Tag Archives: Marketwatch
Thomas Kostigen of Marketwatch says it’s time for business journalists to stop writing about the Maria Bartiromo/Citigroup controversy and to start writing about business.
Kostigen wrote, “Frustrated business news journalists — which is to say pretty much all business news journalists — are having a field day with the firing of Citigroup’s Todd Thomson, head of its global wealth management division, at the expense of CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo.
“They’re writing tabloid fare journalism that may be more fun for them (I mean, which would you rather cover: the Money Honey or Motorola?) but is tragic for us readers.
“Without Bartiromo in the picture, would the firing of a senior executive for a major public corporation have drawn on this long? Thomson was booted about a month ago. He’s still making headlines today.”
Later, he concluded, “So, Neil Cavuto: Best fly coach, and for the sake of our industry please cavort only with men. Then again, something might be made out of that too!
“Business journalists should stick to writing about business, not about celebrity; they may actually end up uncovering something important.”
Read more here.
Frank Barnako of Marketwatch wonders Tuesday just exactly who will be watching the announced, but not yet airing, Fox Business Channel.
Barnako wrote, “What happens if the bull starts panting and runs out of steam? The “small investors” who have been writing down Cramer’s latest ‘Mon back’ or ‘Sell! Sell! Sell!’ and the guys from Jersey who have taken a shine to the musky men on ‘Fast Money’ may lose their enthusiasm when they find out markets go down, too. Execs and talent at CNBC have been there, seen that. Could happen again. The news won’t be much different of FBC (Fox Business Channel), so then you’d have two channels vying for a smaller audience.
“Neil Cavuto, Fox Business’ managing editor, thinks CNBC’s going after ‘old white guys with money.’ Who will be the Fox business channel’s target viewer? Young guys with two kids in elementary school who like to play ‘Are You Diversified’ between soccer practices? Doesn’t make sense. CNNfn tried to talk to an audience beyond white guys with money by beefing up personal finance information and profiling small businesses. Yawn. Unplugged.
“Fox is already doing business shows, touting that their ratings are higher than anything CNBC’s got, but the advertisers are not very classy. Some of them are cheesy. The most entertaining of the shows is Bulls & Bears is a shout fest of stock picks, presumably reflecting the same programming skills that a Fox business channel will. The show runs an awful lot of what-look-like per-inquiry ads for garden equipment that mulches anything in sight and odd gadgets like lights that go inside drawers. Cheap ads. Cheap stuff.”
Read more here.
Marketwatch media writer Frank Barnako muses that the newly announced Fox Business Channel will come after some of the talent at rival business cable news network CNBC.
Barnako wrote, “If you’re working at CNBC and don’t have an agent yet, get one now. The 45th richest man in the world is shopping for talent.”
Later, he added, “Having worked in broadcast newsrooms, I can only imagine the intrigue at GE’s money channel. It’s all supply and demand, as the anchors and reporters know, and frequently report. Over the years, CNBC has put the spotlight on many of them and given them more than 15 minutes of fame. That makes them ‘stars’ to many viewers, and ‘supply’ for Fox’s demand.
“Neil Cavuto, senior vice president and managing editor of business news at Fox, was hired away from CNBC about eight years ago. He still has friends and favorites over there. You can bet his voice mailbox is full.”
Read more here.
News Corp. finally issued a press release Thursday afternoon stating that its Fox Business Channel would hit the airwaves in the last three months of this year.
The release stated, “Presently, FOX Business Channel has 30 million subscribers under contract after securing distribution agreements with multiple cable operators, including: Time Warner; Comcast; Charter, and Direct TV. The network, which will be housed at News Corporation headquarters in midtown Manhattan, is expected to launch in major markets across the country, including the worldâ€™s financial capital â€” New York â€” where it will be seen on expanded basic cable.
“In making the announcement, [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch said, ‘We have long considered the business television market to be underserved. Having built FOX News into a cable news leader and a cultural phenomenon against all expectations, Iâ€™m confident that Roger Ailes and his team can do the same in business news. I look forward to introducing new competition and a new voice to the business news arena.’”
