Tag Archives: Coverage

The Wall Street Journal on the SEC's subpoenas

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The Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial in Wednesday’s newspaper criticizing the SEC’s recent action to subpoena three journalists, including two — Marketwatch’s Herb Greenberg and Dow Jones Newswires’ Carol Remond — who work for the Journal’s parent company Dow Jones.

Wall Street JournalThe Journal writes: “As long as journalists at Dow Jones are honestly reporting what they learn–and are on nobody else’s payroll–they are doing their jobs and serving the cause of efficient financial markets.

“The SEC’s subpoena flurry betrays an all too eager desire to manage and control financial information. It’s part of the mentality that a few years ago produced Regulation FD, which bars publicly traded companies from sharing certain information with research analysts before it is broadcast to the public.”

Later, the paper writes, “The irony here is that many financial reporters and columnists have benefited by receiving the leaks of those emails from the SEC and Mr. Spitzer’s office, spun of course to make a target company look bad. These journalists are learning how it feels to be on the receiving end of such blunderbuss discovery. At least they have the First Amendment to protect them, not to mention the airwaves or barrels of ink to defend themselves publicly. The average Wall Street trader has no such recourse.”

And then this parting shot: “Perhaps it’s too much to ask of our brethren in the financial press that they show greater skepticism toward the leaks and accusations of the SEC staff that are their daily bread. But it’s not too much to expect that Mr. Cox and his fellow Commissioners rein in their staff and return due process, rather than headlines, to the center of SEC enforcement.”

Read the editorial here.

An Oregonian editorial about Jim Cramer

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The Oregonian, the daily newspaper in Portland, saw fit to editorialize about Jim Cramer and his “Mad Money” television show in this morning’s edition. They were, surprisingly, positive about Cramer and his position among the talking heads on TV.

Jim CramerThe editorial, titled “A big Booyah! to the crazy man of Wall Street,” stated: “Who would have thought that this hyperactive, balding shouter could host one of the most honest programs on cable television?

“Cramer doesn’t pander. He just barks, paces, gesticulates and raves like nobody’s business in the pursuit of investment success. He is single-minded, enthusiastic and relentless. He is a happy scavenger, fueled by a profit-seeking exhibitionism.

“Contrast him with the other cable heads who compete with him in “news” cable television’s afternoon and evening time slots. Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson, Nancy Grace, the various business news readers and others, sadly, represent the continuing decline of the American dialogue. They feign outrage, seeking to inflame opinion by embracing the most extreme conclusions the market will bear. It’s enough to make thoughtful people despair.”

Later the editorial notes: “Cramer can’t chill. He’s too much of a raver. He certainly isn’t always right, as he admits. But it’s refreshing to hear somebody talking passionately about ideas, rather than trying to score points at somebody else’s expense.”

Has business journalism arrived in the popular culture when the mainstream media now editorializes about one of its most famous practitioners?

Read the editorial here.

Maria Bartiromo to begin radio show

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A press release this morning notes: “Beginning May 1st, the host of ‘Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo‘ on CNBC and host and managing editor of the nationally-syndicated program ‘The Wall Street Journal Report,’ will share insights on these topics and more in the weekday ‘Money Minute.’

Maria Bartiromo“The personal-finance segment will be aired during morning-drive, and is being syndicated through Premiere Radio Networks to all radio broadcasters. The segment may also be made available in other distribution vehicles.

“‘Personal finances are more complex than ever, but understanding them doesn’t have to be,’ said Bartiromo. ‘Radio is a perfect medium to reach people with advice that applies to real life.’

‘Money Minute,’ which will educate listeners on how to manage money as well as take intelligent steps to take to reach financial goals, is the veteran broadcaster’s first venture into radio.”

Frankly, I’d prefer Kathy Kristof of the Los Angeles Times or Jean Chatzky of Today/Money magazine. They are more of the personal finance experts. But I guess Maria has better name recognition.

Read the press release here.

The Washington Post on cutting stock listings

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No, the Post is not announcing that it is cutting stock listings like the Chicago Tribune, Providence Journal, Newsday, Rocky Mountain News, Orlando Sentinel and other papers have in the past six weeeks.

Reporter Steven Livingston covered the story from the angle of how newspapers are developing a print/web relationship.

Washington PostLivingston writes: “The Rocky Mountain News has been among the most aggressive in wiping out stock tables. Many other papers have moved some of their listings online, and if they haven’t, they’re getting close.

“The changes often rankle readers used to checking yesterday’s General Motors stock price over coffee at the breakfast table. But as newspaper circulation declines and newsprint prices rise, pressure is building on publishers to cut costs and move more of their franchise to the Internet.”

Livingston reports that the New York Times and Los Angeles Times are mulling changes to their stock listings but haven’t made any decisions. A Washington Post spokesman declined to comment.

Livingston added: “The stock-table debate underscores the growing convergence of newspapers’ print and online operations. Once the geeky cousin kept at arm’s length, newspaper Web sites are playing a growing role in disseminating the news.

