Tag Archives: Websites

Quartz tablet

Quartz formally announces India launch


Quartz, Atlantic Media’s business news website, announced Thursday that it will launch Quartz India this June with region-specific content and targeted native ads.

More than 40 percent of Quartz’s readers are outside the U.S., a level that has been consistent since its launch in September 2012.

India remains a top source of Quartz’s international traffic, it is a growing region for business news, and readers in the region are trending towards news consumption via digital and mobile channels. Given the small number of digitally native publications in the region, Quartz sees a strong opportunity for growth in readership.

“We saw an opportunity to serve our readers in the region even better with both our journalists around the world and an increased focus in India,” says Kevin J. Delaney, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Quartz, in a statement. “It’s a mobile-first region at a critical moment in its economic history—and we’re excited to deepen the coverage available to readers on their smartphones and tablets especially.”

Quartz will collaborate with Scroll.in’s team of reporters and editors in India to produce region-specific content for Quartz India. It will feature business, markets, and technology news and analysis, along with access to the full content produced by Quartz’s journalists globally. Readers in India will be able to access the region-specific version of Quartz via qz.com. Quartz India content will also be available to readers outside the region through the Quartz India view.

Quartz, launched in 2012, covers global business topics. Quartz has more than 25 journalists around the world. Quartz surpassed 5 million unique visitors in January and is tracking to be up more than 400 percent over the first quarter of 2012 in terms of advertising revenue.

Frank Tantillo

Tantillo named ME for Reuters.com


Dan Colarusso, the executive editor for digital at Reuters, sent out the following staff announcement on Thursday:

I am pleased to announce that Frank Tantillo is being named Managing Editor, Product, Reuters.com.

Frank is a veteran Reuters journalist and trusted voice in the newsroom. He joined the company as a news assistant in 1994 and quickly became the kid in the newsroom who knew how to both find things on the then-new Internet and how to explain to the old-timers how it worked. He’s been intimately involved with the training and implementation of major editorial systems and moved over to Reuters.com in 2005 as one of its first hires.

He has been our go-to guy since.

In his new position, he will be among the key editorial voices in product development and technology changes on Reuters.com, working closely with Brian Tracey. He will be responsible for developing ideas around new sections, user experience features and multimedia/data innovation and troubleshooting technology issues relating to editorial workflows.

Please join me in congratulating Frank.


Stock promoters making inroads on financial news sites


Stephen Gandel of Fortune writes about how the writing of stock promoters is increasingly being found on financial news sites.

Gandel writes, “In the past year or so, several finance websites — including Forbes.com, Seeking Alpha, Wall St. Cheat Sheet, and others — have published articles by authors who were allegedly paid to promote the stocks they were writing about. These articles were not labeled as advertisements and carried no disclosures that the authors had been compensated by their subjects. In fact, on at least one of the websites — stock blog Seeking Alpha — the articles carried a disclosure stating the author had not received any compensation from anyone outside of Seeking Alpha to write the article. Seeking Alpha now admits that some of those disclosures were inaccurate.

“The articles in question were published through the websites’ contributor networks and were allegedly paid for by an investor relations firm called The DreamTeam Group. Most of these pieces focused on so-called penny stocks — companies with shares that trade for less than a dollar and not very often, a favored terrain of stock promotion schemes.

“While not all of the facts are clear, the websites admit that they were duped. In the past few weeks, more than 100 articles have been pulled from Seeking Alpha, Wall St. Cheat Sheet, and other websites that have been caught up in the stock promotion scheme.

“In some cases, the stock promoters were successful. In late December, Forbes.com published an article by Tom Meyer called ‘The race to develop a brain cancer treatment takes an interesting turn.’ The article said a small biotech company called CytRx had ‘remarkable results’ in a recent drug trial and ‘appears poised for a significant run in the months and years ahead as the company’s platform continues to be validated by science.’

“Within days of the article’s publication, CytRx’s stock rose nearly 50% to $6.90. Last week, a class action suit was filed against CytRx, its CEO Steven Kriegsman, and an investor relations firm The DreamTeam Group. The suit says that CytRx (CYTR), through DreamTeam, hired Meyer and another author named John Mylant to place positive articles about the company and its shares on Forbes.com and other websites.”

Read more here.

