Tag Archives: Personal finance coverage
by Chris Roush
The Wall Street Journal is launching a new magazine called WSJ. Money catering to the rich.
Lucia Moses of Adweek writes, “WSJ. Money is a spinoff of WSJ. Magazine, the newspaper’s luxury lifestyle insert. The title is slated to make its debut March 9 and publish four times this year. It’ll be distributed in the Journal’s weekend edition in the U.S., which has a circulation of 2.3 million. The goal is for 50 pages per issue, including 30 edit and 20 ad pages.
“There’s no shortage of magazines targeted towards the rich; this past year newcomers Bloomberg Pursuits (a spinoff of Bloomberg Markets) and DuJour joined a category that includes Town & Country, Departures and ForbesLife.
“The executives behind WSJ. Money said their title would be distinct visually and emotionally rich in the way it would treat the subject of personal finance. Money isn’t going to have service pieces about picking stocks and funds, but narratives about characters and lesser-known parts of the world. Leaning heavily on existing Journal staffers, including columnists Jason Zweig, Brett Arends and Kelly Greene, WSJ. Money will include such departments as My Biggest Mistake, a celebrity interview; Empire Builder, which outlines the steps a successful person took to make it big; and Family Office, a look at the world of advisors to the rich.
”It’s for people who are voyeuristically interested in the high end and are at the high end,’ explained Mike Miller, senior deputy managing editor at the Journal, who’s overseeing the magazine.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Anna Clark of The American Prospect interviewed Helaine Olen, who has a new book out about personal finance called “Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry,” and asked her about the best personal finance journalists in the country.
Here is an excerpt:
Given how much of the personal-finance media come up for critique in your book, what are the best sources of information for those of us trying to understand our money? What do you listen to or read yourself?
Liz Weston, now at MSN, taught me lots about personal finance. She’s a great resource. If you want to pick up a book, I still say Personal Finance for Dummies is the least intimidating book out there. For day-to-day news coverage, Reuters and Bloomberg are just terrific. When Linda Stern — who does the Stern Advice column at Reuters — interviewed me for a feature about Pound Foolish, I told her I was convinced it would have been an even better book if she had written it, and I wasn’t kidding. I also read a lot of economics blogs. Both Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism and Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture offer first-rate takes on the greater economic world, not to mention daily links features that are great curated guides to the world outside of our own personal microeconomic space.
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Linda Stern of Reuters examines the new book from Helaine Olen called “Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry,” which examines, in part, personal finance journalism.
Stern writes, “Olen doesn’t fault the financial writers of the mainstream media (a point that I found comforting), though she sometimes portrays us as cockeyed optimists, persisting in offering financial advice, year after year, even though there is scant evidence that it does any good.
“At least, she says, financial journalists aren’t taking payola to push products. ‘We can’t accept a cup of coffee without being accused of conflict of interest,’ she told me. Olen had been a personal finance columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
“She says no personal finance or investment scheme can fully protect people from downward spirals or plain bad luck. ‘For that we need family, friends and, finally, the government, the … enforcer of everything from the rule of law to insurer of last resort.’”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Susan Antilla, a columnist for Bloomberg View, writes that consumers should ignore any advice on investing from personal finance publications.
Antilla writes, “There is a good chance that you will lose money if you follow the 2013 top stock recommendations. And the grander the promise of profits, the more you should worry about getting burned.
“Personal-finance news became a growing subgenre of business journalism in the 1970s, after companies started dropping defined-benefit retirement plans and the public ‘was thrown into this system and forced to make their way,’ says Dean Starkman, who runs a business-journalism blog at Columbia Journalism School. The resulting coverage to help the public manage its own money ‘perpetuates the idea that individuals can beat the market,’ he says, ‘and that’s just not true.’
“An army of commentators, many with abysmal track records, helps spread the useless predictions. You will see them quoted, photographed for magazine cover stories and trotted out for appearances at investor conferences.
“‘The entire conversation is corrupt,’ says Starkman, who sees much of personal-finance writing as marketing material for the investment industry.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
MyMediaInfo.com has named CNNMoney.com as the top online spot for personal finance news and information.