“In recent months, both the New York Times and USA Today merged their online and print newsrooms. And Dow Jones & Co. last week put its Internet and newspaper operations together in a new unit under a corporate-wide restructuring.”

Read the entire article here.

Time to cover more women in business stories

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Lori Hope, editor of Bay Area Business Women, quotes some statistics from a recent study of how women are covered in the media that should be downright embarrassing for anyone who believes in trying to present an accurate reflection of the business community in the business section.

Hope writes: “The 2005 Global Media Monitoring Project shows:

҉ۢ Women are central to the news in only 10 percent of stories. In economics reporting, women are the focus in only 3 percent of stories; in pieces about politics and government, women garner only 8 percent of the focus.

҉ۢ Only 3 percent of stories challenge gender stereotypes.

҉ۢ Just 4 percent of stories deal with gender equality.

“This is due partly to who’s assigning the news stories. Women comprised 21 percent of news directors at U.S. television stations in 2004; among communications companies in the Fortune 500, women on average comprise 12 percent of board members. The percentage of top editor positions at mainstream newspapers was down to 20 percent in 2002; a mere quarter of syndicated columnists are women, and only 10 to 20 percent of op-ed columns are written by women.”

Read her entire column here. To find out more about the Global Media Monitoring Project, go here. On an encouraging note, I found that the percentage of women as “news subjects” in business stories has gone from 10 percent in 1995 to 18 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2005. And the percentage of women who write about business and the economy has gone from 35 percent in 2000 to 43 percent in 2005.

I challenge all business reporters and editors to look at their business section for the past month and count how many times a man was quoted and how many times a woman was quoted. If the numbers are way out of balance, then it’s time to sit down and rethink how you report stories and what sources you use. Also, think about some long-term ways in which you can add women to your coverage.

I’m not suggesting gratuitous stories about women in business. The business world is no longer a male-dominated part of our society, and the business section should reflect that.

Evidence of the Ridder family management acumen

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If you have been following events in journalism lately, then you know that the once-venerable Knight-Ridder newspaper chain is considering bids to sell the company — in whole or piecemeal — to bidders who have until later this month to submit their best offers.

The new issue of the Columbia Journalism Review has an analysis of what went wrong and the efforts of the Philadelphia Inquirer to remake itself.

One of the anecdotes is this telling event that relates to business journalism: “While Knight was a chain run by newspapermen with journalistic aspirations, the Ridders owned many smaller newspapers of marginal distinction. The Ridders were regarded as prudent, perhaps overly so. The family, for example, owned the Journal of Commerce, whose circulation at the end of World War II matched that of The Wall Street Journal. In 1951, however, the Ridders, looking to cut costs, decided to drop the Journal of Commerce’s stock listings and to focus the news columns on stories of narrow interest — a move so short-sighted that, years later, the New York Times’s Floyd Norris would include it in his list of the century’s dozen worst business decisions. Fifty years later, the Journal of Commerce’s circulation stood at 17,000 — as compared to the Journal’s 1.75 million.”

Amanda BennettThe article also gives this example of how the Inquirer will now cover business news under Amanda Bennett, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and editor.

CJR’s Michael Shapiro wrote: “Some editors, Bennett said, had grasped the concept more quickly than others. Among them was Bob Rose, the business editor.

“She had hired Rose from her old paper, The Wall Street Journal, whose culture was very much one of leaving some stories untold — or briefed — in return for pursuing the larger piece that others had not even thought of. As it happened, that morning, Rose was presented with a story that necessitated his choosing between the paper’s traditional ways and Bennett’s vision of the future. Ford had announced that it was shutting fourteen plants and laying off 30,000 people, a big story. Tradition would have called for pulling a reporter off one piece — perhaps a time-consuming enterprise piece — and, in the absence of an auto writer on the staff, asking him to cobble together something for the next day’s paper. Rose considered doing just that, and then changed his mind.

“Without a large piece already conceived and reported about, say, the decline of the American auto industry, without a writer in Detroit or someone in-house with real knowledge of the industry, and without any Ford plants in the area, he decided to leave it to the wires. Instead, he concentrated on two local stories — a scoop on Donald Trump’s plan to build a forty-five-story luxury condominium on the Delaware waterfront, and the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to allow the sale of prescription diet pills over the counter, one of which was manufactured in Philadelphia. Both stories ran on page one.

To read the entire piece, go here.

Biz reporters who smoke cigars to find sources

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Those who practice the art of business journalism don’t typically look to the alternative weekly newspapers that inhabit most metropolitan communities for tips on how they practice their craft. But deep in the crevasses of the Weekly Planet, the alternative rag in Tampa, is a nice reporting tip that brings back memories.

Wayne GarciaThe Planet has an collection of first-person items this week on how each of its staff members began smoking and what they think of smoking. Political reporter/guru Wayne Garcia of the Planet staff remembers the first time he puffed on a cigar in the early 1990s when we were both writers for the Tampa Tribune’s business section.