Wall Street Journal

WSJ accused of violating video privacy law


Dow Jones & Co. has been hit with a potential class-action lawsuit accusing it of violating federal video privacy laws with the Wall Street Journal‘s Roku app.

Wendy Davis of MediaPost.com writes, “Georgia resident Terry Locklear alleges in her complaint that the news company’s app automatically transmits information about the Wall Street Journal Live clips that users view — along with the serial number of their Roku devices — to the analytics and video ad company mDialog. Locklear argues that this activity violates the Video Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits video providers from revealing consumers’ personally identifiable information without their written consent.

“‘Unbeknownst to its users … each time they view video clips or news reports, the WSJ Channel sends a record of such activities to an unrelated third-party data analytics and video advertising company called mDialog,’ she alleges in her lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. ‘The complete record is sent each time that a user views a video clip or news report, along with the serial number associated with the user’s Roku device.’

“Locklear asserts in the complaint that a Roku’s serial number is a ‘persistent identifier’ that can be matched with users’ identities to reveal ‘a wealth of extremely precise information’ about them. ‘Software applications that transmit a Roku’s serial number along with the user’s activity provide an intimate look into how the user interacts with their channels, which can reveal information such as the user’s political or religious affiliation, employment information, articles and videos viewed, and even detail about the sequence of events in which the user interacts with their Roku,’ she alleges.

“Dow Jones did not respond to a request for comment.”

Read more here.


Frankie Flack: Lies, damn lies, statistics and business journalism


If you’re a business reporter and don’t love numbers, I don’t want anything to do with you.

I love selling stories with facts and figures a lot more than I like selling sizzle. Show me market share or same-store sales or margins data, and I’ll go to town. In contrast, today’s great profile of a brash young CEO might be tomorrow’s cautionary tale. But the numbers, they don’t lie.

(This isn’t, technically, true. Number lie all the time. They also mislead. But — and this is what I love about numbers — they can be fact checked, vetted, fisked, taken apart, put back together. You want to question my assumptions? Bring it on.)

That said, “data-driven journalism” has now officially jumped the shark. Election-predicting Nate Silver has re-launched fivethirtyeight.com for ESPN, but he’s not content to just crunch baseball stats or election polls. Nope. His site is going to bring a data-driven approach to everything, no matter how silly.

I mean, the site has been up for only a few days, and two things have already happened. First, reporters are now claiming that statistics can solve any problem. That missing airliner? If only the nerd-kings were in charge! They’d apply Bayesian statistics and — voila — have a much better idea of where the plane went down. Never mind that Bayesian statistics don’t work well in an information vacuum. Just wave that magic wand!

Second, reporters are now violating most of the primary rules of working with numbers, such as the general principle that the bigger the dataset, the better the results. Yet 24 hours after the site launched, the “lead writer for news” used this phrase: “My experiment had a sample size of one.” That is not a sentence that inspires confidence.

And it’s not just fivethirtyeight. The New York Times is launching “The Upshot” to do essentially the same thing. Ezra Klein has a similar belief in the edifying effect of charts and data. Some of this stuff will be really good. But a ton of it will be horseshit, dressed up as science.

This is going to boomerang back to haunt you business reporters. You heard it here first: It’s going to take about six weeks for the PR brain trust to decide that we need less pitches with infographics (thank God) and more datasets that we can dump on unsuspecting reporters.

You all will have to start double-checking my numbers because no one wants to let a juicy data story slip away. And we’ll all be worse off, spending our days hunched over Excel spreadsheets, looking for trickery.

So here’s my offer, and we need to agree on this quickly before things spin even more out of control: on behalf of all flacks, we will not pivot to sending you crappy “data” stories if you all agree not to hop on the bandwagon of dressing up garbage numbers as some sort of absolute truth.

That doesn’t mean I’m abandoning numbers. Far from it.

I’m still going to push for GAAP earnings reports and sensible information on marketing trends or whatever to send you.

But I won’t claim that Bayesian statistics are the key to understanding the frozen concentrated orange-juice futures if you don’t publish “experiments with a sample size of one.”


Colleen DeBaise

The news about women business owners


Colleen DeBaise is a journalist and author covering entrepreneurship.

She is currently the director of digital media at The Story Exchange, a nonprofit media organization devoted to covering women business owners, and a contributor to The New York Times. Her book, “The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guidebook,” was published in 2010.

