The business has about 15,000 direct subscribers. Columns in a string of newspapers, including The New York Times, Le Monde, El Pais and Handelsblatt, have increased its readership to an estimated 4.5 million. It is profitable in Europe but continues to invest heavily in America and Asia.”

Read more here.

Ten years of the consumer tech column

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Rob Pegoraro of The Washington Post celebrates writing his consumer technology column for a decade by explaining how his coverage has changed.

Pegoraro writes, “For another, my column has appeared on different days of the week–first on Fridays, then Sundays, then Thursdays, and now a hybrid schedule (online Friday, in print Sunday). For much of 2005 and 2006, I also wrote extra columns on breaking news topics; with the advent of my blog in 2007, I now address current events there, and sometimes we ‘reverse publish’ the results in print the next day.

“Most of all, my column has changed focus. At the start, with other reviews running next to my column, I felt like I could focus on some fuzzier topics of human-computer interaction — something I didn’t consistently succeed at for most of the first year. But as we cut back on those separate reviews, I started writing columns that focused closer on the ‘should you get this?’ question. I’ve also found myself focusing more on tech-policy issues, since so many of those policy discussions happen within a mile of my office — and those debates can seriously limit your choice of hardware, software and services down the line.

“If you’ve been reading my column since 1999, you may have noticed one other thing: I’ve yet to skip a week. That’s not something I set out to do at the start; I just knew that I didn’t want to make the paper run one of those ‘Rob Pegoraro is away; his column will resume when he returns’ notices in the first few months of my column’s existence, and after a while I just got into the habit of writing a column or two in advance to cover times when I’d be on vacation. I wish I could tell you that I’ve now set some Post record for continuous columnizing, but there’s no easy way to check for that sort of thing in our index. (Hope y’all don’t mind if I take a week off during my next vacation. This streak’s gotta end at some point; all streaks do.)”

Read more here.

The blogging world of Felix Salmon

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Marion Maneker of The Big Money examines the influence of Reuters financial blogger Felix Salmon, previously of Portfolio.com.

Maneker writes, “In hiring Salmon, Reuters, one of the original one-way communications systems, has acknowledged the importance of fostering open-ended conversations. Salmon’s ability to repackage, recontextualize and reorient the work of other writers is surely the thing of value he brings to the organization.

“‘I may, at times, disagree with Felix and his views,’ Roubini says today in between flights to his next speaking engagement, ‘but I have the greatest respect for his professional abilities: smart, sharp, witty, a great engaging writer. Also, he is intellectually honest and when he makes a mistake, he is willing to admit that without being defensive.’

“‘I have no equity in being right,’ Salmon told me, apropos his willingness to take the other side of an argument just to see where it goes. Salmon’s genial engagement has been the secret of his success. Read Salmon’s take on any of the wide range of topics — from myriad credit issues to the economics of South Spanish wine to the travails of Annie Leibovitz’s loan officer — and you’ll see detailed reasoning, deliberate counterargument, and a matter-of-fact pronouncement of Salmon’s own sometimes over-the-top views.”

Read more here.