Tag Archives: New York Times
David Pogue of the New York Times celebrates writing about tech for 10 years in the paper by noting trends in coverage and reader reaction.
Pogue writes, “Everywhere I go, I meet people who express the same reaction to consumer tech today: there’s too much stuff coming too fast. It’s impossible to keep up with trends, to know what to buy, to avoid feeling left behind.
“They’re right. There’s never been a period of greater technological change. You couldn’t keep up with all of it if you tried.
“Well, here’s a dirty little secret: It’s almost too much for me, too. Heck, it’s my job to stay on top of this stuff — and even for me, it’s like drinking from a fire hose. I do my best — I read all the blogs, devour the magazines, attend the conferences and listen to the PR pitches — but I sometimes feel as if I’m furiously paddling my surfboard on the top of a tsunami wave.
“In other words, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone, and it’s O.K. to let yourself off the hook.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Elizabeth Jensen of the New York Times writes Monday about Mykalai Kontilai and his backers, who purchased the PBS show “Nightly Business Report” earlier this year but have a controversial background.
Jensen writes, “Under Mr. Kontilai’s ownership, ‘Nightly Business Report’ has opened a San Jose, Calif., bureau in partnership with the public station there, KTEH, and added Rick Horrow, a sports business expert, to the lineup. Daily operations of the program are now being overseen by Mr. Ferrell, who on Nov. 10 was named executive vice president of operations and chief financial officer of NBR Worldwide.
“As for some of the other plans Mr. Kontilai mentioned, a spokeswoman for the Defense Department, Maj. Monica Bland, confirmed that Mr. Kontilai had proposed a program for returning veterans. But he was told that ‘in light of our comprehensive budget review efforts, O.S.D. was not starting any new programs,’ she said, referring to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
“Susie Gharib, an anchor of ‘Nightly Business,’ said she knew Mr. Kontilai socially before the purchase. She says he is ‘very inspirational’ and has ‘brought tremendous new energy to ‘Nightly Business Report.’ He’s also brought the spirit of entrepreneurship.’ Of the past accusations against him, she said: ‘I’m not looking at all backward. I don’t know anything about any of that. He’s very dedicated to the program; that’s what’s important to me.’
“Mr. Bogdan at Atalaya Capital said in an e-mail, ‘Mr. Kontilai’s NBR business plan, his overall business successes and the high respect he has with key leaders within the public television community, we believe, will ensure the success of the business.’ He added that the company considered his business troubles ‘irrelevant in these circumstances.’”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera was interviewed by Jessica Pressler of New York magazine about his new book with Bethany McLean called “All the Devils are Here” as well as his opinions on business journalism and his recent ethical transgression in which he wrote a column about a lawsuit where his fiancee’s law firm was representing one side of the case.
Here is an excerpt:
But it’s kind of true. Speaking of Sorkin, he kind of seems to be the alpha dog over at the Times Business section lately, what with the new enhanced DealBook and everything. Are you ever like, “Argh, ‘Marcia Marcia Marcia’ ” about him?
Are we still on the record here?
Yes, of course.
I’m a huge Sorkin fan. He’s a friend of mine. I think DealBook makes perfect sense as a component for Bizday, and I think it’s an important part of it. But you know, the newspaper, Bizday itself, is not being subsumed inside DealBook or anything remotely close to that.
Speaking of annoyances, the public editor gave you a hard time recently over a conflict of issue in a column you wrote last month [about the board of Hewlett-Packard's hiring of a CEO who was allegedly involved in intellectual property theft from Oracle at his previous job]. Your fiancée is the director of communications at the law firm representing Oracle [Boies, Schiller & Flexner] …
Okay, first of all, she didn’t do anything wrong. She’s the one who’s gotten dragged through the mud here, and it’s not fair. Second, well, you know, I did make a mistake. There’s no question that I made a mistake, and you know, I deserve to get twenty lashes for it. I perhaps did not deserve HP’s directors spending gobs of money trying to dig up dirt on me, but um, that’s the way it goes, apparently, when you write something the HP board of directors doesn’t like. But you know, I made a mistake. I had a conflict that I didn’t realize, and I should have bent over backwards to find out if David Boies was involved in this case. Which I did not do. So yeah, I done bad.