Marketwatch media writer Jon Friedman interviewed Neil Cavuto, who will oversee the network, about the announcement and wrote late Thursday that the new channel will be vastly different from CNBC.
Friedman said, “Cavuto didn’t discourage me, either, when I speculated that Fox’s version of business news would probably look very different from CNBC’s corporate-oriented package. When news about the Federal Reserve or a Fortune 500 company breaks, CNBC regularly showcases the headline-maker.
“Sure, Fox will air interviews with its share of chieftains, too, but I suspect that it will try a broader approach than CNBC’s usual offerings. It would be no surprise if Fox focused on interpreting the news for the nation’s huge individual-investor crowd, recognizing that CNBC, a unit of General Electric has left this market somewhat untapped. Will we see a New York Post-style business-news network? Stay tuned.”
And I love this quote from Cavuto: “We’re going to be a channel for America — not for old white men with money,” Cavuto told me. “We want to reach women, minorities, young people.”
Marketwatch media columnist Jon Friedman profiles CNBC anchor Liz Claman on Wednesday and comes away impressed with her low-key personality and demeanor, which he says is in stark contrast to Maria Bartiromo.
Friedman wrote, “By contrast, the unpretentious Claman, who joined CNBC in 1998 and now anchors ‘Morning Call,’ almost seems out of place in TV news. After all, this is a business which cranks out divas with the precision of a Detroit assembly line rolling out new cars.
“‘You can’t start believing your own press clippings,’ Claman told me. ‘Your vision gets clouded.’
“Claman’s breezy style made a difference last year when she traveled to Omaha to interview billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
She had the challenge of coaxing Buffett, who has been known to sound stiff and formal in TV interviews, to talk about himself in a revealing way.
“Claman declared, ‘OK, Warren, I’m here! We can get this party started!’ “That sort of bluster paved the way for a well received interview. The show represented a coup for CNBC since Buffett is a hero to so many of its viewers.”
Read more here.
Marketwatch is reporting that Dow Jones has hired consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton to find ways to increase its revenue through blogs and other products.
Reporter Shira Ovide wrote that Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz “said in an interview that the company is evaluating potential new specialty products similar to blogs related to legal affairs, politics and technology launched recently at MarketWatch and the online edition of The Wall Street Journal. He also said there are ideas for new marketing initiatives, such as ads with scented inks.
“He said Booz Allen would help Dow Jones evaluate how potential new products would make money, whether through advertising or subscription fees, and ensure Dow Jones has the right staffing for new products and projects planned throughout the company.
“‘We think there are enormous opportunities for the Dow Jones, Journal and MarketWatch brands,’ Crovitz said. ‘We want to be sure we’re taking a wide enough view of our opportunities.’”
Read more here.
David Weidner, who covers Wall Street for Marketwatch, has what I consider to be the most insightful commentary about the recent controversy surrounding CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo‘s trip on a Citigroup corporate jet.
Weidner wrote, “What if I told you that the other day I spent eight hours on a plane with a high-ranking female executive of one of the world’s biggest financial-services firms?
“Would you think, ‘Well, that’s great. Here’s a journalist working hard to understand, translate and provide his readers with information about that company?’ Or, ‘how can we trust someone who would accept a plush plane ride?’ Or, would you think ‘hubba hubba?’
“Now, what if that executive was male?”
Later, Weidner added, “We’ve also found that there is a very fine line between being a reporter whose job it is to reveal information to an audience and someone who is blinded by their own star, greed or the lure of becoming a player, like the people we cover.
“And the runaway popularity of this story also tells us something about ourselves. We seem to be less interested in whether or not Citigroup is well run, or its stock price.”
Read more here.
The public relations disaster for CNBC that has resulted from the disclosure that anchor Maria Bartiromo took a trip on the Citigroup jet that led to the ouster of one of its executives is the network’s fault, writes Marketwatch media columnist Jon Friedman.
