Tag Archives: Coverage
New York Times business writer Gretchen Morgenson is one of the best in the business. But that doesn’t prevent the Truth on the Market blog from criticizing her recent article on executive compensation and the proposed new SEC regulations.
Geoffrey Manne, who is a law professor at the Lewis & Clark Law School, writes on the blog that, “To me this sort of story highlights one of the dangers of mandatory disclosure: That the information might actually be used. Weâ€™re all accustomed to thinking that shareholders are rationally apathetic, but rationality means nothing if it doesnâ€™t mean that shareholders will be less apathetic [does that make them more pathetic? â€” ed.] when the cost of action goes down. It is, after all, the fundamental grounding for our securities regulatory regime.
“And this may be bad. The problem is that forced, Plain English disclosure of pay packages along with Ms. Morgensonâ€™s finely-honed commentary (â€?itâ€™s outrrrrrrrrageous!â€?) may induce shareholder action â€” in precisely the sort of situation in which the shareholdersâ€™ collective best interests are served by specialized decision-making by the board and seriously-limited or no shareholder second-guessing of business decisions.”
Another law professor, Larry Ribstein of the University of Illinois, also criticized Morgenson’s story on his blog, writing, “The NYT is, in Morgensonâ€™s space at least, sinking to the level of its tabloid competition. The story is not, or at least does not seem to be, inaccurate. But the entire story was written to maximize attention and minimize information, just as Jensen hypothecized. At some point the NYT may recognize that its hope for survival is to offer something more sophisticated than the blogs that are becoming its real competition.
“More broadly, we need more work along the lines of Guay, et al, on the pressâ€™s role in corporate governance. To what extent do stories like this shape misguided public policy like the SECâ€™s recent compensation disclosure rule? What is the social cost of the useless reshuffling firms must do to minimize damage from sensationalist stories like this?”
NewsBusters, w blog that works to find liberal bias on the media, critiques the article on the front page of the Sunday New York Times business section in a recent post. The article, written by reporter Landon Thomas Jr., is a profile of conspiracy-mongering author John Perkins called “Confessing to the converted.”
NewsBusters writes: “A paranoid left-wing audience may indeed find a ‘ring of truth’ to the suggestion that the corporate-government complex murdered Sen. Paul Wellstone and JFK Jr., but does that mean the Times has to relay it without critical comment? Thomas takes a liberal line to defend Perkins’ sub-Michael Moore appeal.”
Read the critique here.
The Economist, the London-based business magazine, will have a new editor soon. Editor Bill Emmott has announced that he is stepping down.
Here is coverage from Brand Republic: “LONDON – Bill Emmott, editor-in-chief for The Economist, is to step down from the role after 13 years to focus on writing books.
Emmott has been with The Economist for 26 years, working his way up from Brussels correspondent in 1980, becoming financial editor in 1986 then business affairs editor in 1989. He took on his current job in March 1993.
He will stay on at the magazine until a new editor is found, but this could be as soon as March 21, according to reports. The appointment will be approved by four trustees of the Economist Group board. Contenders are likely to include: Emma Duncan, who is deputy editor; John Micklethwait, US editor; and Matthew Bishop, American business editor.
Read full coverage here.
Mario Garcia, a well-known newspaper designer, said in an article this morning that he wished that The Wall Street Journal would become a tabloid — a move unlikely to happen.
Garcia, in the St. Petersburg Times, also said about the Wall Street Journal’s redesign: “‘It’s basically a rethinking . . . (according to) how people receive information today,’ Garcia said later, his Cuban accent flavoring his words. ‘Everything is on the table. How many sections? How much fusion with the Internet? Page-by-page, section-by-section, we are doing an absolute autopsy of the newspaper.’
Reporter Eric Deggans notes, “Journal managing editor Paul Steiger will drop only a few tidbits about the new design, including a liberal sprinkling of Web addresses and online information, an index to individuals appearing in the newspaper and a possible fashion section.
Read the entire article here.
New York Times medical business writer Barry Meier took the business reporting category for the Polk Awards, given for investigative reporting and announced Monday, for his coverage of a commonly used heart implant that had been found to be defective.
Meier’s coverage of the companies that made heart devices was thorough and meticulous back in the fall. The judges noted, “His coverage, which began last May and continued this year, sparked government, corporate and medical investigations that have helped to save lives.”
