Tag Archives: New York Times

Does NYT tech columnist Pogue have a conflict of interest?

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Dan Lyons, writing for The Daily Beast, notes that the relationship between New York Times tech columnist David Pogue and public relations executive Nicki Dugan raises some ethical concerns.

Lyons writes, “Pogue has been dating Nicki Dugan, a vice president at OutCast Agency, a San Francisco PR firm that represents top tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Cisco, Netflix, and Yahoo, since last year. (On April 24, things between them had grown serious enough that Dugan announced their relationship on her Facebook page.)

“During the time they’ve been involved, Pogue has written articles about OutCast clients and their competitors without disclosing his personal connection to a senior staffer at the firm.

“Pogue’s editor at the New York Times, Damon Darlin, says that Pogue told him about the relationship last December. ‘He was concerned that there might be a perception of a conflict of interest, so we went over it,’ says Darlin, adding that he determined that as long as Pogue didn’t write about companies that Dugan personally represents, there would be no problem. He says he also asked OutCast not to pitch stories to Pogue. ‘People have romances all the time,’ says Darlin. ‘He hasn’t written about any companies that she is representing.’ (Neither Pogue nor Dugan returned a message for comment.)

“Still, the fact that Pogue frequently wrote stories of great importance to his girlfriend’s firm without disclosure makes some familiar with the details uncomfortable. An in-house tech company public relations executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of rankling Pogue, says the issue is more about disclosure than bias.”

Read more here.

Inside the media desk at the New York Times

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The trailer for the new documentary movie “Page One: Inside the New York Times” gives a behind-the-scenes look at some of the reporters and columnists — Tim Arango, Brian Stelter and David Carr — who cover the media world for the paper.

Media desk editor Bruce Headlam also makes an appearance, but the line of the trailer is this — “I still can’t get over the feeling that Brian Stelter was a robot assembled to destroy me,” says Carr.

NYT tech columnist Pogue arrested after domestic altercation

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New York Times technology columnist David Pogue and his wife were charged with disorderly conduct earlier this week following a domestic argument, part of which she recorded on her iPhone, police said.

Hillary Federico of the Hartford Courant writes, “David Pogue, 48, told officers that it was his night to be with the children and began arguing with his wife.

“He told police his wife had bitten his left arm and that she had been filming the altercation with her iPhone camera. Arciola said David Pogue followed Jennifer Pogue into a bedroom and allegedly jumped on top of her and hit her in the head with a phone.

“Both had evidence of the alleged assaults: David Pogue had a bite mark on his arm and Jennifer Pogue had marks on her head, Arciola said.

“Arciola said the couple no longer lives together.”

Read more here.

LinkedIn IPO coverage falls short

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Ryan Chittum of the Columbia Journalism Review has a good analysis of where the business media fell down when writing about the initial public offering of social media company LinkedIn.

Chittum writes, “Unfortunately, the WSJ short-arms this story. It doesn’t give us key data that it should have to fully tell the LinkedIn valuation story. Where’s the revenue number, for instance? That’s basic, must-have stuff, and it’s not here.

“The only numbers we get are that LinkedIn had a $15 million profit last year and, that ‘The sale of hiring tools to recruiters made up 49% of first-quarter revenue, up from 27% in 2008,’ which means just about nothing without context, and user numbers, which have gone up an impressive tenfold in four years and are still growing fast.

“If you combine the WSJ’s LinkedIn story with ones in The New York Times and Financial Times today, you’d probably come up with a pretty good piece. On its own, though, the NYT and FT fall short, too.

“The NYT buries any mention of concerns over tech valuations in the third-to-last paragraph.”

Read more here.

You’re going to get into business journalism

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New York Times business journalist Diana Henriques, who recently published a book about convicted investor Bernie Madoff, spoke to a group of journalism students at the University of South Carolina about her work.

Roddie Burris of The State in Columbia, S.C., writes, “She recommended three things journalists need to do to better uncover the scoundrels in their midst.

“First, study the scandals of the past, which can be quite entertaining, she said. Henriques said she began reading about con artists, crooks, and good men gone bad in the business world long before she began writing her book. Henriques said it is also important that journalists avoid being seduced by successful people and “lean into the wind,” especially when the tide of public opinion is all going in one direction.

“Henriques also put in a plug for business journalism.

“‘Business has escaped all its natural boundaries and now governs everything from the movies we watch and the clothes we wear to our cultural institutions and how they raise money, to medical research and how it gets done, to how our welfare benefits are distributed,’ Henriques said.

“‘So, whatever area of journalism you think you’re going to go into, you’re going to go into business journalism.’”

Read more here.

You're going to get into business journalism

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New York Times business journalist Diana Henriques, who recently published a book about convicted investor Bernie Madoff, spoke to a group of journalism students at the University of South Carolina about her work.

