Tag Archives: Personal finance coverage


The need for professional and personal reviews


Kim Kleman, the editor of Consumer Reports, writes for Nieman Reports about the differences on product reviews in personal finance journalism.

Kleman writes, “Actually, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s room in the universe, indeed, an important place, for both personal and professional reviews. I don’t pretend to understand the fine points of movie, restaurant or theater reviewing. What I know about product reviews, however, suggests that readers will pay for information they consider valuable and that you do better than anyone else. User reviews — what real consumers focus on, gripe or rave about — can help inform that coverage.

“Product testing has been the backbone of Consumer Reports since its founding 77 years ago, in 1936. We’re a nonprofit group, we buy every product we rate, we take no advertising from manufacturers — our founders wisely believed that our product ratings could be seen as suspect if they were sandwiched between various manufacturers ads — and so subscription sales largely fuel the revenue of our organization. (Grants and donations account for a small percentage of overall revenue.) You could say we were among the first publishers to adequately value our content.

“Our immense surveys of readers, the basis of our exclusive brand reliability information, and our ratings of service providers such as hotels and cell phone carriers, are second in size only to the U.S. Census, we believe. So we’ve actually embraced user reviews for many decades.

“In some circles, the rap on Consumer Reports is that we’re dream killers. That cherry of a sports car—the one you hope to buy when you finally ‘arrive’? Consumer Reports says it’s unreliable! That pro-style range you have your heart set on, the one the Joneses already bought? Consumer Reports says there are far better and cheaper choices!”

Read more here.

San Antonio Express News

San Antonio paper expanding biz coverage


The San Antonio Express-News is expanding its Sunday and Monday business news coverage.

A story on its website states, “This weekend, we roll out Business Sunday, marking the return of in-depth  business news and analysis to the Sunday paper after a four-year absence. Look  for sharp coverage of energy and the Eagle Ford Shale and the energy  industry.

“Coming Monday: A stand-alone business section focused on personal  finance.

“These upgrades mean we have to do a little reshuffling.

Scott Burns will continue giving financial advice, but his column will be  shifting to the new Monday business section starting next week.

“Our Week in Review feature already has made its move — from Saturday to  Sunday.

“Finally, Social  Security guru Oscar  Garcia is returning the pages of the San Antonio Express-News on Sunday.  Look for him at the top Business Sunday’s page 2.”

Read more here.


WSJ launching new magazine WSJ. Money


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.

Pound Foolish

The best for personal finance coverage


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.

credit cards

What’s wrong with personal finance coverage?


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.


Avoid advice from personal finance coverage


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.

CNN Money Logo

CNNMoney.com is named top personal finance site


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.


Idaho Statesman cuts standalone biz section


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.”

Read more here.
Melanie Hicken

CNNMoney names new personal finance writer


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.

Marketwatch Retirement

Marketwatch.com launches section on retirement


Marketwatch.com, the business and financial news site operated by Dow Jones & Co., announced Wednesday the launch of MarketWatch Retirement.

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.