Tag Archives: CNBC

Bartiromo files for "Money Honey" trademark

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Amid all the news this week concerning CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo’s trip on a Citigroup corporate jet, which led to the firing of an executive, comes the fact that she filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month for the term “Money Honey.” (TV Newser had this first on Friday.)

Money HoneyThat’s the nickname that Bartiromo became known as during the 1990s when she spent a lot of time covering the markets from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The application, filed Jan. 16, states that the trademark will be used for “Entertainment services, namely, an ongoing children’s television series; motion picture films; theatrical programs; fan club services; online entertainment services, namely information, interactive games, and quizzes based on a children’s television series; website featuring information, interactive games, and quizzes based on a children’s television series.”

The application asks for the trademark for use for “Providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for the transmission of messages among users in the fields of children’s education and entertainment” as well as “T-shirts, jackets, hats, baseball caps, headbands, and visors.”

Bartiromo has also asked for the trademark for “Games and toys, namely stuffed animals, hand-held unit for playing electronic games, electronic educational game machines for children, dolls, doll accessories, toy action figures and accessories therefore, collectible toy figures, toy building blocks, toy banks, toy mobiles, board games, card games, jigsaw puzzles, manipulative puzzles, toy cube puzzles, children’s multiple activity toys and tables, children’s multiple activity toys sold as a unit with printed books, electronic learning toys, hand held unit for playing electronic games, play money, talking toys, toy banks, and toy cash registers.”

Got all that?

The application cost $325. Filing the application on behalf of Bartiromo is New York attorney Jean Voutsinas. The application has not yet been assigned to an attorney in the government agency. There’s a “Money Honey” logo attached to the application, but it’s simple black block letters.

An Australian company filed a trademark application back in 2003 to use the term for “gaming devices, namely gaming machines and associated software for use therewith.”

Professor: Bartiromo not representative of business journalism

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Boston Herald business reporter Jesse Noyes takes a look at the Maria Bartiromo/Citigroup controversy on Saturday and quotes a Boston University professor who believes that Bartiromo is not the typical business journalist.

Jesse NoyesNoyes wrote, “If she’s the face of CNBC she should be held to a higher standard than anybody else,’ said John Carroll, a regular columnist on Greater Boston’s Beat the Press edition on WGBH-TV and a communications professor at Boston University. ‘They’ve created a lower standard for her.’”

Later, Noyes added, “But some media experts questioned whether Bartiromo’s role at CNBC blurs the line between news gathering and public relations.

“Could you imagine Walter Cronkite . . . being embroiled in such a controversy as this,’ said Sasha Norkin, a professor of broadcast journalism at Boston University. ‘(Bartiromo) is a reporter, but really she’s the face of CNBC and she’s out there doing PR for them.’

“And while CNBC is getting mired in controversy as the story snowballs, it’s unlikely Bartiromo’s image will be hurt, Carroll said.

“‘I don’t think (Bartiromo is) representative really of business journalism. I think she’s sort of representative of brand-name business journalism, and there are not many of them,’ he said.”

Read more here.

Weiss: I don't see the problem with Bartiromo's flight

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Forbes.com columnist Gary Weiss thinks that the controversy surrounding CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo taking a plane trip with a Citigroup exec on its corporate jet is way overblown.

Weiss wrote, “Maria may be, well….. a bit too close to one of the companies she covers. That, however, is hardly a hanging offense in journalism and in financial journalism in particular. I railed against media puffiness in Wall Street Versus America, but what troubled me was the substance of the coverage, not the ethics of the journos.

“Where’s the ethical issue here? Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see it. She flew around in a corporate jet, with the knowledge of her employer. (They were ‘preapproved’ by CNBC, according to the Wall Street Journal.) She spoke to Citi clients, which I agree is not a great thing but, again, it was with the knowledge of her employer and is not against CNBC’s ethical rules. Above all, she did not get paid for them.

“There are plenty of reasons to get exercised over the financial press — such as the puffiness of much of the coverage, as exemplified by Maria’s BusinessWeek column — but flying around in somebody’s jet, after full disclosure to one’s employer, is not one of them.”

