Tag Archives: New York Times
by Chris Roush
The Overseas Press Club named its 74th annual winners for the OPC Awards, and several are business journalism.
Jeremy Page of The Wall Street Journal won the Bob Considine Award for best newspaper or wire service interpretation of international affairs for his stories about the mysterious death of a British businessman, but provided startling glimpses into the life of one of China’s leading Communist Party bosses before he was fired in disgrace, as well as a look at the privileged lifestyles enjoyed by at least some corrupt politicians in today’s China.
The judges wrote, “The stories are notable for depth of reporting, an even presentation of the evidence, and a balanced tone. Nevertheless, taken together, they form a damning case that the wife of Chongqing party leader Bo Xilai may have poisoned businessman and family adviser Neil Heywood, a crime for which she was ultimately convicted. Aside from exposing the political scandal of the year in China, Page interprets the events in light of the power struggles taking place in the country just prior to its once-in-a-decade transfer of leadership.”
Michael Riley, Ashlee Vance with Zoe Schneeweiss of Bloomberg Businessweek won the Frank Morton Award for best business reporting abroad in magazines for their story, “It’s Not Paranoia If They’re Stealing Your Secrets: Inside the Chinese Boom in Corporate Espionage.”
The judges wrote, “This timely, well-written account shows how the unprecedented scale of Chinese corporate espionage and wholesale intellectual property theft is devastating U.S. companies. This strongly sourced story details the plight of American Superconductor Corp. which discovered that Sinovel, a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer that was once its biggest customer, schemed to steal and illegally replicate AMSC’s software and electronic systems to power more than 1,000 Chinese windmills.”
David Barboza of The New York Times won the Malcolm Forbes Award for best newspaper or wire service business reporting abroad for “China’s Secret Fortunes.”
The judges wrote, “David Barboza penetrated to the heart of China’s secretive system to provide an intricate and painstaking chronicle of linkages between the Communist Party’s most powerful families and the government’s state-owned enterprises and investments. The fact that The New York Times placed all four parts of the series on its front page helped change the world’s debate about the structure of power and wealth in China. Barboza and the newspaper took large risks in exposing the wealth that China’s top families have accumulated. The Times later reported that Chinese hackers persistently attacked the publication’s computer systems during the reporting for this series.”
Michael Forsythe, Shai Oster, Natasha Khan, Dune Lawrence, Ben Richardson and Henry Sanderson of Bloomberg News won for Best Investigative Reporting in any medium for “Revolution to Riches.”
The judges wrote, “Through painstaking analysis of the families of Xi Jinping and the so-called ‘Eight Immortals’ and ingenious scrutiny of regulatory filings to trace holding companies to these families, the reporters were able to demonstrate for the first time how China’s elite have used political influence for enormous personal gain. In the process, they have fundamentally changed our understanding of the Chinese state.”
See all of the winners here.
by Chris Roush
There appears to be three Pulitzer Prizes awarded Monday for work in business and financial journalism.
Three other works of business and financial journalism were finalists.
The Pulitzer for investigative reporting was awarded to David Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab of The New York Times for their reports on how Wal-Mart used widespread bribery to dominate the market in Mexico, resulting in changes in company practices.
A finalist in that category was Patricia Callahan, Sam Roe and Michael Hawthorne of the Chicago Tribune for their exposure of manufacturers that imperil public health by continuing to use toxic fire retardants in household furniture and crib mattresses, triggering reform efforts at the state and national level.
The Pulitzer in explanatory reporting was awarded to The New York Times staff for its penetrating look into business practices by Apple and other technology companies that illustrates the darker side of a changing global economy for workers and consumers.
A finalist in the explanatory category was Tony Bartelme of The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C., for his stories that helped readers understand the complex factors driving up their insurance bills.
The Pulitzer for commentary was awarded to Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal for his incisive columns on American foreign policy and domestic politics, often enlivened by a contrarian twist.
A finalist in the local reporting category was Ames Alexander and Karen Garloch of The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer and Joseph Neff and David Raynor of The News and Observer, Raleigh, N.C., for their tenacious joint project investigating how the state’s major nonprofit hospitals generate large profits and contribute to the high cost of health care
See all of the winners and finalists here.
by Chris Roush
James Breiner, who teaches business journalism at Tsinghua University, writes about Loren Feldman, the small business editor at the New York Times, who writes a blog called “You’re the Boss: The Art of Running a
Small Business“ that appears in the small business section of the Times’s website.
Breiner writes, “Feldman started the blog from scratch in 2009. He had considerable experience with the small business niche as an editor of Inc. magazine and then web editor for Inc.com and FastCompany.com.
