Tag Archives: Economics reporting

Labor Department releases data early

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The Department of Labor on Thursday released its closely watched weekly jobless report at least five minutes early on its website, ahead of its embargo release time for business reportrs, reports Geoffrey Rogow and Stephen L. Bernard of Dow Jones Newswires.

Rogow and Bernard writes, “Each week, the Labor Department releases its weekly jobless report at 8:30 a.m. EDT from a news ‘lockup,’ a gathering of journalists from more than a dozen accredited news agencies, including News Corp. unit Dow Jones & Co., publisher of this newswire. Some organizations maintain specialized hardware and software that allow them to transmit the data to subscribers as soon as figures are released.

“The early data release comes just one month before the Labor Department is set to initiate a series of changes to its data-release practices. Among the changes starting in September, all equipment used by news organizations at the lockup must be shipped directly from the manufacturer or a reseller to the Labor Department.

“As part of the changes to its data release, the Labor Department was planning to start posting the data to its website at the same time it allowed journalists to publish the data. In the past, there had been a slight delay before the data were released online.

“It was unclear whether that change had already gone into effect.

“The changes to the data release were a step back from a more-sweeping set of adjustments initially proposed. Those changes met criticism from some journalists and lawmakers, who said the adjustments risked introducing errors into reporting the data, among other objections.”

Read more here.

Bloomberg vs. WSJ in loan coverage

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Hal Morris, writing on his GrumpyEditor.com site, notes that Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal had different interpretations of a Federal Reserve report on lending.

Morris writes, “Bloomberg News, in pointing out ‘banks are lending the most since the recession ended in June, 2009,’ said yesterday the latest Federal Reserve quarterly loan officer survey showed U.S. banks ‘continued to report having eased their lending standards across most loan types over the past three months.’

“Bloomberg noted banks cited ‘stronger demand for auto and credit card loans.’

“Bloomberg also quoted an investment strategist saying, ‘banks are lending, people are borrowing, housing prices are going up and a sense of normality is returning.’

“Sounds encouraging.

“But then The Wall Street Journal, working off the same Fed survey, yesterday reported ‘despite the increase in mortgage demand, lenders were keeping standards tight for mortgage borrowers, as well as for small business loans.’

“The Journal added that among loan officers surveyed, 93 percent said standards for approving mortgages to those with strong credit ‘were unchanged from the prior quarter’ and 95 percent said standards for businesses with under $50 million in annual sales also were unchanged.”

Read more here.

Reuters TV to launch YouTube show on economy and politics

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Reuters TV will launch in September a new show called “Impact Players.”

It will be a 20-minute webcast featuring Robert Wolf, the veteran Wall Street executive and ”outside” advisor to President Obama.  “Impact Players” will air weekly on the Reuters TV channel on YouTube and will also be available to Thomson Reuters professional clients around the world.

It will include interviews with top policy makers, financiers and thought leaders and it will explore the major concerns surrounding the biggest stories in the news and examine the ways Wolf and his guests address key issues, solve problems and lay out strategies.

“The conversation about the economy and politics is the most important one going on in the United States right now and I can’t think of anyone better than Robert Wolf working with Reuters to bring that to life for the YouTube audience,” said Dan Colarusso, the head of global programming for Reuters, in a statement.

The show will be produced by Mark White, who most recently was the executive producer of Bloomberg Television’s morning programming.  Television news veteran Barclay Palmer is the executive producer of Reuters TV on YouTube.

Wolf is chief executive officer of 32 Advisors LLC, a consulting and advisory firm, which he founded in July 2012.

Prior to that, he spent 18 years at UBS, a global financial services firm, where he held several senior positions including Chief Operating Officer and President of the Investment Bank, Group Regional CEO and Chairman and Global Head of Fixed Income.  Wolf joined UBS in 1994 after spending approximately 10 years at Salomon Brothers in Fixed Income Sales and Trading. He graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics in 1984.

Jon Hilsenrath

WSJ too close to the Federal Reserve?

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On Bloomberg TV on Wednesday morning, former Morgan Stanley Asia non-executive chairman Stephen Roach pointed out the Wall Street Journal‘s uncanny relationship with the Federal Reserve.

Roach said that, “[The Fed] has gone about their usual pre-FOMC leak frenzy where they talk to this reporter and that reporter. Jon Hilsenrath is actually the chairman of the Fed. When he writes something in the Wall Street Journal, Bernanke has no choice but to deliver on what he wrote..Absolutely, the Fed will move next week.”

Roach — who serves on the senior executive team at Morgan Stanley as well as a lecturer at Yale University — went on to tell Bloomberg TV’s Betty Liu, “The point is, when [the Fed] plants a story in the WSJ — and [yesterday's A1] story has been planted – Jon Hilsenrath is the weed that grows, the guy has a perfect track record – they’ll do some kind of action.”

