Tag Archives: SABEW
George P. Gombossy, editor of The Hartford Courant’s business section since 1995 and a SABEW board member, will leave his post in November to write an investigative consumer column that will debut early next year, according to a story in Tuesday’s paper.His new column, tentatively titled “At Your Service,” will research people’s complaints, concerns and questions and get them answers, Courant Editor Cliff Teutsch said Monday in an e-mail to the newsroom.
“George’s understanding of business, government and consumer issues, his wide circle of contacts and his years of experience as one of The Courant’s most effective investigative reporters make him ideally suited for the job,” Teutsch said. A new business editor will be named soon.
Gombossy, 59, has written or co-authored articles that earned him more than 20 journalistic awards, including the George Polk Award for local reporting.
Read more here.
Orange County Register business columnist Jon Lansner, the former SABEW president, responded in his Wednesday column to the readers who believe that it is the media’s fault that real estate prices are beginning to fall.
Lansner wrote, “Gary Watts, the Orange County industry’s widely watched forecaster, cites news coverage as a major, depressing market force in his latest outlook.
“‘I think the media, in general, needs fear-driven articles to keep readers interested or viewership up,’ Watts told me. A bold headline highlighting what Watts sees as minor market trends ‘makes everybody’s think is this the beginning of the end.’
“I can’t say that all coverage of housing’s gyrations is 100 percent fair. Or that reporters who cover the industry â€“ or the editors who chose what stories get the best display â€“ never exaggerate the importance of statistical housing trivia.
“Basically, we’re reacting to our own consumer surveys that say our audience can’t get enough real estate information. Plus, any market at a turning point is an appealing tale â€“ whether the asset in question is a stock, commodity or a house.
“However, after two decades in this town â€“ a journalism era that encompasses two remarkable housing cycles â€“ I’m keenly aware that ‘shoot the messenger’ is a popular real estate endeavor.”
Read more here.
Christine Tatum, an assistant business editor at the Denver Post, became president of the Society of Professional Journalists in August, becoming one of only a handful of leaders in the organization’s history who focused on business reporting.
Tatum, 35, was a reporter for the Greensboro News & Record in North Carolina and for the Arlington Heights Daily Record in Illinois. She also worked for the Chicago Tribune as a reporter. She was a reporter at the Post before becoming an assistant business editor.
Her “Downloads” technology column appeared weekly in the Tribuneâ€™s business pages and was the basis of a regular television segment on CLTV, the Tribune Co.â€™s local cable news channel in Chicago. Tatum also produced chicagotribune.comâ€™s technology section.
Tatum recently talked to UNC-Chapel Hill journalism professor Chris Roush about SPJ and what it can do for business journalists. What follows is an edited transcript.
1. How did you get interested in business journalism?
While covering technology for the Chicago Tribune, I obviously needed to follow particular technology companies, not just explain to the world how to use various gadgets and gizmos. I fell into the beat during the tech boom of the late ’90s — and what fun that was! Oh, the personalities and corporate extravagance. There were so many quirky aspects of the tech industry and workplace to write about and so many interesting debates raging about whether the “new economy” was indeed something different from the “old economy.” (We know the answer to that now.) I learned in a hurry that business writing is hardly limited to dry reports heavily laden with number-crunching and heady explanations of hedge funds.
I also saw the power of money in an entirely new way. It is an incredibly strong motivator for good and evil — which certainly makes for interesting reporting.
2. How hard was it to learn the subject matter?
Learning business fundamentals isn’t hard — but it takes a while to feel comfortable with them, particularly under intense deadline pressure. I’m still learning plenty — and try to learn more every day. I am far from being as business-savvy as I’d like. I recommend that people study guides for dummies and/or idiots that clearly and quickly define business terms such as “cap ratio” and “days receivable.” It’s amazing how much more of a story can be developed when journalists really know how to look at a company’s financials.
3. Why did you get involved in SPJ?
I believe strongly that journalists should do more to defend the First Amendment and the free flow of public information than what it takes for them to collect their paychecks. I don’t rely on — or wait around for — the lawyers hired by the news organizations I have worked for to champion the issues that matter most to me. And I have no grand delusions that just because I show up for work every day, break a few big stories and file the occasional FOI request that I’m some stalwart defender of a press. No, I think we all need to be doing more than that. SPJ is one of the nation’s largest and oldest journalism advocacy organizations, and its work in only one week is amazing. People who honestly examine all the good the Society does for journalism (and, in turn, our democracy) often find it hard to resist membership and from contributing to that much larger good.