Prior to her current roles, DeBaise was the small business editor at The Journal, and has served as an editor at Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek and SmartMoney. She has been interviewed as a small business expert on television and radio, including MSNBC, Fox Business Network, CNBC, CBS and NPR.

Before covering small business, DeBaise spent many years writing about white-collar crime as lead court reporter for Dow Jones Newswires. She also wrote a personal finance column. In 2005, she was the winner of the Newswomen’s Club of New York’s Front Page award for specialized writing.

DeBaise has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in English from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.

DeBaise spoke by telephone Wednesday about The Story Exchange and coverage of women in business. What follows is an edited transcript.

TBN: How did The Story Exchange get started?

CD: I have been with The Story Exchange since September. It started a little over two years ago. The two co-founders are women, Victoria Wang and Sue Williams. Victoria lives in Boston and is a retired banking executive. Sue is in New York and is a documentary filmmaker. Victoria’s experience was in banking for many years, so she wanted to provide a resource for women out there who want to start and run their own businesses. She came up with the idea and talked to Sue about it. They both concocted this idea of providing mentoring about entrepreneurship while also giving them guidance.

So they decided to put these documentaries on a website. It started as a video project, and it has evolved into a start-up, nonprofit media site.

TBN: How did you get interested?

I was looking to do something different. I had been a journalist for a long time, and I was feeling run down by the demands of modern journalism today, especially working in the online world. I had considered leaving journalism. This was in August, and I happened to stumble across the fact that The Story Exchange was looking for an editor of the site. It seemed so tailor made for me. For the past seven years, I have been covering small business and entrepreneurship, and I have written about a lot of women entrepreneurs.

The Story ExchangeTBN: Who are its readers?

CD: As far as we can tell, women business owners, and people who are aspiring to be entrepreneurs. That is who our target audience is. Most of our readers come in from the United States, but we do have an international following. The country that comes in the most is India. We have written a few articles now about India, so that could be why.

TBN: Where do you find your story ideas?

CD: The same way any journalist does. We go to events. We go to a lot of conferences for women business owners, things of that nature. We meet people there. For some of my articles, I use services such as ProfNet, so I hear about women business owners that way too.

Another resource that we have, one of the things we do in addition to producing articles, is that we have an ongoing research project with Babson College called the 1,000 Stories Project. Once we are done, we are going to analyze the data about women entrepreneurs. So on our site, we ask women to submit their start up stories. Because of that project, we hear a lot about women owners that way.

TBN: How is the content distributed to other media outlets?

CD: One of the things that Victoria and Sue and now me have as a goal is to change the media narrative. We find that the stories about women business owners are lost or not touched upon at all. That is our reason to be. We want to tell the story of women business owners. So by producing these videos and articles we can. Ideally, we want partners to get more exposure. Mainstream media partners. Partners like women’s organizations that might have sites as well. Our big partner is the New York Times. (Editor’s note: Another is The Huffington Post.)

With the Times, what originally happened is that it does pretty extensive small business news, and it produces a lot of small business content. A year ago, one of its bloggers happened to write a profile of a small business owner who we had done a video about. So the Times did an update blog post embedding the video with one of their stories. That is how it all began.

When I came on board, we really pursued this because it seemed like a perfect fit. So in October we entered into a more formal relationship. We do a series of videos with accompanying videos about women business owners, and we provide them to the Times. How we have done it so far, for December for instance, we rolled out profiles of five different female entrepreneurs, one a week. And we started up again in February with another series of five. The last one was posted today.

TBN: What is your opinion of mainstream business media and how it covers women business owners?

CD: There is a lot of coverage of entrepreneurship by mainstream media. But what you tend to see is a lot of coverage about fast-growth tech companies with a lot of buzz with products that we all use. Naturally, you tend to get a lot of coverage of these companies out of Silicon Valley, and a lot of them are led by white guys. I can see how it happens.  They are growing like mad and hiring a lot of people.

What our thought in all of this is that because those fast-growth high-tech start-ups are getting the lion’s share of coverage, the ones started by women are not getting the media attention. If you look at the research by American Express, you will see that women-owned businesses since the recession have added more jobs to the economy than male-owned businesses. But you don’t hear about that. These small businesses are having a huge impact. What we are trying to do is tell the stories of these women-owned businesses and trying to show what all of these women are accomplishing.