Roddie Burris of The State in Columbia, S.C., writes, “She recommended three things journalists need to do to better uncover the scoundrels in their midst.

“First, study the scandals of the past, which can be quite entertaining, she said. Henriques said she began reading about con artists, crooks, and good men gone bad in the business world long before she began writing her book. Henriques said it is also important that journalists avoid being seduced by successful people and “lean into the wind,” especially when the tide of public opinion is all going in one direction.

“Henriques also put in a plug for business journalism.

“‘Business has escaped all its natural boundaries and now governs everything from the movies we watch and the clothes we wear to our cultural institutions and how they raise money, to medical research and how it gets done, to how our welfare benefits are distributed,’ Henriques said.

“‘So, whatever area of journalism you think you’re going to go into, you’re going to go into business journalism.’”

Read more here.

Loeb Award finalists announced

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The finalists of the 2011 Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, considered the Pulitzer Prizes of business journalism, were announced on Thursday.

Winners in the 13 competition categories will be announced at the 2011 Loeb Awards dinner on Tuesday, June 28, at Capitale in New York City.

Winners will be selected from among the finalists, which were chosen from more than 500 entries.

Here are the finalists in three categories:

The large newspapers category finalists are Bryan Bender for “From the Pentagon to the Private Sector” in The Boston Globe; Ben Casselman, Russell Gold, Douglas A. Blackmon, Vanessa O’Connell, Alexandra Berzon and Ana Campoy for “Deep Trouble” in The Wall Street Journal; Julia Angwin, Nick Wingfield, Scott Thurm and Yukari Iwatani Kane for “What They Know” in The Wall Street Journal; and Robert O’Harrow Jr. for “Alaska Native Corporations” in The Washington Post.

The magazine category finalists are Frederik Balfour and Tim Culpan for “Inside Foxconn” in Bloomberg Businessweek; Amanda Bennett and Charles R. Babcock for “End-of-Life Warning at $618,616 Makes Me Wonder Was It Worth It” in Bloomberg News; Don Van Natta Jr., Jo Becker and Graham Bowley for “Hack Attack” in The New York Times; Matt Taibbi for “Invasion of the Home Snatchers” in Rolling Stone; and Michael Lewis for “Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds” in Vanity Fair.

Finalists in the commentary category are Andy Grove for “How to Make an American Job” in Bloomberg Businessweek; Kevin Drum for “Capital City” in Mother Jones; Paul Krugman for “Paul Krugman Columns” in The New York Times; and Froma Harrop for “Froma Harrop Columns” in The Providence Journal

See all of the finalists here.

Pulitzer winner Stewart to join NYT biz desk

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

James Stewart, the Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist, is joining the New York Times business desk to write a column in the Saturday business section, a source confirmed to Talking Biz News.

The move for Stewart, who currently writes for Smart Money magazine and teaches at Columbia University, is expected to be announced later this afternoon. He is replacing Joe Nocera, who moved to the paper’s editorial page. Stewart will continue to write for the New Yorker.

Stewart is the author of eight books, including the recent national best-seller, “DisneyWar,” an account of Michael Eisner’s tumultuous reign at America’s best known entertainment company. He is also the author of national bestsellers “Den of Thieves,” about Wall Street in the 80s, “Blind Eye,” an investigation of the medical profession, and “Blood Sport,” about the Clinton White House.

“Follow the Story: How to Write Successful Nonfiction,” was inspired by his classes at Columbia. “Heart of a Soldier,” named the best non-fiction book of 2002 by Time magazine, recounts the remarkable life of Rick Rescorla, a victim in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Stewart writes “Common Sense,” a column in SmartMoney and SmartMoney.com, which also appears in The Journal. He contributes regularly to The New Yorker and was formerly “Page One” Editor of The Journal.

Stewart is the recipient of a 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Journal articles on the 1987 stock market crash and the insider trading scandal. He is also the winner of the George Polk award and two Gerald Loeb awards. “Blind Eye” was the winner of the 2000 Edgar Allan Poe Award given annually by the Mystery Writers of America. In 2005, “DisneyWar” was named a finalist for the first annual Financial Times/Goldman Sachs business book of the year award.

Stewart is a graduate of Harvard Law School and DePauw University. He was born and attended public schools in Quincy, Ill.

How Fed coverage has increased since the crisis began

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Michael Tomsic, a senior business journalism student at UNC-Chapel Hill, writes on the College Business Journalism Consortium site about how coverage of the Federal Reserve Board has changed in the past few years.

Tomsic writes, “The media spotlight shined on the Fed has intensified dramatically since the financial crisis that began in 2007.