Friedman wrote, “Bartiromo’s image as a hard-working, responsible journalist was shattered. And CNBC’s self-styled reputation as ‘the worldwide leader in business news’ took a Lusitania-like hit.
“CNBC hoped that the story would gradually fade away, but as USA Today’s Web site pointed out Tuesday: ‘The Maria Bartiromo story shows no signs of dying, and it may instead be spinning into that rare business-page yarn worthy of the watercooler.’
“Note the language. USA Today called it ‘The Maria Bartiromo story,’ not the Todd Thomson (who?) story.
“Over the past week, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, the Financial Times and Reuters were among the news outlets that weighed in with various angles. (I reckon that we can practically count the days till smart-alecky New York magazine flashes a “Mariagate” headline across its cover.)
“Let’s get this straight: CNBC is anything but a victim. The network originally let Bartiromo manipulate the standard rules of good journalism by looking the other way when she developed a cozy relationship with a powerful source.”
Dow Jones management, which is currently negotiating with the union that represents business journalists at its Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and MarketWatch publications, nudged a bit on Tuesday in terms of what it offered for future salary increases.
According to an update on the union’s web site, “We are seeing some additional signs of movement by the company’s negotiators, which is good. But they still are far from agreeing to the kind of contract we need.
“The company’s team made new proposals on wages, for example. Their original proposal was 2% a year. Their new proposal? Still 2% for the first year and the third year. But now they are prepared to go to 2.5% in the middle year of a three-year deal.
“On health premiums, the movement is similar. They have finally provided us with a schedule of the actual premiums they want to make you pay. They are no longer talking about a four-fold increase in our premiums in 2008. Now they want to triple them, or in some cases more than double themâ€”depending on how much you make and what plan you use.
“On outsourcing, a subject they formerly wouldn’t discuss, they are offering to consult with the union before laying people off, and to give outsourced employees improved severance packages. But they refuse to put any restrictions on their ability to outsource at will.”
Read more here.
Former tech stocks analyst Henry Blodget, writing on Slate, takes aim at Jim Cramer and his CNBC show “Mad Money” for dispensing bad investment advice.
Blodget wrote, “The more I thought about Cramer, the more I realized that pointing out that he gives terrible investment advice would be like pointing out that the sun rises. Worse, I would be dismissed as a wet blanket who didn’t get that the point of Mad Money was just to have a bit of ironic fun. I mean, of course Jim Cramer gives terrible investment adviceâ€”we all know that, right?â€”and we only watch the show because, well, because he does possess a certain bizarre type of market and entertainment geniusâ€”if there’s a pundit out there with more opinions about more stocks, I’ve never seen himâ€”and he’s irreverent, madcap, and, yes, even brilliant, in an idiot-savant, freak-show sort of way. (Moreover, Cramer is mesmerizing reality TV. Admit it: You watch because you wonder if this is the night he finally has a heart attack, kills someone, or explodes in a tirade of expletive-laced slander.)
“Reviewing the list of common Mad Money show segments (Stump the Cramer, Am I Nuts?, Pimpin’ All Over the World) and sound effects (squealing pigs, a wrecking train, a toilet flushing, a screaming man falling out a window and then crashing on the ground), I realized that, yes, I was taking Jim Cramer waaaaaay too seriously, that his nonstop comedy routine about being a brilliant and respected investor and making everyone rich is just shtick, and that there couldn’t possibly be a Mad Money viewer who actually believes that he provides intelligent advice.”
Read more here. The Dealbook blog on the New York Times website notes that Blodget critiquing Cramer has plenty of irony.
Dealbook stated, “Mr. Blodget, who recently published ‘The Wall Street Self-Defense Manual: A Consumerâ€™s Guide to Intelligent Investing’, has been the subject of some bitter opinion pieces. A few weeks ago, MarketWatchâ€™s Wall Street columnist, David Weidner, expressed ire over Mr. Blodgetâ€™s recent punditry. Mr. Weidner said that it was a ‘sign of the apocalypse’ that Mr. Blodget is allowed to comment on bad stock-pickers, adding that ‘Blodget himself lost a bundle in tech stocks.’”