Here are its top three:
1. @CNNMoney: CNN Money is the world’s leading business and finance website, as well as the online home of Fortune and Money magazines. Offering up-to-date news and information on markets, investing, the economy, personal finance, and more, CNN Money provides a comprehensive resource for people interested in money management.
Tweets: 39,060 | Followers: 453,593 | MMI Rank: 211 | Stars: 5
2. @thegoodhuman: ‘The Good Human’ is David Quilty, an online publisher, writer and social media expert. As a freelance writer and editor of the blog Money Crashers, David shares his advice on “making financially sound decisions regarding credit and debt, investing, education, real estate, insurance, spending and more.”
Tweets: 44,513 | Followers: 11,635 | MMI Rank: 1,004 | Stars: 5
3. @centsiblelife: Blogger Kelly Whalen is an expert on financial and money matters. As chief blogger at TheCentsibleLife.com, she guides readers on how they can have it all, even on a slim budget. Whalen is also co-owner and co-founder of Just Centsible Consulting.
Tweets: 53,641 | Followers: 9,927 | MMI Rank: 1,018 | Stars: 5
See the rest of the rankings here.
by Chris Roush
The Idaho Statesman is cutting its standalone business section and moving the publishing date of its weekly magazine Business Insider.
Editor Karla Gower writes, “We also took this time to review our daily Business section. We’ve gone back and forth on having a separate section during the recent economic downturn. At one point, we put the content into the Sports section. We didn’t really like that, though, and worked out a way to bring it back as a separate section.
“But we had to print the Business section earlier in the day, and that hasn’t worked well for us — or you. Some of the best business stories arrive after the deadline. Our stocks content barely arrives in time. And it was a real crunch for our presentation folks to edit and design it — and still stay long enough to do the later press run for the other sections.
“So we are going to put our business news into our main news section starting Tuesday. You’ll find it between local/Idaho news and nation/world news. You’ll see your favorite content that you identified in our recent survey: the top business story and the headlines. We’ll still have a half-page of stocks, including local ones and others selected by our readers.
“Because of constraints on the size of sections on our presses, we will move the personal finance information we had on Saturday to the Monday Life section. That includes the popular Dave Ramsey column and the Better Business Bureau scam alerts. Two other popular features, Ed Lotterman’s economics column and Marie McIntyre’s workplace coach column, will move to Business Insider. Our legal ads will move next to our classified ads.”
by Chris Roush
CNNMoney.com managing editor Lex Haris sent out the following staff announcement on Monday:
I’m pleased to announce that we have a new reporter joining the Personal Finance team: Melanie Hicken starts on December 17.
Melanie got her start as a beat reporter in Glendale, California in 2009, where she covered everything from pensions to wasteful government spending. And she was part of an investigative team that exposed the shady dealings of a real estate developer that ultimately brought down a city councilman.
Last year, Melanie came to New York for a joint j-school/b-school program at NYU’s Stern School of Business. While here, she’s done time at ProPublica, Business Insider and most recently Thomson Reuters, where she was a computer-assisted reporting intern.
The personal finance team under Nicole has continued to do a great job producing high-impact stories that both attract a huge audience and truly matter in terms of holding institutions accountable and helping our readers manage their money. I’m thinking of our work on banks, taxes, fraud and the ongoing efforts to help homeowners. Melanie is a great addition to round out the coverage.
by Chris Roush
Featuring news, advice and analysis targeted toward people saving for retirement, those who should be, and those already retired, the section brings together the expertise of MarketWatch’s retirement reporters and columnists, as well as coverage from The Wall Street Journal and SmartMoney.com, two other business news properties that are part of Dow Jones.
“Each day for the next two decades, people will be stepping into a retirement altogether different from that of their parents’ generations,” said Jonathan Krim, acting editor of MarketWatch, which generates nearly 15 million unique visitors per month, in a statement. “The depth of this new section makes it an indispensible resource for people to make smart, thoughtful steps to maximize their resources for the future.”