“From 2004 to 2006, The Washington Post published 257 A-section articles that at least mentioned the Federal Reserve, according to washingtonpost.com’s advanced archive search. In 2008 alone, that number skyrocketed to 285 articles, and it’s gone up each year since.

“The New York Times’ coverage of the Fed has also shot up. It published 131 front-page articles that at least mentioned the Federal Reserve from 2004 to 2006, according to nytimes.com’s advanced archive search. Then in 2008, that number soared to 204 articles. It’s decreased since then but remains well above the yearly average before the crisis began.

“The Wall Street Journal and NPR do not have comparable advanced archive searches on their websites. But many business reporters and editors agree Fed coverage has increased throughout the industry since the crisis.”

Read more here.

NYT's Leonhardt explains Pulitzer-winning column writing

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

Last week, David Leonhardt reached the pinnacle of journalism. He won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his weekly columns about the economy in the New York Times business section.

Leonhardt had been a finalist the year before.

Leonhardt writes “Economic Scene,” a weekly economics column, for The Times business section, looking at both the broad American economy and the economics of everyday life. Many of his recent columns have focused on effects of the economic downturn.

Leonhardt is also a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine and contributes to the Economix blog. In 2005, he was one of the reporters who produced “Class Matters,” the paper’s series on social class in the United States. In 2004, he founded an analytical sports column, called “Keeping Score.”

Before joining The Times in 1999, he worked for Business Week magazine and The Washington Post.

Leonhardt won the Gerald Loeb Award for magazine writing in 2009 for a Times Magazine article, “Obamanomics.” He was a winner of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Best in Business Journalism Contest for his Times column in 2009 and 2007.

He was part of a team of Times reporters whose coverage of corporate scandals was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. In 1998, he won a Peter Lisagor Award, from the Chicago Headline Club, for a BusinessWeek story on problems at McDonald’s.

Leonhardt spoke by e-mail with Talking Biz News about his approach to column writing. What follows is an edited transcript.

How did you get interested in writing about the economy?

I’ve always liked numbers, and I like reporting about issues that have a big effect on people’s lives. Economics seems like a natural extension of those two interests.

How do you decide on your topic each week?

There is a small list of topics that are the subjects of most columns — the job market, the deficit, housing, health care. If one of those is in the news — or, even better, is about to be in the news — I’ll often go with it. Otherwise, I tend to go with the specific idea I find most interesting.

How much of your weekly column is reporting vs. your opinion?

It’s hard to say exactly. Reporting informs my opinion, so I don’t think of the two as separate. With that being said, a significant chunk of just about every column could fit comfortably in a straight news analysis — in substance, if not always in tone.

Are there topics that you enjoy writing about more than others? If so, what are they?

Housing used to be my favorite, because I thought the bubble excess was obvious and many other people — real-estate agents, bankers, some homebuyers — insisted there was no bubble. But the bursting of the bubble has caused terrible damage, and housing stories these days are often sadder than they are anything else.

I’ve always enjoyed writing about academic research and continue to. I also enjoy learning about and then explaining issues that aren’t as simple as they first seem — like the widely held (and incorrect) notion that almost half of American households pay no taxes.

You do a great job of explaining complicated topics to readers. How hard is that?

Thank you. The column format makes it much easier. In a news story — with a get-to-the-point lead and a pyramid structure — it can be very hard. But in a column, it’s possible to walk readers through an issue step by step, the same way I came to understand it.

How much time do you spend writing each column?

In a typical week, part of Monday and almost all of Tuesday.

How much do you rewrite?

I rewrite a fair amount as I go — tweaking the first 3 paragraphs before writing the 4th, etc. Lately, I’ve occasionally found myself scrapping my entire lead when I’m already well into the process. It’s painful, but I’ve yet to regret having done so.

Are there columns from the past year that you’re especially proud of?

A few come to mind: Age discrimination, the deficit puzzle, the deficit we want, the history of opposition to new social programs, and work and motherhood.

You seem to have written a lot about taxes recently. Why?

Many Americans want generous government benefits and low taxes. Those two simply can’t co-exist for very long. The disconnect explains our huge looming deficit. Yet too much of the discussion of the deficit focuses on only one half of the equation: spending

What kind of reader reaction do you get from the columns?

It varies widely. Some columns get relatively little feedback. Some get hundreds of Web comments and hundreds of emails from readers. Many get somewhere in between. I also try to pay a lot of attention to the reaction on economics blogs, because there are so many good econ blogs.

How is writing the column different from the other writing you do? How is it similar?

Switching back and forth between column writing and news writing is a little tough. They require different approaches. So I’ve cut back significantly on my news writing and now do very little. Almost all my writing is for the column, for the Economix blog or for the NYT Magazine. All of those call for a similar style.