TBN: How do you measure success?

CD: The traditional measurements. We’re trying to get as much exposure as possible. Our numbers are quite small when we publish stories on our site. But when our articles and videos get picked up by the New York Times, our exposure is significantly made broader.

We’ve been using social media a lot. It is a great tool when you have a small, no-name site when you want to gain a following. So we tweet and Facebook all of our stories, all of our videos, and all of our blog posts. We are gradually getting a following.

And we are growing. We just hired an assistant editor this past week, and we have a new person coming in to help with video production. It is great to feel like we’re evolving and growing.

TBN: Anything else?

We want to provide a role model to other women, which is why we were thinking video when we first started. We wanted to show how a woman is successfully starting and running a business.

Business Insider new

Business Insider’s Blodget responds to Wolff


Business Insider editor in chief Henry Blodget wrote a response Monday to USA Today columnist Michael Wolff, who wrote about the business news site.

Blodget writes, “At Business Insider, our goal is to create value for our readers and clients, not to protect a legacy business, so we charge native digital prices. We also encourage clients to use our “private exchange” to target their advertising in real time, which offers an even more efficient buying option. And we create custom native advertising solutions for our major clients, allowing them to reach our readers — the next generation of business leaders — more effectively and efficiently than they can on other professional news sites. Our clients see such value in our solutions, in fact, that, in contrast to USA Today’s concern, the ad revenue we are generating per reader is actually rising.

“In short, the pressure on ad prices at traditional news organizations is good news for our clients and us. We are also much better at serving digital readers than many traditional news organizations, so we can thrive on these “digital dimes. We also have a successful subscription business, which we and our members are very excited about (which USA Today did not mention).

“So, we agree with USA Today about the trend of declining digital ad prices at traditional news sites. For the sake of us and our clients, we hope this trend continues.”

Read more here.
China Business Knowledge

Covering China business news from New York


Janet Stites is the editor and publisher of ChinaBusinessKnowledge.com, which covers China-based companies whose shares are trading in the United States.

With the news that China-based Alibaba plans to trade in the States, her site is likely to become more popular in the coming months.

Stites has a 25-year history as a business, technology and science journalist. She has been a business columnist for The New York Times, was founding publisher and editor of PHONE+ Magazine in the late 1980s, co-founder and CEO of AlleyCat News magazine, the first editorial director of Jupiter Communications in the mid-1990s and a freelance writer.

She has been a feature writer for OMNI Magazine and written for other various national publications such as Fortune Small Business, Self Magazine, and Portfolio magazine. As well, for 15 years,  she was a contributing writer for the The Bulletin of the Santa Fe Institute, interviewing world-renowned scientists, such as John Holland, Murray Gell-Mann, Tom Ray,  Stephen Langton and Beniot Mandelbrot.

She graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications with a degree in magazine journalism and received her M.F.A. in fiction writing from UNC-Greensboro. She lives in New York City with her son, Sam.

Stites spoke about her website with Talking Biz News by email. What follows is an edited conversation.

TBN: How did you get the idea for China Business Knowledge?

JS: After I had to fold my magazine, AlleyCat News, in the fall of 2001, the journalism market was at a standstill. I started doing some marketing and consulting work. I also launched an online journal to track executives working in start-ups on the East Coast called Talent Pool News [East]. The goal was to eventually use the site as a marketing tool to provide recruiting services to venture funds seeking execs for the companies they funded (as, unlike, the west coast,  it is not so easy to find executive talent for start-ups on the east coast).

When I announced the recruiting initiative, an industry friend brought me into a consulting gig to help a Chinese financial services firm.  The firm had a dozen Chinese companies trading on the U.S. markets (at that point, on the OTC). They wanted us to find financial exes to “shadow” their CFOs, as well as to recruit western executives to sit on the boards of the companies. They saw my media background and also asked me to do some public relations.

We had a good run for four months. Then Lehman went bankrupt. The firm went belly-up.

Journalism was still dead, even worse, as was everything else. So after a year of walking around in a fog and doing too much volunteering, I decided to tap what I had learned about the sector of China-based/U.S. listed companies and launched CBK in August 2009. Essentially, I put up the first version of my site over a weekend.

TBN: What business stories do you cover?