Read more here.

Berr: Bartiromo should be fired

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Jonathan Berr, the editor of desperateinvestors.com, calls Friday for CNBC to fire Maria Bartiromo because of her close relationships with sources.

Berr, a former reporter for Bloomberg News and TheStreet.com, wrote, “Maria Bartiromo, who rose to fame as CNBC’s Money Honey during the bull market of the 90s, should be fired for showing incredible lapses in judgment regarding her relationship with ousted Citigroup Inc. executive Todd Thomson.

“One of the cardinal rules of journalism is that you aren’t supposed to write about or show favor toward your friends. The Wall Street Journal’s (subscription required) expose of Bartiromo’s relationship with Thomson shows that they were at a minimum buddies.

“What’s more disturbing, however, is CNBC’s reluctance to look into the matter further. I’d like to know if CNBC ever reimbursed Citigroup for Bartiromo’s air travel. Moreover, doesn’t the channel’s corporate owner General Electric Co. have an ethics rule or two about employes accepting gratuities from clients? Citigroup, after all, does buy advertising on CNBC.”

Read more here.

Friedman wonders why CNBC isn't covering Bartiromo story

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Marketwatch media columnist Jon Friedman points out something today about the Maria Bartiromo/Citigroup flap that no one else has bothered to note: Why hasn’t her own network, CNBC, covered the story?

Jon FriedmanFriedman wrote, “Apparently, CNBC’s damage-control strategy is to hope that this unwanted intrusion will play itself out and simply go away. The network may not be so lucky, in this age of blogs.

“Anyway, CNBC bills itself as The Worldwide Leader in Business News. Bartiromo is a legitimate TV star. Those two factors alone make the story worthwhile and compel CNBC to report on it.”

Later, he added, “CNBC is giving Bartiromo what amounts to a free pass. To some outraged media observers, CNBC’s neglect seems like something of a scandal in itself. After all, how can one of its journalists ever again bemoan corporate disclosure problems with a straight face?

“Officials at the company maintain the network and Bartiromo have done nothing wrong. They don’t want to inflame a touchy situation by dignifying what insiders describe as scurrilous rumors. Further, the network’s officials contend that there was no conflict in their decision to leave her name out of its Citigroup coverage. The CNBC officials argue that the network’s coverage of Citigroup has been aggressive.”

Read more here. His conclusion is that CNBC has damaged its credibility by not reporting about its employee.

CNBC moves to defend Bartiromo

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New York Times reporter Geraldine Fabrikant takes a close look at CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo and her association with Citigroup in Friday’s newspaper.

Bartiromo’s trip on a Citi corporate jet is apparently what led to the ouster of one of its executives earlier this week. Fabrikant reported that it wasn’t the first time Bartiromo had flown on the plane.

Maria BartiromoFabrikant wrote, “CNBC also denied that Ms. Bartiromo had involvement with Citigroup more so than other businesses. In its statement, CNBC said, ‘In 2006 alone, she made 46 public appearances on behalf of CNBC.’

“The CNBC representative said that as the on-air figure most closely associated with the channel, Ms. Bartiromo routinely made promotional appearances at corporate events. Many of the corporations advertise on CNBC. Citigroup is among the biggest advertisers, a CNBC spokesman said.

“Of the 46 appearances Ms. Bartiromo made in 2006, the CNBC representative said, only three were on behalf of Citigroup. The list of other companies with events at which she appeared last year included Google, Schwab and Dow Jones.

“In no case was Ms. Bartiromo paid for speaking at the events, the CNBC representative said. The channel defended Ms. Bartiromo’s travel arrangements. The statement said, ‘Her travel has been company-related and approved, and involved legitimate business assignments.’ The CNBC representative added that the awards event in London was a routine appearance for Ms. Bartiromo.”

Read more here. The Wall Street Journal has a very similar story this morning.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz entered into the Bartiromo coverage on Friday, noting that her close association with some companies is raising questions.