The Morgan Stanley senior executive is critical of actions by the Fed, saying, “The Fed is flailing and has been flailing for the better part of the past three years…They’re dangling this raw meat in front of the markets and the markets are salivating as they always do in their sort of frenetic way to believe in the Fed. But it hasn’t worked and it won’t work.”

To watch the interview, go here. Hilsenrath is the Journal’s chief economics correspondent and is based in Washington. He is responsible for covering the Fed.

Bloomberg Government hires research director

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Bloomberg Government announced Monday that it has hired Robert Litan as director of research.

He will begin work Aug. 6.  Litan will work in partnership with Bloomberg Government managing editor Mike Riley, building on the more than 360 research papers produced by BGOV’s  team of analysts since its launch in January 2011

Litan is currently the vice president for research and policy a.t the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City and a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, where his research includes topics in regulation, financial institutions, telecommunications, entrepreneurship and general economic policy.

“I am thrilled to be joining Bloomberg Government, the leading data and information service focused on translating the impact of government actions and policy on business,” said Litan in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with the extremely talented group of people that Bloomberg has attracted.”

Throughout his career, Litan has been frequently called to testify before Congress on a variety of subjects reflecting his recognized experience interpreting the interplay between government and business.

For example, in 2010, he testified before the U.S. Congress’ Joint Economic Committee about the ways in which federally funded innovation benefits national and local economies. In 2011 he co-authored testimony about the risks posed by exchange traded funds before a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Read more here.

Schwartz to join NYTimes economics reporting team

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New York Times business editor Larry Ingrassia and deputy business editor Winnie O’Kelley sent out the following staff announcement on Friday:

We are happy to announce that Nelson Schwartz will join our team of economics reporters.

Nelson, who came to The Times in 2007 from Fortune magazine, brings a wealth of knowledge to the economics beat. Since joining us as a Sunday Business reporter, he also has served as European economics correspondent for two years starting in mid-2008 and as one of our finance reporters since returning from Paris in 2010.

He replaces Motoko Rich, who moved to the National desk to cover education. Nelson has been an ace at every job he has held at The Times, writing great yarns for Sunday Business on variety of topics; helping to cover the financial crisis as it spread to Europe in the fall of 2008; and enhancing our coverage of banks and Wall Street since returning to the states.

Among other things, Nelson has been a major contributor to our first-rate coverage of the JP MorganChase trading debacle, and he was among a team of Times reporters who were finalists for a Loeb this year for their coverage of MF Global. With Europe’s debt crisis still unresolved, and its banks increasingly troubled, Nelson’s international experience and his understanding of finance makes him an especially valuable addition to our already strong economics team.

He will work closely with reporters Catherine Rampell and Shaila Dewan, and columnist Eduardo Porter, under the direction of deputy business editor Winnie O’Kelley.

Congratulations to Nelson on his new assignment.

Dow Jones FX Trader makes promotions

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Gabriella Stern, the managing editor of the Dow Jonex FX Trader, made the following staff promotion announcement on Monday:

We are delighted to announce changes in Europe’s FX, economics, policy and credit leadership team under Managing Editor Jenny Paris. They are designed to add depth and draw clear areas of expertise in guiding European coverage as the sovereign debt crisis enters (yet another) phase. 
 
Geoffrey Smith and Katie Martin are promoted to assistant managing editors. Assistant Managing Editor Paul Hannon will deputize for Jenny in her absence. All three will continue to be based in London.

–Geoff Smith: As Assistant Managing Editor, succeeding Jenny, Geoff will help manage euro-zone coverage with a particular focus on monetary and regulatory policies. In his new role, Geoff will supervise the Frankfurt-based reporters covering the European Central Bank.

A Dow Jones veteran of nearly 19 years (save for a brief investment banking gig), Geoff is no stranger to the ECB. He reported on the central bank for nearly two years until early 2011, when he moved back to London as a senior reporter covering economics and financial regulation. Before that, Geoff held several management positions, including five years as Moscow bureau chief, and stints as an assistant news editor for energy coverage in London and as Vienna bureau chief. Geoff joined Dow Jones in 1993 as a Bundesbank and capital markets reporter in Germany.

–Katie Martin: Katie, who has been news editor for FX for the past 18 months, is promoted to Assistant Managing Editor, FX & Fixed Income Markets. Katie will continue leading the London FX team while now also managing sovereign and corporate bond coverage. Fixed Income News Editor Carol Dean will report to Katie.

Katie joined Dow Jones eight years ago as an FX reporter, distinguishing herself with her deep knowledge of the industry and its key players; she has emerged as a crucial driving force behind our FX coverage in the region. She previously worked at Euromoney.