The new section includes columns from journalists, including Robert Powell’s ‘Retirement Portfolio’ and Andrea Coombes’ ‘Working Retirement;’ an expanded Encore blog, highlighting news and information for retirement savers and retirees; columns from RetireMentors, financial professionals with perspectives on best ways to navigate retirement; and how-to guides on investing, health-care, managing 401(k)s and credit.
by Chris Roush
Todd Harrison, founder and CEO of Minyanville Media Inc., the business and financial news company that celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this week.
In addition to his presence in the media realm, Harrison has spent 22 years on Wall Street. He worked seven years on the worldwide equity derivative desk at Morgan Stanley as vice president, was managing director of derivatives at The Galleon Group, and was president of the $400 million hedge fund Cramer Berkowitz.
He has appeared on FOX, CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg TV, and in The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Worth, Fortune, Barron’s, Dow Jones MarketWatch, New York Magazine, and Canada’s National Post.
Harrison has lectured at numerous academic institutions including Harvard University, Syracuse University, New York University, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also been active in research of financial market learning tendencies among college students, and was a contributing author to “Threat, Intimidation, and Student Financial Market Knowledge: An Empirical Study,” published in the Journal of Education for Business.
Harrison was featured in the 20th anniversary documentary of Oliver Stone’s movie “Wall Street” and in 2008, he received an Emmy Award for his role as executive producer of Minyanville’s “World in Review,” the first and only animated business news show, which featured Huffy the Bull and Boo the Bear.
His first book, “The Other Side of Wall Street: In Business, It Pays to Be an Animal; In Life it Pays to Be Yourself,” was published by FT Press in 2011.
How did you get the idea for Minyanville?
It was a bit of serendipity and a sequence of events. I was running a hedge fund, and I was asked by Jim Cramer, who was my partner at the hedge fund, if I would fill in for him on TheStreet.com while he was on vacation in July 2000. I filled in one day, and then they asked me for the rest of the week. At the end of the week, they wanted me to stay on because my page views were off the chart.
I decided to do it because writing synthesized my thoughts. I started using Hoofy the Bull and Boo the Bear as metaphorical references for my thought processes, and I had fun with it.
About six months into it, toward the end of the year, my grandfather was very sick and I would go down every weekend to see him, so I wasn’t writing as much. My readers were getting on to me for slacking off. They had gotten used to me writing. So I wrote about my grandfather, and they liked it. I was creating this bond with people that I had never met. I decided that if these people were going to be so kind then I was going to reciprocate and give them my thoughts on the market.
On Sept. 11, 2001, it was a difficult day. After watching people hold hands and jump off the towers, I asked myself, “What’s it all about?” I decided to start a new venture that could effect positive change. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that was the genesis of Minyanville.
How was it funded?
Initially I put well into seven figures into the company. I was coming out the hedge fund world, so I spared no expense. At the time, there was no such things as blogs. I developed the characters, Hoofy and Boo, and spared no expense in building a community for them to live.
Unfortunately, it was akin to the Universal Studios tour. It looked good, but if you looked behind it, there was nothing holding it up. It was an expensive lesson into how the Internet works and monetization of content. In the next few years, I kept at it and eventually we raised some money, and that started the journey.
Did you see a void in financial news to fill?
Yes. The way financial media worked was to give someone a symbol and tell them when to buy and sell. People didn’t know a whole lot about the underlying companies. People wanted to take their fare share of the tech bubble but instead, many got caught in the bust.
We never subscribed to that. We were about teaching people how to fish instead of giving them the fish. We talked about what we did and how we did it, with the caveat that this is what we were doing and not necessarily what the reader you should do. They should make decisions appropriate for their own circumstances.
At the time, we were told to take the word education out of the name of our business plan because it was anathema to profitability. But now we’re being approached by Wall Street firms about how to provide brand-safe content.
How did you attract journalists to the startup?
From day one, our editorial mandate was truth and trust. AT the time, this was before blogs and Twitter. There was a bit of an oligopoly in the financial media space. We were committed to doing it the right way. Your name is your word. These are things that are pretty standard, you think, but they were not at the time.