Kurtz wrote, “CNBC executives say they approved and paid for each trip, and reimbursed Citigroup for the corporate flight. But the time and distance involved raise questions about how close Bartiromo has gotten to some companies she covers and whether she has become more of a celebrity journalist than the Wall Street workhorse of her earlier years.”

Later, Kurtz wrote, “While some of the 46 events involved other major corporations, such as Google, Charles Schwab and General Electric, they also included appearances on behalf of the AARP, Milken Institute, New York University and various charities.

“CNBC executives say that Bartiromo was fostering positive publicity for herself and her network while developing high-level sources among companies she covers. ‘I don’t think there’s even the appearance of a conflict of interest,’ said one executive who asked not to be identified while discussing personnel matters. ‘We paid our way. This is what we cover. This is what we do.’”

NY Post biz editor moves to metro slot

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New York Post business editor Dan Colarusso, who has been the biz section editor for the past two years, was named the metropolitan editor of the paper, according to a short story.

Dan ColarussoIn the story, editor in chief Col Allan stated, “Dan is a quintessential New Yorker who has helped position The Post’s business section as one of the best and most original in the nation. His hard news sense and street smarts will be invaluable assets in leading the news staff.”

Colarusso, a Brooklyn native, joined the paper in 2002 from TheStreet.com. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus and worked at Business Tokyo and Securities Weeks. At TheStreet.com, Colarusso was associated editor and consulted on story ideas and wrote a weekly column called “Truth Serum” and features. He also frequently appears on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Last year, Colarusso was also part of a panel at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference that discussed how technology is changing business journalism. His work has also appeared regularly in The New York Times, Barron’s and other leading business publications. Colarusso, who graduated from LIU’s Brooklyn Campus in 1988, has taught business writing there.

Read more here. No replacement was named in the story.

Union talks tough with Dow Jones management

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E.S. “Jim” Browning has been a Wall Street Journal reporter for more than 27 years, in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and New York. He currently write about financial markets and investing for the Journal.

But for the hundreds of business journalists who work at the Journal or Dow Jones properties such as MarketWatch, Barron’s and Dow Jones Newswires, Browning has a more important job. He is chairman of the bargaining committee in the current contract negotiations between Dow Jones and the Independent Association of Publishers Employees, the union that represents the journalists and other workers.

Earlier this week, the two sides held a bargaining session that focused mainly on health care. Browning talked to Talking Biz News about how the business journalism at Dow Jones might be affected by the talks.

What follows is an edited transcript.

What are the union’s specific concerns about the decreasing quality of the journalism practiced at Dow Jones related to the new contract?

We believe Dow Jones has gone too far in cutting costs. It has made too many cuts in staff and benefits, and it isn’t finished. It has demoralized employees by steadily cutting their real, inflation-adjusted pay starting in 2003. A number of senior, accomplished journalists have left the paper in recent months. At a time when the paper is trying to expand the scope of its coverage, an idea everyone applauds, the journalists who remain are stretched too thin.

At one time, rising health costs at Dow Jones were a legitimate concern. But starting in 2003, the company sharply increased employees’ share of health costs. Since then, health spending by the company has actually fallen as a percentage of its revenues.

Wall Street JournalDespite that, the company now wants to increase our health premiums by a stunning 400 percent and limit our wage increases to 2 percent annually, below the pace of inflation. That means our take-home pay would continue to fall.

Some would respond that all of this is par for the course in journalism today. Reporters are taking hits everywhere. But the Journal prides itself on offering a level of quality and accuracy that other papers can’t afford. Polls show that our readers expect that of us. They trust us in ways that they don’t trust other newspapers. We all take enormous pride in that. More important, the newspaper’s future depends on maintaining that standard. The more the company seeks to knock down our wages, push up our health costs and squeeze our staffing levels, the harder it will be to produce that level of quality.

There is an additional issue. Dow Jones’s new management — now for the first time — is dominated by people who have never worked as journalists. They have become enamored of outsourcing, and are outsourcing more and more back-office finance and technology-support jobs. They have even begun buying and publishing news analysis produced by outsiders, including a column of commentary in our core area, Wall Street coverage. Outsiders are cheaper, but don’t offer the same level of quality as staff employees. By shipping these jobs outside the company, we hire and train fewer of the young people who one day will be the senior journalists and other employees we rely on for future quality. We lose institutional memory.