–Paul Hannon: Paul will assist Jenny in guiding coverage in Europe, the Middle East & Africa. He will continue to be in charge of all macroeconomics coverage and manage the U.K. economics team and the Dublin bureau; his duties will expand to include supervision of our newly minted Israel bureau. Paul will continue to look at Central & Eastern Europe FX, macro and policy coverage, working closely with that area’s managing editor, Anita Greil.

Paul has been instrumental in regional economics coverage (including re-engineering EconApp). As the crisis deepens, covering Europe’s stumbling economy will remain a top priority under Paul’s guidance.

Please join us in congratulating Geoff, Katie and Paul in their new and revamped roles.

Biz media using “job killer” phrase more often and without attribution

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Media stories with the phrase “job killer” rose dramatically after Barack Obama was elected president, particularly after he took office, according to research from two professors.

The number of stories with the phrase “job killer” increased by 1,156 percent between the first three years of George W. Bush’s administration (16 “job killer” stories) and the first three years of the Obama administration (201 “job killer” stories), found Peter Dreier of Occidental College and Christopher Martin of the University of Northern Iowa.

In more than 90 percent of the stories alleging that a government policy was or would be a “job killer,” the media failed to cite any evidence for this claim or to quote an authoritative source with any evidence for this claim, the study found.

“The news media, by failing to seek to verify allegations made about government policies and proposals, typically act more like a transmission belt for business, Republican, and conservative sources than an objective seeker of truth when it comes to the term ‘job killer,’” wrote the authors.

The two professors analyzed all stories in which the phrase “job killer” appeared from 1984 to 2011 in four major news organizations — the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and the Washington Post. There were 381 total stories written that contained the phrase “job killer” and its variations.

The AP news service had 115 stories, the Times had 55 stories, the Journal had 151 stories and the Post had 60 stories.

The Journal was the most likely of the four news organizations to deploy “job killer” as conventional wisdom, with no attribution. The Journal used sourceless “job killer” in 45 stories, or about 30 percent.

The Times did so in eight stories, or about 14.5 percent of its stories using the phrase. The AP used the term in five stories without attribution, or about 4 percent of its stories, while the Post used a sourceless “job killer” five times, or about 8 percent of its stories.

The study found no correlation between the frequency of the phrase “job killer” and the unemployment rate. Instead, “job killer” allegations correspond much more closely with political cycles.

If you would like a copy of the study, email croush@email.unc.edu.

SABEW to hold training call Monday on covering business during election

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Reporters and editors who are on the front lines of covering the intersection of business and politics share their insights regarding the upcoming election, the economic stories it will offer up, and what business journalists should be watching for during the next training call from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

It’s called “Marrying Politics and the Economy: Business Coverage in an Election Year,” and it will be held 2 to 3 p.m. Eastern time, Monday, June 18.

Sign up for the call here. On the day of the call, dial 218-339-2626 and, when prompted, enter the access code 4058935 and you’ll be put in to the call. Callers may only listen in to the panelists’ discussion, but may submit questions to sabew@sabew.org that will be sent to the moderator for possible inclusion in the hour-long discussion.

The moderator of the call is Fred Monyak, the Washington-based economy editor for The Associated Press. He formerly served as a business assignment editor for USA Today, a political news editor for The Baltimore Sun in Washington and a reporter and editor for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va.

Also on the call will be Michael Fletcher, national economics correspondent, The Washington Post; John Maggs, senior editor for economics, Kiplinger Washington Editors; and Paul Wiseman, an economics writer for the AP.

For more information on “Marrying Politics and the Economy” contact Kim Quillen, kquillen@timespicayune.com, 504-826-3416, or Kevin Shinkle, kshinkle@ap.org, 212-621-1886.

Why are there no biz reporters at the White House?

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Hal  Morris, writing on his GrumpyEditor.com blog, wonders why business journalists are not in attendance at the White House when the president discusses the economy.

Morris writes, “President Barack Obama’s remarks about the economy at Friday’s news conference illustrates that more business writers should be in attendance asking questions, suggests Grumpy Editor.

“After the president mentioned, ‘We’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone.  The private sector is doing fine,’ not one news person in attendance raised an eyebrow — or hand seeking amplification.

“Later on Friday, after questions were raised outside the White House, Obama adjusted his ‘private sector is doing fine’ line by saying:  ‘It is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine.’

“As for the jobs statistics, the president’s aides came up with the 4.3 million figure based on the February, 2010, low point for the private sector.

“That ignored job losses in his first year at the White House.

“The latest employment report — for May — showed the economy added only 69,000 jobs.

“Despite all this, some news folks backed the president’s presentation.”

Read more here.