“It was at Inc. that he met Jay Goltz, a Chicago-based entrepreneur profiled in the magazine. Goltz launched into a critique of the existing small business publications. He thought they weren’t focused on the nuts and bolts that help business owners solve the problems they face every day. Goltz then proceeded to give Feldman dozens of story ideas that would be more relevant.
“Most entrepreneurs know how to do two or three things really well, Feldman says, but they might have no idea how to pick a law firm or how to run a payroll system or how to run a marketing campaign in social media.
“So when he came to the Times, Feldman decided that most of the You’re the Boss’s bloggers would be business owners themselves describing their own problems and how they tried to solve them. They would chronicle their mistakes and ask for help. He started with four and now has 13. (The bloggers are paid for their work)”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Margaret Sullivan, the public editor of The New York Times, writes about technology writer Jenna Wortham‘s recent admission that she shares passwords for Netflix.
Sullivan writes, “Another reader, Fred Goodwin, wrote to me: ‘I find it surprising that a NYT columnist would publicly advocate and actively participate in such a practice. This strikes me as tantamount to piracy.’
“They raise valid concerns.
“Ms. Wortham and her editor, though, see the matter differently.
“‘The column is supposed to be experimental, and Jenna is deliberately on the frontier – that’s the whole point,’ said Jeff Sommer, an assistant business editor who worked with Ms. Wortham to conceive the column idea. ‘It’s wonderful to have someone who’s ahead of the curve.’
“He said he did not see the column as endorsing subscription-sharing but rather describing the situation and looking at the business practices and implications. And he said he had encouraged Ms. Wortham to explore the ethical issues in another column or article.
“Ms. Wortham said she hadn’t been surprised by the reaction. ‘The column tends to be provocative,’ she said. ‘We’re trying to capture the rapidly evolving landscape.’
“As for the ethical issues, she said, ‘It’s a very murky area when the companies themselves don’t really seem to see it as a huge problem.’”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
The New York Times, which named Glenn Kramon as tech editor earlier this year, has now named another new tech editor.
Here is the email sent out by business editor Dean Murphy:
She whoops with excitement and can even become airborne when a Tech story gets fronted. She unapologetically elbows her way to the front of the scrum when we gather to pick stories for the dress page. When a great idea for a story is floated, she rapid fires the reasons the assignment should go to a Tech reporter. And when news breaks, there is no fiercer competitor. In nearly three years as a deputy technology editor, Suzanne Spector has proved that a former criminal defense lawyer (the slick white collar variety of crimes, we should note) can master the world of metadata, boot sequences and enterprise computing and become a digital journalistic force to reckon with.
I am pleased to announce that Suzanne will now take that virtual verve up another notch as technology editor. Suzanne succeeds Glenn Kramon, who Jill, Dean and Janet have decided is needed for an assignment in the newsroom in New York.
Glenn’s short tenure as tech editor has been put to great use helping reporters develop enterprise and think ambitiously about their beats, and he will continue to work with Suzanne and the tech reporters over the next few weeks. Vindu Goel, a former deputy tech editor with deep experience in Silicon Valley, will also help with editing during the transition as Suzanne builds her new team.
Suzanne will begin her job, based in New York, with a running start. Both Glenn and Damon Darlin, until recently the tech editor, describe her as a “take-charge” colleague who has been the driving force behind much of our coverage. “She has more than earned this great job,” Glenn says. “Her enthusiasm for the subject, and the technology staff’s fondness and respect for her, persuade me that she will build on what Damon Darlin, Kevin McKenna and other predecessors have pioneered.”
BizDay knows Suzanne as a late-adopter (albeit fully converted) geek, but she has conquered other subjects since joining The Times after stints teaching legal writing at Hofstra Law School and editing at the National Law Journal and the New York Law Journal. She has been a backfielder and Web editor for National, deputy education editor (as well as acting education editor for the better part of a year), and an editor for the regional weeklies.
“She’s already been running the show for the past two years,” Damon says.
by Chris Roush
Bloomberg View announced Wednesday that Jonathan Landman, former deputy managing editor and former culture editor of The New York Times, has been named editor-at-large.
This is a new position that will encompass a range of duties, beginning with finding innovative and engaging ways to distill, integrate and present Bloomberg opinion, news and analytics.
“Jon has a record of revolutionizing and improving everything he touches,” said David Shipley, Bloomberg View executive editor, in a statement. “He will bring a fresh set of eyes to a number of important initiatives that will help Bloomberg journalism reach ever more readers. Jon’s a great journalist and a superb leader and it’s thrilling to have him as a colleague.”
Landman joined The Times in 1987. His last position at the newspaper was culture editor, where he supervised critics, reporters and editors working on the daily and Sunday editions of the newspaper, as well as online coverage of architecture, art, books, dance, ideas, movies, television and theater.