We have raised this issue in contract negotiations, seeking to restrict future outsourcing, but the company so far has rejected any limits or controls on outsourcing.

How much of a concern in the negotiations is who will be the replacement for Paul Steiger?

We are concerned that a growing number of people outside the news department today are seeking to influence news decisions. We believe it is essential that the news department remain independent of the ad department, the business department and the editorial page, all of which have shown signs of meddling in the news department lately. It is unprecedented here to see these attacks on news-department independence, and it is certainly damaging to the newspaper. We very much hope that Paul’s replacement will have his judgment and, above all, his independence from outside pressures. This isn’t covered by the contract and we can’t address it in our negotiations, but this issue is an essential one and it contributes to the concerns that people in the newsroom have about quality.

When will union members go back on CNBC? Is that something that has been discussed during the talks?

CNBC appearances, as well as appearances on other company video and podcast projects, are voluntary. Company lawyers have alleged that we don’t have the right to ORGANIZE any refusal to participate as long as the contract is in force. We don’t agree, but to avoid a messy legal dispute, we aren’t asking people today to stay off CNBC or other video or podcast projects.

If we don’t see progress in contract bargaining, this is something that we would be able to pick up after the contract expires. In the meantime, people are asking to be paid extra for working on weekends and days off, work for which many people, especially reporters, don’t typically ask to be paid. In the past, these requests for extra pay have been viewed by management as a strong message from staff.

What do you think about the company’s decision to focus breaking news coverage at Dow Jones Newswires and leave the Journal reports for more analytical stories?

The company has publicized this move, but it isn’t really new. We have been using newswires reports for a lot of daily news coverage for some time. It is all part of the staff squeeze. You will note that the paper no longer identifies people as “staff reporters” beneath their bylines. That permits the paper to avoid indicating which stories are staff-written and which are from the newswires.

Major breaking news stories still are being covered by staff reporters. On the margin, a few more stories may shift away from staffers. At the same time, staffers are being asked to contribute more to reports that appear on the newswires and the website, which is where we are breaking more and more exclusive news.

Staffers always have been asked to focus mainly on analytical stories. This may be another case where people aren’t really freed up much from breaking-news duties, but still are asked to produce more in other areas. All part of the staff squeeze.

That said, the company doesn’t seem to be finished with its news-department consolidation. They are likely to cut news staff at the Journal, the newswires, MarketWatch and/or WSJ.com as they consolidate further. As I said earlier, we see those kinds of cutbacks as a continuing threat to quality. To pick up on a point A.J. Liebling liked to make years ago, when you cut back on the number of journalists out there chasing stories, you end up with cookie-cutter news and you destroy quality.

Has the issue of extra pay for blogging or appearances on WSJ.com video been discussed?

No. It could still come up. Right now these are voluntary activities that people do if they have the inclination and the extra time.

Is it a concern that journalists are being asked to be more versatile and produce for multiple media for the same pay?

Dow JonesIt could become a concern. Right now, this is in its infancy. Reporters aren’t spending much time doing work for other media. The main extra work right now comes when we are asked to break news on the wires or the website, then redo the story for overseas editions and then file for the U.S. print edition. If we are asked to produce other media at the same time, it could become an issue.

How much does it play into the negotiations that this is the first time the company has been run by someone who wasn’t a journalist?

It has not yet affected the negotiations directly, but negotiations have been going on for only a few weeks. As I noted earlier, we are seeing signs that management has less respect than it once did for newsroom independence. That is a major concern.

Does it help that publisher Gordon Crovitz was once a reporter?

I believe that he was primarily a writer for the edit page and then joined the business side. We certainly hope that he is more sensitive to journalistic concerns than a non-journalist would be. It would be nice if he would stand up for newsroom independence, which he hasn’t yet done.

How much of a surprise was the fact that the Journal was closing its Canada bureaus? Do you think there will be more closings or consolidation of news staff?