Read more here.
Marylynne Pitz of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviewed New York Times business journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin about the current economic crisis and asked him about whether business journalism did its job.
Pitz writes, “‘Part of our job, arguably, is to blow the whistle. Therefore, we didn’t blow the whistle loud enough,’ the author said. ‘If you look back, there are plenty of stories about how the mortgage market was overblown back in 2004 and 2005.’
“But in boom times, those stories are often ignored.
“‘It’s hard to capture the attention of the American public with doom and gloom when everything is going up,’ Mr. Sorkin said. ‘Everyone is so scared they are going to miss the train.’”
Read more here.
Clare M. Reckert, the first female financial reporter at the New York Times, died last week at the age of 100. Reckert had worked on the business desk for 44 years until retiring in 1981.
Jack O’Dwyer writes, “She was the first female financial writer at the NYT and for many years used the byline ‘C.M. Reckert.’ Publisher Orvil Dryfoos, after meeting her one day in the composing room and discovering her gender, told her to use her full first name.
“She started at the paper as a secretary for the financial desk and got into writing by preparing press releases for use by reporters who were out on assignment.
“Reporters thanked her and gave her tips on writing.
“Helping her to win an editorial berth was a shortage of male reporters during World War II. She said financial editors called on her to do numerous chores including financial writing.”
Read more here.
Two University of Manitoba economics professors are about to release a book assessing the economics coverage in The New York Times that could change many people’s perceptions about how the paper of record writes about the economy.
“The Gatekeeper: 60 Years of Economics According to the New York Times” is written by Robert Chernomas and Ian Hudson.
The book’s publisher, Paradigm Publishers out of Boulder, Colo., notes that “The Gatekeeper” argues that The Times, instead of its liberal perception, can more accurately be characterized as supporting long-run profitability for U.S. business, which involves both liberal and conservative policies in different contexts.
Through a thorough examination of the Times’ star commentators and its coverage of the issues of macroeconomics, regulation, foreign policy and the 2008-2009 economic crisis, “The Gatekeeper” refocuses the debate about the bias of the most venerable institution in U.S. journalism.
Chernomas, in an e-mail to Talking Biz News, said Thursday that the book will be out in hardcover next month and softcover in September.
The book was brought to my attention by Nikki Usher, a Ph.D. student at the University of Southern California, who is writing her dissertation on the transformation of the transformation of business news in a digital age.
Usher has used in-depth field ethnographies of three sites: The Times’ business desk (five months), Marketplace (five months) and TheStreet.com (one month). She’s been asking questions about professionalization, change, news rhythms and values, the definition of business news, the role of the audience, etc.
by Chris Roush
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Since that time, Dealbook’s readership has exploded — it has more than 200,000 subscribers to the daily e-mail newsletter, and more than 2.5 million unique visitors to its site each month. This past week, the Times announced a major expansion of the Dealbook section of its site and of the staff manning its operations.
The changes included adding a DealBook page to The Times from Tuesday through Friday, and the International Herald Tribune will also feature DealBook content on those days. The DealBook site was also redesigned. Among its recent hires are Azam Ahmed from the Chicago Tribune and Ben Protess from the Huffington Post Investigative Fund.
Sorkin, who is the paper’s main mergers and acquisitions reporter, talked Wednesday with Talking Biz News about the changes while he was driving to a speaking engagement in Fort Wayne, Ind. What follows is an edited transcript.
How does the new Dealbook fit into the Times’ overall business news coverage strategy?
I think that we see an opportunity to really drill down and cover the world of deal making and finance both for that particularly business world, which is not strictly Wall Street, and for regulators, academics, politicians and others. One of the thing that the financial crisis has done has turned many issues that were on the back burner and put them on the front burner in a way that they were never before.