Previously at the Times, Landman was deputy managing editor, where he oversaw the integration of print and Web newsrooms. Before that, Landman was assistant managing editor, where he was responsible for enterprise journalism, established the newspaper’s first computer-assisted reporting unit and reorganized the Culture department.
Landman’s prior roles at the Times included serving as metropolitan editor, where he managed the newspaper’s largest news department and supervised its prize-winning coverage of 9/11, and various other editorial positions, including Week in Review editor, deputy Washington editor, assistant metro editor and assistant national editor.
by Chris Roush
New York Times business editor Dean Murphy sent out the following announcement on Friday afternoon:
This is a bad news/good news announcement.
First the bad news: The BizDay backfield is about to lose the guy who keeps the M&M dispenser fully stocked.
OK, the M&M supply is not really what makes Vindu Goel so valuable to us, but it does help explain why Vindu will be so missed. He is a tremendous caretaker of all things BizDay: acting as a fierce proponent for his reporters and their work, backstopping his fellow editors, multitasking without complaint (he is now filling in as an acting deputy tech editor), lifting our report day in and day out with smart suggestions and questions – and even sugaring up our midday energy slumps.
The good news? Vindu is leaving the backfield to take up a reporting job in our San Francisco bureau, where he will join the technology team. Though Vindu has been an editor since joining The Times in 2008, he had been an editorial writer and then a business-page columnist and blogger at the San Jose Mercury News, covering such topics as the Microsoft-Yahoo merger battle and entrepreneurs’ quest to produce fuel from algae. He was also a business reporter at the Wall Street Journal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Above all, Vindu knows technology like few others. He not only served as the principal editor for the Bits blog when we ramped up our technology coverage under Damon Darlin, he also lived and breathed Silicon Valley for nine years when he worked at the Mercury News, including a stint running that paper’s business news operation, focusing on technology, the hometown industry. He directed the Merc’s award-winning coverage of the Hewlett-Packard/Compaq merger fight, the Google IPO, the Microsoft antitrust trial and the boom and bust of Silicon Valley’s economy.
“Vindu has boundless energy, unwavering enthusiasm and an incredible encyclopedic brain containing vast knowledge about tech,” says Damon, now international business editor. “He also has an amazing Rolodex – if I may use that old-fashioned metaphor – of talented young writers. He has helped us bring in some of the tech team’s best reporters.”
Vindu will be moving to San Francisco this summer. In the meantime, he will continue to be engaged in our tech coverage as an acting deputy to Suzanne Spector, while also helping vet his successor in New York: He is now fielding applications for assistant business editor, M&M operations.
by Chris Roush
O’Kelley left the Times in late January, shortly after business editor Larry Ingrassia moved to another position at the paper, by taking its buyout offer. She had been at the paper for 20 years.
O’Kelley received the 2012 Lawrence Minard Editor Award, named in memory of Laury Minard, founding editor of Forbes Global and a former final judge for the Loeb Awards. This award honors excellence in business, financial and economic journalism editing and recognizes an editor whose work does not receive a byline or whose face does not appear on the air for the work covered.
O’Kelley directed the Times’s reporting on the economy and helps shape the overall business coverage. For the last three years, she has played a key role overseeing the housing collapse and mortgage bust as well as the recession and financial crisis.
For most of her career at the Times, O’Kelley has worked in the business news department, frequently with primary oversight of financial markets. Her work encompassed the recovery of Wall Street from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and in subsequent years a round of financial scandals that brought down several companies, including Enron and WorldCom and the accounting firm Arthur Andersen. The lead financial columnist, Gretchen Morgenson, won a Pulitzer Prize for her work during this time.
As assistant business and financial editor, O’Kelley oversaw the paper’s coverage of the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, the hedge fund that threatened the financial markets.
by Liz Hester
The New York Times ran an interesting story Monday about the merger of Time Inc. and Meredith Corp. The basic premise of the story is that Meredith is the good, frugal, honest Midwest firm while Time is the greedy, bloated and wasteful New York publishing giant.
Without actually coming out and saying it, the prediction is that the culture clashes will be too great for the combined firm to succeed.
Here are a few excerpts from the story:
Meredith’s headquarters in Des Moines have an open floor plan; the executives have their offices on the first floor and favor early-morning meetings. A recent lunch at one of Meredith’s magazines featured kale salad and rosemary-infused cucumber lemonade. Time executives tend toward lunches at Michael’s, where the dry-aged steak is a highlight, and after-work cocktails at the Lamb’s Club.
And then there are the postrecessionary approaches to travel: Meredith’s chief executive turned its corporate jets into shuttles with open seating, while Time still allows staff members to expense hotel rooms at the Four Seasons.
“It’s like the Yankees’ farm team taking over the Yankees,” according to a current Time Inc. executive who, like many who talked about the merger, declined to be identified while criticizing bosses or potential bosses.