The closing of the Canada bureaus was a complete suprise. There was no warning. There were indications that it was a last-minute business decision, driven by cost considerations, not news considerations. That’s an example of outside meddling in the news department.

We have seen news reports that the company has hired an outside consultant to study news operations. There is a difference between reorganizing and cutting. As I mentioned earlier, we worry that Dow Jones may be considering further cutbacks, which would certainly be a mistake.

What role do you see the WSJ and its journalism staff playing in the future of business journalism?

The Wall Street Journal is the gold standard for business journalism. It is essential that stay that way. It is essential for the success of Dow Jones and it is essential to us, the journalists. Most important, we have an obligation to the public to maintain our journalistic quality. We need to work together with management to ensure that the Journal starts reinforcing quality, instead of continuing with the cuts.

Maintaining the Journal’s standards costs a lot more money than it would cost to let quality slip. In this day of Internet news and instant decisions, there is nothing magic about the Journal’s name that will make people buy it and read it. Our future depends on the quality of the news we produce.

Ethical questions raised about Bartiromo

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Reuters reporter Dan Wilchins writes late Wednesday that the actions by CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo to accept a ride back from China on a Citigroup jet, which led to the firing of a bank executive, raises ethical questions about the business cable news channel’s star.

Maria BartiromoWilchins wrote, “Personal relationships are crucial to reporters who vie to get stories first. But friendships that are too close can raise questions about objectivity, said Bob Steele, senior ethics faculty member at the Poynter Institute, a training and research center for journalists.

“Was there any personal connection with Mr. Thomson that could raise concerns about competing loyalties? It’s a reasonable question to ask, and important for her to answer in a meaningful way,” Steele said.

“Flying on Citigroup’s corporate jet could be seen as too close a relationship, even if the network paid for the flight, said Joe Bernt, professor of journalism at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

“Experts said one could argue that the plane ride gave Bartiromo access to a powerful figure at Citigroup, much the way White House reporters may have access to the U.S. president by flying on Air Force One.

“But the analogy is not perfect, said Deni Elliott, who teaches media ethics at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg. More than one reporter typically flies on Air Force One at the same time, and it may be the only time that reporters can get access to a president, Elliott said.

“Citigroup’s $5 million sponsorship of a Sundance Channel show that Bartiromo was to host with other personalities is also nettlesome if Bartiromo and Thomson are friends, said Pamela Luecke, professor of business journalism at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

“Bartiromo is no longer scheduled to appear on the Sundance Channel show, the Wall Street Journal reported.”

Read more here.

Citigroup/CNBC plane ride is now a "scandal"

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Fox News Radio host John Gibson has an editorial about the plane ride given to CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo on a Citigroup corporate jet that apparently led to an executive at the company losing his job.

Gibson makes some excellent points related to business journalism.

John GibsonHe wrote, “Now remember: This is a financial journalist taking a cushy ride halfway around the world on a corporate jet. She says she did nothing wrong, that GE and Citi settled the charges for the flight at the corporate level.

“As a GE shareholder I’d like to know what GE paid Citi for the use of that private jet. My staff made calls today. If I wanted to rent a G4 corporate jet I’d pay $5,700 per hour times the 17.5-hour flight from Beijing to Los Angeles and on to New York. I get a grand total of nearly $100,000. Just by the way, a first-class ticket on Continental Airlines is $3,900. So we seem to have an overcharge on a financial journalists’ air travel of 25 times or a 2,500 percent upcharge.

“Now, did I double-check the figures? Yes. We base our figures on information from airplanning.com, which charters everywhere.

“The conclusion? Somebody seems to have paid a lot of money for CNBC’s financial journalist to fly home from a China junket.

“So who paid? Did GE stockholders pay the full freight to bring the GE employee home? Or did GE stick Citi with the bulk of the bill, and it should be Citi shareholders screaming bloody murder?

“And just by the way: On the journalism issue, why could Citi want to treat a financial journalist to this kind of high-octane perk? Why would GE allow their CNBC financial journalist to be placed in this position of a possible conflict of interest?”

Read more here.