Tag Archives: Information


Dallas Morning News revamps biz coverage


Bob Mong, the editor of the Dallas Morning News, writes Sunday about changes in the paper’s business coverage.

Mong writes, “On Tuesday, we introduce a redesigned Business section with a cleaner look and expanded content. A year in the making, the section is the work of a team of journalists and lots of good ideas from our readers.

“Look for a retooled markets page aimed at being more helpful to investors. Renamed Your Portfolio, you will find it more analytical and forward thinking. Readers also asked for bigger type, and Your Portfolio delivers.

“Readers also asked us to expand business and economic reports from around the nation and world. Beginning Tuesday, readers can find this new approach anchored on Page 2.

“We also are reintroducing Economy and You on Page 3 six days a week. This page features Kiplinger, one of the best sources for pocketbook advice. Michelle Singletary’s personal finance column will appear in Economy and You twice a week. I expect both to be hits.

“Sunday’s Business section features expanded space. ‘Your Sunday Business section will be fatter,’ noted business editor Dennis Fulton. ‘We’re keeping everything you say you like about the old section, plus newly expanded reports on personal technology and entrepreneurs.’”

Read more here.

American Lawyer

American Lawyer parent is on the market


American Lawyer publisher ALM Media, which was once controlled by Wall Street dealmaker Bruce Wasserstein, is exploring a sale that could fetch more than $500 million, reports Olivia Oran and Greg Roumeliotis of Reuters.

Oran and Roumeliotis write, “ALM Media, backed by private equity firm Apax Partners, has hired investment bank Jefferies to assist with efforts to sell the company, whose magazines are popular among U.S. lawyers and legal professionals, the sources said.

“The first round of interest from potential bidders starts this week, another person familiar with the process said who added the buyer likely would be another private equity firm.

“ALM, which sponsors conferences and owns legal and real estate publications and sites including the American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, New York Law Journal and Law.com, was sold to Apax in 2007 for $630 million through the private equity firm’s portfolio company, UK-based Incisive Media Ltd.”

Read more here.

WSJ Office

WSJ Office Network is sold


Captivate Network, which already owns the bulk of those business screens in elevators, is buying the company that owns most of the screens in lobbies, Office Media Network, operator of The Wall Street Journal Office Network, in a cash and stock deal, the companies said Tuesday.

Michael Sebastian of Advertising Age writes, “The Wall Street Journal Office Network, the result of a licensing deal between Office Media Network and Journal parent Dow Jones, debuted in building lobbies in 2006 and expanded to elevators a year later. But it always trailed Captivate in terms of the number of people it could reach.

“Buying the Wall Street Journal Office Network means the 17-year-old Captivate Network increases its screens to 12,000 from 10,000, according to the company. It is North America’s largest in-office media network, reaching roughly 65 million adults each month, according to the company. A third company in the digital-placed based market, RMG Network, has screens inside Regus business centers.

“‘It bodes well not just for the future of Captivate but also for our entire industry,’ Mark Shapiro, Captivate’s chairman of the board, said in a prepared statement.

“Media buyers said the consolidation is a positive development for the out-of-home industry, particularly digital place-based media, the term used to describe video screens in offices, elevators, retail locations and taxis. Digital place-based media is a small but growing part of the media pie. Marketers are expected to spend just over $1 billion for ads on video screens in 2014, a 12.6% boost from the prior year, according to the MyersBizNet Media Business Report.”

Read more here.


Sticking to the mission: Providing readers with important biz news


Gwen Moritz, the editor of Arkansas Business, writes about the publication on its 30th anniversary.

Moritz writes, “A lot of things have changed in the past three decades, many of them for the better. In October 1990, Arkansas Business switched to weekly publication. Better technology has radically improved what we can do on the printed pages of Arkansas Business. Our design is better; our paper stock is better; we have color ink on every page. The ads are better (and classier).

“For almost half of Arkansas Business’ existence, since 2000, we have been able to augment our award-winning print publication with daily e-newsletters and a website on which we post developments as they happen. To engage our readers only once every two weeks, or even only once a week, seems as painfully retro as that macho hot-tub guy’s curly perm and luxurious mustache.

“But what Arkansas Business is and what it does have not changed very much. Arkansas Business is still ‘reporting exclusively on the state economic scene with business executives as its readership,’ to quote an introductory article in the first issue, dated March 19, 1984. And that’s what this 30th anniversary issue sets out to remind you: that, through the years, Arkansas Business has stuck to its mission of providing its readers with the most revealing, most memorable, most important business news available in Arkansas.”

Read more here.


Showtime orders show from biz journalist Sorkin


Showtime has ordered “Billions” from New York Times and CNBC business journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin and writer-director-producers Brian Koppelman and David Levien.

Whitney Friedlander of Variety writes, “Set in the world of wealth, this fictional drama focuses on the collision and, at times, collusion between an aggressive U.S. attorney in New York and some of the richest hedge fund billionaires in the country. All three will executive produce.