Janet StitesJS: The bulk of what I cover can fall under the header of “Market Moves,” including uplistings, IPOs, buyouts/Going private mergers. But I also cover executive and director resignations and appointments and SEC news, such as insider trading investigations or outright fraud.

I use my “Publisher’s Notes” column for each edition to editorialize or talk about broader issues going on in the sector, the global economy or China. It is sent by email, with “headlines” and a link to the latest news on the site.

My site also has sources of information for investors, such as a list of most of the China companies trading on the U.S. markets, organized by exchange.  I include a link to each company’s website and QuoteMedia data. For another example, I am currently compiling a list of companies which have gone private or are in the process and a list of “dark” stocks (mostly on the OTC Pink or Grey markets). All this is behind the pay wall.

I also write “Special Reports” on pivotal topics. I would like to do more, but the news rains down on my every day and it is hard to find time to do longer pieces. In fact, one thing I cannot do is report quarterly numbers or numbers from annual reports. It is not possible for me to do a thorough job, so I don’t do it at all.

Right now I am only covering about 60 percent of what I would like to do with CBK. It is somewhat crippling, like a football player only being able to run the up to the five-yard line and then someone yells STOP!

TBN: How do you get your story ideas?

JS: Since public companies must disclose information which can “move” their stocks, the news is easy to gather through press releases. I keep it simple, but add context. For instance, if a company’s announces the resignation of its CFO, I will include other pertinent info they may have left out, like that the company has lost three CFOs in 18 months (a big red flag for investors), or something of that ilk.

For larger stories, I stick with topics which are current to the market. I had hoped to do more company profiles, but it is difficult to find the time bandwidth.

TBN: Who are your reader?

JS: CBK is geared for investors, whether individual or institutional. But, of course, just like any trade magazines many executives from professional services firms read it — lawyers, accountants — China-centric associations and institutions, and analysts. Also, just people interested in the China market, even if they are not going to invest in China-based/U.S. listed companies.


Quartz launch

Quartz plans to launch India site later this year


Quartz, the business and financial news site from The Atlantic, is planning an Indian site to launch later this year, reports Joe Pompeo of Capital New York.

Pompeo writes, “Capital has learned that Quartz is preparing an India channel to launch this spring or summer, possibly around the time of the country’s national elections in April and May. The site’s parent company, Atlantic Media, is expected to announce the project, which we’re told will consist of larger, India-specific features, as early as this week.

“A Quartz spokesperson confirmed the plans but wasn’t able to offer any further details other than to say there will be journalists devoted to the channel full time and that they are still deciding on a name. The spokesperson could not confirm whether or not there will be a local media partner but did say there will be a ‘major sponsor’ at launch.

“The move reflects a growing interest among Western outlets in the Indian media market.

“The New York Times has been publishing its India Ink blog since 2011. The Huffington Post recently announced plans to add India to its growing stable of international editions. And The Guardian is contemplating an Indian operation as well, according to a source with knowledge of its plans. (A Guardian rep said it was too early to comment on the specifics of its future international expansion plans, but chief executive Andrew Miller hinted at an India play last fall.)”

Read more here.

Business Insider new

Valuing the Business Insider audience


Michael Wolff of USA Today examines the value of Business Insider.

Wolff writes, “But the actual meaning and value of large digital audiences remain unclear. Only a small percentage of Business Insider’s traffic actually seeks it out and regards it as a worthy destination and a source with particular brand authority. Most other readers land on a Business Insider article because of search-engine results, or because of an engaging — tabloid-style — headline in a Facebook feed and other social-media promotions, which generate 30% of Business Insider’s traffic.

“In 2013, BI made more than $19 million, most of it selling this traffic to advertisers. It said it was profitable in the fourth quarter (usually a good quarter) and that it won’t be profitable in 2014.

“It has to produce lots of content — quantity tending to trump quality — to realize these traffic goals. But Business Insider is seeking to be not just a content mill (a site that uses bulk amounts of low-level content to attract mass traffic) but also a significant new brand, which adds costs. It has hired, if not quite a seasoned staff, young journalists with at least a bit of experience: about 70 of them now, costing upwards of $15 million a year. Overhead and other traffic-acquisition costs push expenditures well past $19 million. In other words, it costs more to get traffic than what you can sell it for.”

Read more here.