Meier’s Sept. 29, 2005 story in the Times began with this lead: “Criminal investigators at the Food and Drug Administration have apparently become involved in the agency’s inquiry into how the Guidant Corporation handled problems with its heart devices, said two people contacted by the investigators.”
A story published two days earlier led with: “By January, about 80 cardiologists nationwide completed an evaluation run by the Guidant Corporation of one of its products, an improved electrical component, known as a lead, that connects an implanted cardiac device to the heart.
“In exchange for implanting the lead in three patients and completing five survey forms, each physician received $1,000 from Guidant.”
And a Sept. 17, 2005 story began with this revelation: “WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 – A representative of the nation’s biggest maker of heart devices, Medtronic, said Friday that it was considering making available to doctors and patients some of the data about product malfunctions that it regularly provides to federal regulators.”
In addition, Bloomberg News reporters David Evans, Michael Smith and Liz Willen will share the George Polk Award for Health Reporting. Evans is a senior writer at Bloomberg News in Los Angeles. Smith is a senior writer in Rio de Janeiro. Willen is a senior writer in New York.
The judges stated, “Their ongoing coverage exposed faults in the U.S. clinical trial system that exploited poor, mostly minority citizens. The reporters revealed how patients, without being informed of the risks, were enticed into entering trials that might lead to serious illness or even death. Just as troubling, their reports revealed that the FDA was outsourcing oversight of some clinical testing centers to private, for-profit companies that were financed by the same large pharmaceutical companies whose drugs were being tested. The Bloomberg team’s story led to a Department of Health and Human Services review of the regulation of human testing and to the resignation of top executives at a major for-profit clinical trial testing center.”
This story ran in the Seattle Times in November 2005 and lead with: “Oscar Cabanerio has been waiting in an experimental drug-testing center in Miami since 7:30 a.m. The 41-year-old undocumented immigrant says he’s desperate for cash to send to his family in Venezuela.
“More than 70 people have crowded into reception rooms furnished with rows of attached blue plastic seats. Cabanerio is one of many regulars who gather at SFBC International’s test center, which, with 675 beds, is the largest for-profit drug-trial site in North America.
“Across the U.S., 3.7 million people have enrolled in drug tests sponsored by the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. The companies have outsourced 75 percent of experimental drug trials to centers such as SFBC, a leader in a $14 billion industry.”
“At the same time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has farmed out much of the responsibility for overseeing safety in these tests to private companies known as institutional review boards. These boards are also financed by pharmaceutical companies.”
Administered by Long Island University since 1949, the George Polk Awards memorialize the CBS correspondent slain covering a civil war in Greece and rank among America’s most coveted journalism honors.
That’s among one of many suggested changes that the Orange County Register is examining for its business section. The others were mentioned in this morning’s newspaper.
The announcement said, “The Register is working to improve our Business section and we need your help. If you do, you’ll have a chance to win one of five Entertainment discount books that we’ll give to people who fill out our quick survey by the end of Wednesday, Feb.22.
“In response to suggestions from readers, we’re aiming to help you make the most of all the opportunities Orange County has to offer. We’ll prepare you to make good choices when you shop, invest, buy or sell a home, look for a job, build your career or run a business. We’ll go beyond traditional coverage of stocks and companies to help you see the richness of Orange County — a place of innovation and achievement, commerce and community.
“To reflect this broader spectrum of coverage, we’re considering changing the section’s name in the printed edition of the Register.”
To read the full notice, go here.
Yvette Kantrow, the executive editor of The Daily Deal, has some of the best insights into how the business media cover corporate America, particularly when it comes to deals. She recently dissected the coverage of Morgan Stanley’s aborted negotiations to acquire Black Rock. Kantrow believes that it was that coverage that led to Merrill Lynch entering into talks to acquire Black Rock after Morgan Stanley backed away.
Kantrow writes, “Would Merrill have known there was a void to step into if Morgan Stanley’s negotiations had never been leaked to the media? It’s possible it would have, of course, since the market chatters about potential deals all the time. But the news reports here provided several advantages to Merrill. In addition to indicating that a Morgan deal was unlikely, media reports helped make BlackRock stock too expensive for Morgan to buy; BlackRock’s shares gained about 20% in the days following [CNBC reporter Charles] Gasparino’s first missive. The media coverage also exposed the market’s fear that Morgan’s deal for a controlling stake in BlackRock would have been too dilutive to the investment bank’s earnings. Merrill, by contrast, in its deal announced Feb. 15, is buying a noncontrolling stake of 49.8% of BlackRock.”