“Sorkin, who wrote the best-selling book ‘Too Big to Fail,’ is the co-anchor on CNBC’s Squawk Box and is the founder and editor-at-large of New York Times’ DealBook, will stay with the newspaper. The 2011 HBO Films adaptation of his book received 11 Emmy nominations, including one outstanding miniseries or movie.

“The multi-hyphenate Levien and Koppelman have worked on projects like ‘Ocean’s Thirteen,’ ‘Runaway Jury’ and ‘Rounders.’”

Read more here.

Navajo Post

Navajo Post to become first Navajo business newspaper


The Navajo Post will officially become the first Navajo business newspaper to cover the business community on the Navajo Nation and entrepreneurs throughout the Southwest.

A notice on its website states:

Although our platform is solely business news, we will still cover some hard news. The Navajo Post was officially established on May 5, 2011.

The name, logo, and newspaper layout will not change just the content and focus.

Read more here. There is also a magazine calles RezBiz that targets a Native American business owner audience.

Bill C. Smith

The Financial Follies from a PR perspective


The 71st annual Financial Follies (“The Follies”) was held last Friday at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square and hosted by the New York Financial Writers’ Association.

The Follies is an event where reporters and public relations professionals alike engage in respectable behavior and generally call it a night after their second drink.

I’d been privy to yarns of Follies past and was eager to partake in the gala dinner while representing my firm.  Having participated in the Follies this past Friday, I would like to offer a few distinguishing factors that demonstrate why the Follies is the networking event of the PR/business media world:

The amount and diversity of outlets

Based on the crowd size — conservatively speaking about 1.7 million people (certain outlets, such as the New York Financial Writers Association had the official number at 900, but I’m going with my gut on this one) — the Follies is the ultimate networking event.  At our table (and I will list them because in an oversight they weren’t listed on the official Follies program), we had editors from Buzzfeed, The New York Post, and CFO Magazine, as well as reporters from Hedge Fund Manager (HFM) Week and The Wall Street Journal.  In addition, representatives from Business Insider, MarketWatch, TheStreet.com, and The Bond Buyer dropped by our table to partake in revelry and liberate various beverages.

Inside jokes and financial puns

What better venue to discuss the latest in financial journalist scuttlebutt?  During the Follies, an all-star cast of journalists take the stage and perform skits based on current events.  The performance rivaled that of “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark,” and it was clear those on stage had invested their time and had a diversified range of skills.

Some inelegant members of the audience were clearly “Fed up and/or just Yellen” because they lacked a cultured character.  Either way, the show eventually tapered off and dinner arrived as our able waiters eased quantitative amounts of steak…I’ll stop.

Meeting reporters face-to-face

In previous posts, I’ve detailed my experiences meeting with journalists and forging professional relationships.  This event was perfect because it gave me and the other PR pros in attendance the opportunity to meet journalists and reporters in a festive setting, and none of the reporters could use the excuse that they were on deadline in order to avoid us.

If you work in public relations and didn’t attend – convince your boss for next year

The Follies don’t come cheap, but the access to reporters is unparalleled, and the event itself is sure to generate many a conversation the following Monday at work.  Plus, there are several sponsored after-parties with further opportunities for media networking in a professional setting.


The Follies is a unique and boisterous networking experience that can’t be missed if you’re a media professional.  The atmosphere, show, and singular access to influential and eclectic media personalities in attendance make this a must-attend event.

Bill C. Smith (@BillCSmith87) is a senior account executive at Dukas Public Relations in New York.

Reynolds Center

Reynolds picks fellows for biz journalism seminars

The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism has selected 30 fellows – 16 journalists and 14 professors – for four days of intensive study in business journalism.

The fellows will attend separate seminars Jan. 2-5, 2014, at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix.

Journalists in the Strictly Financials Seminar learn how to dissect financial statements and SEC documents. Prospective business journalism professors receive training in how to teach a university-level course in business journalism.

The seminars, taught by highly regarded business journalists and business journalism professors, are part of Reynolds Business Journalism Week at the Cronkite School.

Click here to see who was picked.


Financial reform heats up


This is going to be a big week for financial reform. A division of the Treasury Department is looking to regulate the asset management industry. The Obama administration is also in the midst of negotiating the details of the Volcker rule, which bans firms from trading for their own accounts.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal story on the new asset management regulations:

The asset-management industry is pushing back against a powerful, yet little-known Treasury Department office that is laying the groundwork for tougher federal regulation of mutual funds and other asset managers.

Large firms such as BlackRock Inc., Pacific Investment Management Co. and Fidelity Investments are blasting a report by the Office of Financial Research that found asset managers could pose risks to the broader financial system. The finding is significant because it is among the criteria a group of senior U.S. regulators will use to determine whether large asset managers are “systemically important” and should be drawn in for stricter oversight.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council, which is chaired by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and includes top officials from the Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies, is in the early stages of considering the risks associated with the asset-management industry, with a focus on BlackRock and Fidelity, according to people familiar with the council’s discussions. The council can designate firms as systemically important under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, which created the FSOC and Office of Financial Research to help prevent a repeat of the financial crisis.