The expansion of Dealbook is to drive that conversation. To have this real-time SWAT team of reporters and editors drilling down on these issues in real time, but also writing broader pieces with context that also appear in the newspaper. It’s the best of both worlds. You get the immediacy of the Internet and the reach and the real estate of the paper.
Is the strategy for Dealbook any different than the strategy for the Times’ business coverage?
I don’t think overall this is a significant shift in strategy beyond just drilling down deeper on one particular part of the world which we consider our backyard. I think this is an evolution from what Dealbook was and has evolved with how the conversation in the nation has progress. The issues on Wall Street are impacting Main Street, and the dialogue has become much more intense, and we’re able to take advantage of a particular audience that we’ve been able to attract.
To me, one of the things that is so interesting about our readership, is that it started out as very Wall Street oriented, and we still have a huge number of Wall Strerters who are loyal readers. But over the last several years, CEOs, and board members and politicians and regulators are coming to the site as well.
And news organizations are scaling back or shifting their news focus. A lot of this is where we see the window opening in a competitive landscape.
Can you explain the decision to add Dealbook content to the printed Times during the week?
That’s largely a function of the remarkable interest that people have in this world, whether they’re in this world or not. It’s just satisfying this appetite.
One of the things that we’re trying to do is very much actually modeled after what you’ve seen the folks at Politico do or the folks at TechCrunch do. We really want to own the story around a particular world and do it in a way that speaks to that community in that language, but also in a way that is accessible enough for readers who aren’t living in this world today.
I don’t consider myself a Beltway insider of any sort, but I go to Politico and it’s accessible enough for me. I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in that world. In many ways, that’s what we can do.
With an increased staff of 20, what’s your role now every day with Dealbook?
My role is probably constantly evolving and shifting. One of the great hires that we had that I am particularly thrilled about is bringing Jeff Cane back to the paper. Jeff is acting as the managing editor, keeping the trains running on track and coming up with ideas. And we’ve added a number of other editors to the team, including Adrienne Carter from BusinessWeek. My role is part writer, part editor and part cheerleader in chief.
What other sites do you see as Dealbook’s competitors?
All of the terrific reporting that’s being done on the deal world, whether it’s coming from newspapers, blogs, news services. It’s great reporters who have their boots on the ground. It almost doesn’t matter where it’s coming from.
How will the content change with additional staff?
It’s just what we’re drilling down and getting deeper. It’s not that we’ve added topics, it’s now that we have people on the ground covering these topics in a day-to-day basis. The difference is having great beat reporters. The great beat reporters cover the small stories that become the big stories. That’s where the kernel of news begins. It’s important for us to have peopole focused on their beats diligently.
The other component to this is we have added particular journalists who have remarkable expertise. You look at Sue Craig, at the Wall Street Journal she did a wonderful job of covering Wall Street, the downfall of Lehman Brothers. Having a veteran like that with an encyclopedic knowledge makes a big difference. Jesse Eisinger has a real investigative bent for ProPublica and wrote about the banking crisis at Portfolio before there was a banking crisis. It’s as much about the topics as it is attracting great talent.
Will Dealbook end up behind the Times’ upcoming paywall, or will it remain free to all readers?
The Times hasn’t unveiled its pay wall plans yet, so I can’t speak to that.
Could you eventually see Dealbook as a standalone business news operation, separate from the Times’ business desk?
I think we think that Dealbook is part of and complements and adds to the overall daily report. Dealbook in a way helps feed some of the great ideas you’re seeing in the paper. I see us as complementary and part and parcel with each other. Anything’s possible, but that’s not on the drawing board.
How has business journalism changed since Dealbook started in 2001?
It’s a completely different place in many respects. Breaking news has become a tougher business unto itself. When I first started, the Holy Grail was to publish your scoop in the New York Times, and you’d be able to hold onto it for 24 hours. Now, you have your scoop at 5:02 p.m., and someone will have matched your scoop by 5:05 p.m. In some part, it’s ephemereal.