Kantrow also notes that she’s noticed a change in the business media recently in that some are beginning to question activist shareholders and stand up for executives being attacked by them. She wrote, “Since when is the media so worried about management â€” the same folks who for years have been portrayed as overpaid near-criminals who mislead their shareholders?”
Read her Media Maneuvers column here.
The cable network announced in a press release this morning that the well-liked Ron Insana will stop being an anchor and instead become a “senior analyst” at the business channel.
The release states, “Insana will offer daily commentary on the biggest economic and business news stories. He will appear on the network’s signature morning broadcast, ‘Squawk Box,’ once a month as well as on other CNBC programs.”
Apparently the move is part of Insana’s other ventures. The release notes that Insana is planning to start his own business and a subscription-based financial newsletter. Both will operate independently of CNBC.
Still, the move is just another in a series of shakeups at CNBC as it anticipates the competition from the upcoming Fox business channel scheduled to start operations later this year. The release did not state who would replace Insana on the ‘Street Signs’ program on CNBC.
The TVNewser blog had this to say about the move: “Insana’s departure from Street Signs ‘is the beginning of the ‘Squawk Box-ification’ of CNBC,’ an insider tells TVNewser.
“‘You’ll see more ensemble shows dayside and more CNBC in-house experts like David Faber and Insana and Dylan Ratigan and Joe Kernen and Jim Cramer and newcomer Erin Burnett all over the air at all times,’ the insider adds.
“So we’ll see more ‘pretty faces’ reading the stock prices, while experts explain what the stock prices mean? (Don’t get me wrong — Faber and Kernen and Cramer have pretty faces, too…)”
That was the theme of Neil Cavuto’s business show on Fox TV on Saturday, and the News Hounds blog took him to task for presenting an unbalanced view of the situation.
News Hounds wrote: “Cavuto’s premise was that Democratic criticism of record oil company profits, drug companies, and business practices of retail giant Wal-Mart amounted to ‘declaring war on America.’ The theme was backed up with pictures of Sen. Hillary Clinton, for extra effect.
“Cavuto probably will get a bonus for the panel he selected to discuss his biased premise: five conservatives and one liberal, Robert Borosage, director of the Campaign for America’s Future. Although outnumbered, Borosage made the point that Democrats are not “declaring war” on anybody, but only trying to roll back some of the excesses of the Republican Congress, which has given billions of dollars in subsidies to oil companies at a time when they are making record profits and created a Medicare prescription drug program without allowing the federal government to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices.
“Meanwhile, the likes of Jim Rogers, Ben Stein, Stuart Varney, Herman Cain, and Meredith Whitney stuck up for oil companies, complained about class warfare, ‘neo-socialism,’ ‘gutless socialism,’ and the ‘elites’ of Manhattan who didn’t want Wal-Mart in their neighborhood. Stuart Varney, Fox News business reporter, was the most absurd, claiming that Democrats ‘want to make us like the French, neo-socialists, losers, appeasers to boot.’
Read the entire post here.
This is from the New York Newspaper Guild web site:
“In much swifter talks, a five-year settlement with Consumers Union has been ratified by the membership in a 143-3 vote. There were two abstentions.
“The CU agreement, which calls for 18.76% in compounded wage hikes, was wrapped up in 11 bargaining sessions spanning five months. It includes a 4% wage increase retroactive to January 1 of this year, 4% on January 1, 2007, 3.25% in 2008, 3.25% in 2009, and 3% in 2010.
“The new contract also features a reduction in the number of years required for job security from the current ten years to nine, beginning in 2008 and an improvement in medical coverage with the addition of well-child care for children up to and including grade 12. It had been previously cut off at age 2.
“The Guild fended off company proposals that could have doubled health-care costs to employees while dramatically reducing their benefits. In the end, the employee-contribution formula remained the same and the Guild agreed only to minor increases in the cost of out-of-network dental charges and small increases in prescription costs that donâ€™t take effect for two years.”
Read the full release here, which also notes that the union has been holding meetings around the country regarding a new Reuters contract. (Click on “Guild News” to get the release.)