The merger news appears to be more troubling to employees at the long revered Time Inc., whose lucrative titles like People and InStyle have been essentially sold off by Time Warner and are likely to be overseen by Meredith’s chief executive, Stephen M. Lacy. Time Inc. employees have made cracks about Des Moines and shared more sobering fears about the merger.
While Time executives privately characterized Meredith executives in the past week as being cheap on everything from compensation to their magazines’ spending on paper stock, former Meredith executives say the company merely spends wisely.
While public filings do not reveal the salary of Time Inc.’s chief executive, Laura Lang, Mr. Lacy makes an annual base salary of $950,000 as Meredith’s chief and has total compensation of $5.8 million including stock awards. Mr. Griffin said that when he worked at Meredith, the company focused aggressively on spending judiciously and weathering the recession.
“There’s a difference between spending and investing, and Meredith has aggressively invested,” Mr. Griffin said. “There really is a sense we’re all in this together.”
Time, which its former executive Ed McCarrick described as “the Harvard of the publishing business,” has followed a very different trajectory. Nancy Williamson, who worked for the company from 1959 to 1989 at Sports Illustrated, Time and People, described how the company evolved from a news organization investing in serious journalism to a much fatter company.
“Greed came to the company in the ’90s,” she said. “It was just a huge company: huge bonuses, huge salaries, stock shares for the big guy, not the little guy.”
Jim Kelly, a former Time Inc. executive, stressed that the company had tried to address its costs for years and added that “Time has had more restructurings than Angelina Jolie has tattoos.”
There were some parts of the story that were critical of Meredith, such as this one, but it still shifted back to a positive spin.
In recent years, Meredith has actually fared worse than Time in terms of advertising pages for its monthly titles. Craig Huber, an independent research analyst with Huber Research Partners, noted that Meredith performed better during the recession, then dropped off relative to its competition as the economy improved. But he added that Meredith has continued to expand its magazine business while Time Warner shifted its focus elsewhere.
“Meredith has been willing to invest in small acquisitions that Time Warner has been trying to get out of,” he said. “Time Warner is focused on the rest of their business, all of their entertainment business, whereas Meredith only has magazines and TV stations.”
Meredith has also focused on bringing in new sources of revenue from events and custom publishing around their magazine titles, according to Reed Phillips, a managing partner for DeSilva & Phillips, a media banking firm. He said that Mr. Bewkes believed that “under Meredith’s management, with their ability to monetize marketing services for the Time Inc. magazines,” the magazines would be “better off and more profitable.”
While I appreciate the idea and the sentiment behind the story, I think it could have been a little more balanced.
The deal is happening, and it seems that there must be something good about Time Inc. I just had a hard time finding it in this story.
by Adam Levy
The gloves came off last week after the New York Times hammered Tesla Motors’ Model S car in an article.
Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk used data logged by the car to conduct a point-to-point rebuttal of the negative review.
The donnybrook was, if not enjoyable, unusual. Rarely does a CEO go to such lengths to rebut an article. But, this isn’t the first time for Musk who sued the UK TV show “Top Gear” after a segment a couple of years ago.
A couple of lessons for companies and their PR people jumped out at me.
First, do your homework before agreeing to an interview/meeting.
Here’s a snippet from Musk’s response. “We assumed that the reporter would be fair and impartial, as has been our experience with The New York Times, an organization that prides itself on journalistic integrity. As a result, we did not think to read his past articles and were unaware of his outright disdain for electric cars.”
I get the swipe at the reporter, but why would a company not do basic research? How complicated is it to search for clips to see what this reporter has covered in the past and whether there is a putative bias? If a reporter has even the whiff of an agenda I would advise any of my clients to avoid siting down to chat with him or her, whether on- or off-the-record. And I wouldn’t go out of my way to provide access to the product to him or her either.
Second, reporters should never have an agenda. I’m not suggesting that John Broder had one. He is, in years of reading him, a terrific journalist. But the lesson here is broader than who is right in this circumstance. If you cover a company, you need to have an open mind, and keep it through the course of your coverage.
I recognize that columnists need to opine – that’s what they do. When I read a car review I want to know if the ride is stiff, or if the motor purrs like a kitten (or whatever cars are supposed to do). But it’s a real disservice to readers if that review is biased by a bad experience in the past or a predetermined opinion. I don’t want your bias to become my bias; I want your informed opinion to set the stage for mine.
Finally, pick your battles. If you do have an agenda, or are you’re a litigious company, you need to check out your target before you engage in battle. I don’t see how either side “wins” here. Musk’s posting appeared pretty damning and then the Times responded methodically to each of his detailed assertions.
I think they both lose. A few months (weeks) from now, I won’t remember the details of the argument – but I’ll think a little less of each side.