Breaking news is important, and investors are always interested in new news. But I think there’s more of an appetite now for more analysis. If Dealbook does anything, I hope it does anything, explaining what comes next and how the dominoes will fall.
Aggregation has changed. When I started doing this, I was literally in my pajamas at 4 o’clock in the morning, linking stories all over the Internet. Back then, nobody did that. Blogs didn’t exist. Twitter didn’t exist.
The other thing is just the amount of competition. I still think there is still a tremendous value in the platform of an institution like the New York Times. But that’s not to say a person working a story in their apartment on their own can’t have a big impact. There’s more people chasing this news than ever before.
The last piece of the big shift is the sense and the need to be multi-platform, this idea that you’re going to write the story for your paper or online, and you may send out a Tweet about it later, and maybe you’ll make a companion video or go on broadcast to talk about it.
Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times writes Tuesday about how Microsoft and Google are now disseminating their earnings releases on their Web sites instead of issuing them via a press release distribution service.
“But think it through: If every company were to release all of its market-moving news only on its Web site, investors would have to traipse around the Internet in search of the market-moving information. It’s one thing for a news organization to have a scoop; it’s quite another for a company to actively keep the news on its own site.
“Mr. Koefoed of Microsoft doesn’t believe that new process creates problems. ‘I got relatively little noise,’ from Wall Street about the release, he said.
“Microsoft, he said, chose to distribute its news online so that the company could provide more disclosure — including items like earnings slides and important performance indicators not included in a typical release. He also noted that most of Microsoft’s most important investors ‘subscribe to the RSS feed.’”
Read more here.
Salmon writes, “There’s more going on here than a new silly logo. A lot of open questions remain, and I’m holding out a smidgen of hope that if I pose them in public, Andrew Ross Sorkin might embrace his bloggier tendencies and respond in kind.
- What’s the difference between Dealbook and Business Day? Dealbook prominently features, on every page, a full masthead of 20 contributors: this is much more branding of individual journalists than the NYT has traditionally gone in for, beyond a few star columnists. Is this the crack finance team, writing for the industry elite rather than a broad national audience? The official NYT press release certainly hints that it is, talking as it does about ‘the C-Suite audience’ and ‘industry leaders in finance, banking, brokerage, legal and real estate.’
- What’s with Dealbook’s print presence? The franchise now has its own page of the NYT’s B section every day, in an arrangement which looks very similar to the WSJ’s Heard on the Street franchise, which has a miserable web presence. Is Dealbook looking to be the NYT equivalent of Heard? And if so, whither the Reuters Breakingviews column which appears earlier in the section? With Dealbook featuring opinionated columns from the likes of Steven Davidoff and Jesse Eisinger — not to mention Sorkin himself — what need is there for Breakingviews as well?
Read more here.
FierceBiotech, a web site that covers the biotechnology industry, has named its top biotech beat reporters.
1. Adam Feuerstein, TheStreet.com
Writes John Carroll of FierceBiotech: “While he doesn’t always get it right — and no one can — his analysis of these companies cannot be ignored. Few biotech writers have his grasp of the issues and his understanding of the key players. Feuerstein also has excellent sources on Wall Street to tip him off on key events. And woe unto the CEO that incurs his scorn, which is seemingly endless. No one delights more in calling out a CEO with feet of clay, which is why TheStreet is both respected and feared.
2. Matthew Herper, Forbes
Writes Carroll: “Knowledgeable, opinionated and a careful student of drug science, when Herper has something to say, he has an uncanny knack at zeroing in on the crux of every issue. “
3. Ben Hirschler, Reuters
Writes Carroll: “Hirschler can spot a trend better than virtually anyone else in this business, and he’s not the least bit reluctant to tell readers the bottom line on the news regarding critical data or a pending M&A move.”
4. Robert Langreth, Forbes
5. Derek Lowe, In the Pipeline
6. Andrew Pollack, New York Times
7. Ed Silverman, Pharmalot
8. Luke Timmerman, Xconomy
Read more here.