The council this year has designated American International Group Inc., Prudential Financial Inc. and General Electric Co.’s GE Capital unit with the systemic label, and MetLife Inc. is under review. The Fed hasn’t outlined rules for these firms yet but has said it would be flexible in applying rules to different industries. Insurers and asset managers fear they will face requirements to rein in risk taking similar to those applied to banks.

By singling out some of the largest asset managers for greater oversight, the government is extending its reform mandate and could make it more challenging for them to generate returns. Other Wall Street firms are concerned about their ability to make money as well. The New York Times had this story on the Volcker Rule:

The Obama administration, currently stumbling through the health care overhaul, has reached a critical stage in its other signature effort: reining in Wall Street.

The push to reshape financial oversight hinges on negotiations in the coming weeks over the so-called Volcker Rule, a regulation that strikes at the heart of Wall Street risk-taking. The rule, which bans banks from trading for their own gain, has become synonymous with the Dodd-Frank overhaul law that Congress adopted after the financial crisis.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has strongly urged federal agencies to finish writing the Volcker Rule by the end of the year — more than a year after they had been expected to do so — and President Obama recently stressed the importance of the deadline.

While regulators are optimistic they will complete the rule soon, even after facing a lobbying onslaught from Wall Street, they have little time to overcome the internal wrangling that has stymied them for years.

The tension among regulators — five agencies are writing the rule — has centered on just how stringent to make it.

The National Journal outlined some of the issues the five agencies are struggling to resolve as they make the new rules:

The biggest problem hasn’t been the difficulty of defining which trades are permissible under the Dodd-Frank statute. (Hedging and market-making—in which a firm says it will buy and sell stocks at a given price—are OK; making risky bets for profit, known as “proprietary trading,” is not. The line between them, Wall Street and regulators argue, is fuzzy.) The problem hasn’t even been the stupefying amount of work Dodd-Frank handed to regulators, who must devise 398 rules, according to law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, without giving all the relevant agencies enough of a funding boost for the job. Three years in, and they’re still only 40 percent there.

No, say Wall Street and former Washington officials: The biggest problem may be the cultural gaps between the five agencies charged with writing the Volcker Rule. It’s not the first time regulators have had to work together, but such collaboration—particularly between banking cops and market cops—was less frequent before Dodd-Frank. It is expected to become more common, and the Volcker Rule experience suggests that it won’t be easy.

The Dodd-Frank statute convenes the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Together, they are meant to write the rule, named for Paul Volcker, the former Fed chairman and a reform advocate. That means they’ve got to get everyone on board, and any agency can hold up the process over any point. This has produced frustrating delays, Volcker said at a conference in March. “How many times people told me six months ago, ‘It’ll be two weeks, Paul! We’re going to get the regulation out. It looks like it’s right there.’ Doesn’t happen,” he said. “Two months later, ‘Well, before the end of December.’ ‘Well, before the end of January.’ You cannot operate an effective regulatory system this way.”

The greatest cultural divide is between the three banking regulators (the Fed, the FDIC, and the OCC) on one side and the two market regulators (the SEC and the CFTC) on the other. The banking types have historically worked confidentially to examine institutions’ practices and correct them when they’re out of line; these officials cooperate and even embed staff at the banks themselves, so it stands to reason they prefer flexibility on this rule and other parts of financial-regulatory reform, say former officials and financial-regulation experts who asked to speak anonymously in order to generalize. The market regulators, on the other hand, are focused on investor protection and disclosure; they like to draw bright, easily enforceable lines, the officials say.

The difference between the market and banking regulators just may make this task a difficult one to finish. Either way, a year after the deadline, it’s time for them to take some of the uncertainty out of the markets and make a decision on final rules for firms to implement.

New York Times

How the New York Times neglects business journalism


Felix Salmon of Reuters writes about how the New York Times neglects its business news coverage when it tweets stories.

Salmon writes, “Give business stories a bit of promotion on the home page and on Twitter, in other words, and they’ll get you just as many pageviews as anything else, on average. But it turns out that the business section is systematically shortchanged by the people making those promotional decisions. Maybe (I’m not sure) because it has a higher concentration of wire stories.

“Again, this looks like strategic short-sightedness. Business-news pages are some of the most valuable on the website, in terms of the amount that the NYT ad-sales team can charge for them. (They’re so valuable, in fact, that the entire Dealbook section remains outside the NYT paywall, in an attempt to garner it as many pageviews as possible.) By promoting more business stories, even if they are (horrors!) wire stories, the NYT could make more money, and everybody wants that — including the readers, who have shown that they have more interest in such things than the NYT’s editors think that they do.

“What would be lost by such an approach? Very little: a few dining and metro stories might get viewed less often, if their promotional muscle started getting transferred to the business section. And maybe a few NYT egos might get a little bruised, if they discovered that their snowflakes weren’t quite as precious, to the outside world, as they liked to think, at least in comparison to the wire. But the website should be run for readers, not for journalists. And improbable as it might sound, it looks very much as though those readers would be best served if the NYT made it significantly easier to find wire stories, business stories, and — especially — business wire stories.”

Read more here.