Tag Archives: Information
William Powers, a columnist at the National Journal, wrote a scathing critique of the new Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal. His chief complaint was that the writing was lifeless and that the paper wasn’t like the Journal during the week.
You can read his critique here.
Again, I wondered earlier about the reaction of the reporting staff being asked to produce any extra day’s worth of copy. Maybe their apathy is reflected in the writing.
Another sad day for newspapers. Today Scripps announced the closing of the Birmingham Post-Herald (see corporate statement below). The newspaper’s last edition will be tomorrow. I know I speak for many journalists in expressing my condolences to our colleagues at the Post-Herald. I hope they choose to stay in journalism and can find brighter futures elsewhere. I worked at the Nashville Banner years ago but left before the newspaper folded. JOAs have always made me nervous, and this is just one more example of a one that didn’t work. Of course we all know as business writers what is important at publicly owned companies. Still it’s tough when things like this happen. Good luck to all of you in Birmingham. You’re on our minds today.
Here’s a link to the Post-Herald’s online business section. They were very aggressive in covering the HealthSouth scandal and the Scrushy trial.
The link to the Scripps Howard official announcement can be found here.
Topic: Miscellaneous items
Date/Time: 9/22/2005 10:48:05 AM
Title: Scripps CEO’s letter re Birmingham Post-Herald
Posted By: Jim Romenesko
September 22, 2005
I have difficult news to share today.
Scripps has announced that The Birmingham Post-Herald will publish its final edition on Friday, Sept. 23.
Paid circulation of the Post-Herald has declined to about 7,500 copies – a level at which it no longer makes economic sense to continue publishing. The time has come, I’m sorry to say, for The Post-Herald to join other great afternoon newspapers that have passed into history.
It’s never an easy decision to extinguish the light of an independent editorial voice, especially one as bright and rich with tradition as The Post-Herald. Sadly, though, newspaper readers in Birmingham have made it clear that they are no longer interested in supporting an afternoon newspaper.
The closing of The Post-Herald will end the joint operating agreement between Scripps and Advance Publications Inc., owner of The Birmingham News, which manages the printing, marketing and distribution of both Birmingham daily newspapers. Terms related to the joint operating agreement’s termination are not being disclosed at this time.
Scripps has developed a comprehensive severance plan for The Post-Herald’s editorial staff. We’re committed to helping our Birmingham employees through a smooth transition to new employment.
For all of us at The E. W. Scripps Company, and for me personally, today is a sad day. Our hope had always been for a different outcome.
Please keep our friends and colleagues in Birmingham in your thoughts and prayers as they begin this period of transition in their lives.
Kenneth W. Lowe
President and Chief Executive Officer
The E. W. Scripps Company
I was able to get posted onto another Web site two interviews I did with two people from the Business Journalism Hall of Fame — if there was such a place.
The first is with Ray Shaw, the chairman of American City Business Journals and former president of Dow Jones. Ray started his career as a reporter for the AP and then the Wall Street Journal.
The second is with Carol Loomis of Fortune.
Both of these interviews can be read at www.bizjournalismhistory.org. After you get to the Web site, click on History Q&A at the bottom of the page.
There are some good insights here on how both of them became interested in journalism and business journalism as a career.
I just got back today from talking at one of the business reporting seminars put on around the country by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Reporting at the American Press Institute. This seminar was held at the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.
What was disappointing was the turnout. There were 17 journalists registed to attend the session, but by the last session, there were only 10 left in the room. I don’t think it was the quality of the presenters — myself and Kansas’ Jimmy Gentry — because the evaluations all gave fours and fives on a five-point scale.
Why is it so hard to attract people to come to an educational seminar where theyr’e going to improve their work skills? Maybe some editors don’t want to lose their staff for a full day, but the Commercial-Appeal’s business desk was there in full force. Yet there was no one from any of the Arkansas papers, and only one reporter from nearby Mississippi, and she was from Jackson. Distance wasn’t an issue because there was at least one reporter from the Knoxville area — a six-hour drive — and two journalists from the Tuscaloosa, Ala., paper, whose managing editor is a former business editor in Sarasota.
The API seminars are a great learning tool. But business journalists won’t get better at their craft until they start taking advantage of these kind of opportunities.
I’ll be doing these workshops in Dallas on Wednesday and Orlando on Friday, where the registration is higher, so maybe those will make me feel better about the future of business journalism.
The Houston television station that broke the story about the problem with Firestone tires on Ford SUVs and Paul Steiger, the top editor at the Wall Street Journal, are both being honored by the University of Missouri for their work in journalism.
To read more about the award, go here.
I consider the KHOU-TV coverage one of the best business stories in journalism in the past decade, and Steiger has been one of the best editors in the field for a long time.
A guy by the name of Tom Contiliano is on the UNC campus today. Tom is a forensic accountant by training who works at Bloomberg News helping the journalists there understand what’s going on with the financial statements of the companies that they’re writing about.
This will never happen in newspapers, but maybe it should. If the business media is going to do a better job of catching the next Enron or WorldCom, then shouldn’t it be hiring people like Tom to work in its newsrooms? Most journalists don’t understand financial accounting, and even those who think that they do probably don’t know it as well as an accountant.
Tom is smart enough to understand how both worlds intersect. And because he’s got a nice, easy-going personality, he gets along well with the reporters and explains things to them in a way that they can understand.
Tom is training my students on how to use the Bloomberg terminal, another useful skill that most newspapers seem to ignore when it comes to their business staffs.
It was recently disclosed in the Baltimore City Paper that the Baltimore Sun’s architecture writer owned real estate in a number of neighborhoods in which he writes about.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think that if such a disclosure occurred on the business desk, a lot more serious repercussions than simply telling the reporter he can no longer write about those neighborhoods would have occurred.