Garcia writes: “My first encounter with cigars was, well, misguided. I smoked a pack of Swisher Sweets in 1978 while at the Florida-Georgia football game in Jacksonville. I didn’t touch another dog rocket for 13 years, until I was working in the Tampa Tribune’s business news department.

“A co-worker — Adam Levy, now a bureau chief with Bloomberg Business News — urged me one day to join him for an afternoon smoke break at Tampa’s legendary Edward’s Pipe and Tobacco, a hangout for various captains of industry who smoke. Levy got good banking story tips there; I figured I would try a cigar and hang out.

Adam Levy“Cigar-smoking stuck. Today, I find the ritual relaxing — carving out an hour to sit back, clip the end of the stogie, light it and enjoy while the rest of the world keeps spinning.”

Read the entire piece here.

I can verify this story, as I am friends with both Garcia and Levy and also frequented the cigar bar at Edward’s. A number of Tampa business leaders would go there on their lunch hours, and we figured it was a good opportunity for us to talk to them in a more casual setting.

And yes, we got good story tips there.

Byrne vs. Greenberg, Round Three

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The ongoing war of words between Overstock.com President Patrick Byrne and MarketWatch.com columnist Herb Greenberg continued this morning on CNBC’s Squawk Box show shortly after 8 a.m. EST. To set the scene, Greenberg was in the studio as a guest commentator, while Byrne was in a San Francisco studio.

CNBCAs for background, what’s been going on between these two is that Greenberg and other journalists have written articles and columns critical of Overstock.com and its cash position. Byrne has retaliated by posting interviews with journalists on the Internet, and the SEC got involved last month by issuing subpoenas, which it then backed away from, to Greenberg and other business reporters, related to an investigation of an investment firm that Byrne has sued.

Unlike earlier this week when he called Greenberg a “crooked reporter” on the Kudlow & Co. show, Byrne was relatively tame this time around. His best zinger was: “It’s my sense that the SEC was certainly onto Herb’s scent long before we came along.” As for the journalists who believe that Byrne and his belief that so-called naked short sellers are seriously misguided, Byrne said, “They’ve become the conspiracy nuts. I have not orchestrated the SEC investigation.”

Patrick ByrneAt one point during the interview, Byrne held up a sign with the URL of two Web sites that promote the theory that naked short selling is ruining the stock market. When asked why he was doing that, Byrne replied, “I’ve had enough of CNBC interviews being cut off.”

After Byrne finished, Greenberg was then allowed to reply. “My main complaint is this guy is an emotional nut case,” said Greenberg. “It’s basically ludicrous.” Later, he added, “I go out there attempting to help people avoid losing money.”

Greenberg also called for an investigation into The Sanity Check web site — one of the URLs on Byrne’s sign — that has been posting Byrne’s interviews with business journalists. The site is run by someone using a pseudonym, although Greenberg believes that Byrne knows the person.

Business journalism on television. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Conde Nast biz magazine hires first writer

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The New York Post reports this morning that the as-yet-unnamed Conde Nast business magazine that is about a year away from launching has hired its first writer.

Dan RothKeith Kelly writes: “Joanne Lipman, the editor-in-chief of the still-untitled Conde Nast business title that is still a year away from launch, is staffing up. She has just raided Fortune magazine to hire Dan Roth as a new senior writer.

“‘That’s the rumor, and it is true,’ said Roth yesterday. He starts the new gig March 20.

“‘It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to a start-up magazine that is backed by Conde Nast,’ he said.

“Sources say that Conde Nast outgunned the New York Times, where Roth was in the running to replace Jim Impoco, the paper’s former Sunday business editor who earlier joined Lipman as the new mag’s executive editor.

“Roth, a one-time tech editor, has penned a slew of Fortune cover stories including an April 2004 feature on Donald Trump. More recently, in April last year he penned ‘Nike after Knight’ on the legacy of Phil Knight, and in January he co-wrote ‘Why There Is No Escaping the Blog’ with tech writer David Kirkpatrick.”

Before joining Fortune in 1998, Roth was a reporter for Forbes, where he worked for two years. He started his career with the Triangle Business Journal in Raleigh, N.C.

From 1999 to 2003, Roth appeared on TJFR Business News Reporter’s list of the top 30 business journalists under the age of 30. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and lives in New York.

Horse racing and business journalism

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There are similarities between horse racing and business coverage, says T.D. Thornton, editor of bloodhorse.com, an Web site that covers the horse racing industry.

Horse racingThornton notes how the Boston Globe and the Washington Post recently announced that they were cutting horse racing agate from their sports sections. Thornton notes the difference between this and cutting stock listings: “Consider the trend of major newspapers dropping entire pages of stock tables. The thinning of the business section elicits similar protest, but the finance industry differs noticeably from racing in its collective response: New technologies are continually being hatched to make it super-simple (and free) to obtain comprehensive market data that is superior to columns of tiny type whose quotes are destined to be outdated long before the paper thunks against one’s front door.”

Read the rest of his column here.

Kentucky newspapers like the Lousville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader do a pretty good job of covering the thoroughbred industry from the business section.