There was no benefit at the time for us to highlight that the banks were technically insolvent in 2006 or 2007. Nobody wants to know that when the screen is green. But we were always honest. It wasn’t just pie in the sky opinion. We backed it up with analysis that was cogent. We tried to stay away from the name calling and the gutter balling that a lot of people fell into.
What was the big breakthrough for Minyanville?
Probably 2008. That was the year that a few things happened, aside from the crisis. You never want to profit from someone’s pain but we laid out the framework for what happened before it happened. It gave us street cred. We had advertisers pulling ads from us three months before because we were too bearish. But we got in front of the crisis and talked about things before they happened. And it was also the year that we won the Emmy Award for New Approaches to Business and Financial Reporting.
What is next for Hoofy and Boo?
That’s a good question. We have conversations a lot about it. The convergence of digital and television and Internet has opened up a lot of channels. We;re in continuous disdcuissions, and when the right situation presents itself, you will see them again. They’re resting now, and getting ready for their big day.
Who are Minyanville’s readers?
Right now it’s a 45-year-old male, college educated. That’s what our surveys tell us.
Our feeling is that financial empowerment is a need, not a want, at this point. And the tougher it gets, the more people are going to assume more responsibility and want to know how things work. We’re here to effect positive change and understanding. We think that is a viable strategy.
Who do you see as your competitors?
There are competitors in different elements of our business. For our financial commentary, you could argue that TheStreet.com is a competitor, although they are pretty linear. Most media properties cut a horizontal swath through the demographic. What we have tried to do is approach finance as a vertical and through literacy. Earnings, spending, investing and giving are the four constants across your life, and we have tried to build a theme brand across those. In terms of the full Monty of the brand, I don’t see anybody else trying to do that right now.
The tone of the site seems more educational than other business news sites. Is that intentional?
Yes. That’s always been our approach that we have strived to achieve. Finance is a very homogeneous and intimidating. There are a lot of people out there who like to talk and sound smart and tell you what to do. We don’t look at the financial landscape as preacher to congregation, or congregation to congregation. There needs to be managed community.
I use the analogy all of the time. There is basic cable, but there is always the desire for HBO or Showtime. Financial media has a competitive advantage over traditional media in that you can charge more for the timeliness of the content or the quality of the content.
We want people to learn and absorb something with a smile on their face. It’s hard out there these days. We have no problem talking about what we have done wrong and how we feel, not that it’s a tree-hugging environment of danishes and powdered sugar. Trust is an element and a dynamic that you build from telling the truth and sharing what you have done wrong as well as what you have done right.
What are your goals for the next 10 years?
We want to adapt, but not conform. We want to build out the brand in a manner that is in the best manner for our investors. We still think we’re in the early innings of penetrating the mainstream mindset. We need to connect the dots between our various efforts — smart market commentary, award winning animation, our gaming engine for kids, our premium services such as the Buzz & Banter — so that people can see the constellation of how it all fits together.
by Chris Roush
Consumer Reports is undergoing an editorial restructuring that has cost vice president and editorial director Kevin McKean his job, reports TJ Raphael of Folio.
Raphael writes, “‘It was a wonderful time at Consumer Reports,’ says McKean. ‘I think for their next chapter, so to speak, it’s actually better that I’m out of there and it’s a good thing for me and a good thing for them — it’s an amicable and mutual decision.’
“Between its print publications, newsletters and online properties, Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, has more than 8 million combined subscriptions.
“During McKean’s tenure, he says the brand went from publishing about 4,000 print pages a year across a variety of publications, and doing next to no original Web content, to publishing 5,000 print pages a year (after the addition of the woman’s publication Shop Smart), and the equivalent of over 7,000 print pages of original online editorial content.
“Under his watch, video content also increased, going from 200 videos a year produced mainly by freelancers to at least 500 a year in which all of the shooting, producing and editing was done in-house. Additionally, McKean’s team also helped begin Consumer Reports‘ social media strategy.”
Read more here.