Are business reporters held to a higher standard than reporters on other desks because their jobs involve writing about how people make — and lose money? The Baltimore paper seems to be making such a distinction.
But business journalists get fired all the time for such conflicts of interest — even if they don’t affect their coverage. In 1990, the St. Petersburg Times fired banking reporter James Greiff after management found out he had shorted the stock of a bank — even though it was a bank he wasn’t writing about, according to an Oct. 13, 1990 article in the Washington Post. Greiff later worked as a business reporter and editor at the Charlotte Observer and Bloomberg News, which had no problems with what he had done. Bloomberg’s code of ethics allows reporters to write about stocks in which they own, but not to actively trade them.
What would have happened if someone had discovered that a real estate writer on the business desk was investing in commercial or residential real estate that they were writing about, or had mentioned in a story? What about the whole idea of someone writing about the local real estate market even though they have a vested interest in how the market performs?
The Baltimore paper sinned by not taking more aggressive action. If it had occurred on the business desk, the writer would have been out of a job.
The Baltimore City Paper story can be read here.
The fact that Conde Nast wants to enter into the business magazine business, which was discussed in a New York Times article this morning, is not surprising when you look at the people behind Conde Nast.
This point wasn’t mentioned this morning in the NYT article: Conde Nast is owned by Advance Publications, which is the Newhouse family business. And a decade ago, Advance acquired American City Business Journals, the parent company of 41 weekly business newspapers across the country. From what I understand, ACBJ is an extremely profitable company and has been a great success for Advance.
Earlier this year, ACBJ tried to buy Fast Company and Inc., two struggling business magazines, which shows me that Advance wants to get into the business magazine portion of the industry. And the company was able to take its Street & Smith’s sports magazine brand and successfully extend it into the realm of business journalism with a weekly sports business publication that I understand has become profitable.
While the new publication successfully compete against Fortune, Forbes and BusinessWeek? That remains to be seen, and the quality of the content will bring in the ads. But the Big Three have shown that they can run a competitor into the ground, as they did with Financial World in the 1990s and other magazines such as The Industry Standard in recent years.
But don’t discount Conde Nast because you think it doesn’t have business journalism savvy. Its parent has tons.
The SABEW education committee held a conference call on Thursday to discuss our plans for this blog. So expect to see more posts here coming soon from others.
In addition, the SABEW Board of Governers have been invited to post on the blog as well.
Our hope is that comments — and traffic — on this board will soon increase exponentially. In addition, I have asked the vice president of editorial at American City Business Journals, which operates 41 weekly business newspapers around the country, to send a link to the blog to all editorial employees of the company.
Early Bird Registration Ends September 6th
SABEWâ€™s Fall Writersâ€™ Workshops will be held October 10-11 in St. Louis, Missouri. Early bird registration prices are ending September 6th, so hurry to get the discount while it lasts! Register online at www.sabew.org.
SABEW Chair Scholarships for Fall Writers Workshop
The SABEW Chair is offering two scholarships for the Oct. 10-11 workshop in St. Louis. The scholarships are for registration and two nights lodging at the conference site, the Sheraton West Port Lakeside Chalet. The scholarships are valued at approximately $400 each. To apply, email a brief biography and one-paragraph note on the benefits you’ll receive from attending the seminar to SABEW Chair Marty Steffens at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scholarship winners will be recognized at a luncheon and will be asked to write an article on the event for The Business Journalist newsletter. Priority is given to minority members or members from smaller newspapers. Questions? Call Marty Steffens at 573-884-4839. Deadline is Monday, Sept. 12.
Reynolds Center Scholarships Offered to SABEW Fall Writers Workshop
Two scholarships to the SABEW Fall Writers Workshop on Oct. 10 and 11, valued at more than $400 apiece, are being offered by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at the American Press Institute. The workshop is being held in St. Louis at the Sheraton West Port Lakeside Chalet, 10 minutes from Lambert Airport.
Each scholarship covers the $175 registration fee and two nights lodging for $114 a night. Deadline is Monday, Sept. 12.
Send a 250-word essay on your background as a working journalist and why you would benefit from attending the seminar to Andrew Leckey, Director, Reynolds Center at API, at email@example.com. You must also have approval of your immediate supervisor.
Anheuser-Busch CEO to Address SABEW Workshops
A trip to St. Louis wouldnâ€™t be complete without hearing from Budweiser, So Patrick T. Stokes, the president and chief executive of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. will address the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Fall Workshops to be held Oct. 10-11 in St. Louis.
Another speaker from the local business community will be David W. Steward, who founded World Wide Technology Inc. with four people in 1990. By last year, his St. Louis tech company had 620 employees and $1.4 billion in sales, making him one of this countryâ€™s most successful African-American entrepreneurs. He also recently co-authored a book titled â€œDoing Business by the Good Book.â€? The forward was written by former President George H.W. Bush.
Of course, the SABEW fall workshop will be highlighted by a lineup of classes to help vault business journalists to the next level of their career. Newsweekâ€™s Allan Sloan and The New York Timesâ€™ ace reporter Diana Henriques will each lead workshops. Plus, instructors from the University of Missouriâ€™s famed journalism school will offer classes on advanced techniques:
â€¢ Steve Weinberg on Investigative Reporting
â€¢ Jacqui Banaszynski on Writing
â€¢ Marty Steffens on Editing
â€¢ Daryl Moen on Design and Visual Journalism
â€¢ Jennifer Moeller on Editing
â€¢ Berkley Hudson on Interviewing
Attendees can pick and choose the sessions they want to attend. Members who register by Sept. 6 qualify for the early-bird discount at $175.
Registration information is available on the SABEW Web site (http://www.sabew.org) by clicking on the â€œConferences and Workshopsâ€? button.