4. What are the benefits for business journalists in being part of SPJ?
Regardless of our specialty in a newsroom, all journalits can support SPJ’s core missions, which include strengthening FOI and open meetings laws and promoting professional ethics and greater diversity of perspective in news coverage. Business journalists in particular will find meaningful training at local, regional and national events that helps them master effective reporting techniques. (more…)
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers, a trade group representing 3,500 financial journalists, is outraged that any company would stoop to unethical — if not illegal — means to gain access to a reporter’s telephone records.
According to news reports, Hewlett-Packard officials hired private investigators to learn who talked to the media about board decision-making. These investigators, according to the reports, reportedly stole journalists’ identities in an attempt to learn if certain reporters had talked with Hewlett-Packard insiders.
Such actions have a chilling effect on the journalistic process and thereby do harm to the public, investors and all of us who rely on the free flow of information. Such actions also compromise a reporter’s ability to talk freely with sources. Sources in sensitive situations may fear retribution if their bosses, or other possible adversaries, could easily steal the phone records of inquiring reporters.
In addition, H-P’s actions raise serious questions about the privacy and security practices at phone companies. In an age of concern about identity theft, the ease with which records were compromised is something that journalists ought to explore much more deeply.
Journalists possess the same rights as any other citizens when it comes to the protection of their personal information. In addition, reporters’ notes, phone records and conversations with their sources are protected in many states — including California, where H-P is headquartered — from searches or review even by law enforcement agencies.
California’s Attorney General has publicly stated that a practice known as “pretexting” — faking a person’s identity to gain their personal information — violates state privacy laws. If that is the case, SABEW hopes violators face the full force of the law.
“Pretexting” thefts are a true threat to all Americans’ personal privacy. Hewlett-Packard’s actions have shown that “pretexting” is also a threat to the freedom of the press.
Turn Your Business Story Idea Into Reality! Get one-on-one coaching from financial experts and top business editors.
MORNING: One-on-one help researching your story idea and analyzing financial information to give your story depth from experts provided by CFA Institute (Chartered Financial Analysts).
LUNCH: Writing tips from Susan Rasky, professor of Journalism at University of California, Berkeley.
AFTERNOON: One-on-one writing coaching from top Business Editors — including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Reuters â€“ to turn your idea into a story.
RESULT: You could emerge from the day with at least a draft of a story.
WHAT BETTER WAY TO CONVINCE YOUR BOSS TO SEND YOU TO THE SABEW FALL CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK OCT. 30 and OCT. 31.
WHEN: Sunday Oct. 29, 2006 (the day before the SABEW conference opens) The course will begin at 8:30 a.m. and concludes about 5 p.m. Lunch will be provided.
WHERE: Reuters America headquarters, 3 Times Square, New York. The course will be in the fully-equipped Reuters training room on the 11th floor overlooking Times Square.
WHO: Writing coaches include:
Â· Joanna Ossinger, The Wall Street Journal, Copy Editor
Â· Keith Leighty, New York Times Copy Editor
Â· Toni Reinhold, Reuters America Corporate News Copy Desk Editor
Â· Eddie Evans, Reuters Global Business Features Editor
COST: $50 fee to cover course expenses.
NOTE: All class participants must submit their story idea by Friday, Sept. 22 to give CFA Institute time to find suitable experts.
HOW TO SIGN UP: Email Reuters Training Editor Greg McCune at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASS LIMITED TO 15 ATTENDEES. ALL CLASS PARTICIPANTS MUST REGISTER TO ATTEND THE SABEW FALL CONFERENCE
MSNBC.com has named Martin Wolk as the business editor for the site.
Wolk has covered the stock market, the tech industry and the economy for the Web site, the online home of NBC News product, since joining from Reuters in 1999. In a pre-digital age, he worked as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers in Ohio and North Carolina.
He also writes an award-winning business news column for the site, Eye on the Economy.
“His contributions to our business coverage have been critical to our success,” says sections Deputy Editor Danny DeFreitas.
Wolk was the 2006 Society of American Business Editors and Writers’ “Best in Business” winner for a column written by a real time news organization.
See the short story on Broadcasting & Cable here.
The blog Talking Biz News celebrates its first birthday today, Aug. 31, 2006.
The idea for a blog devoted to the discussion of issues surrounding business journalism and news events actually goes back to mid-2005 as part of talks among members of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers’ education committee. It just took a while to get the site up and running. SABEW provided $150 to register the domain name.
Since that time, Talking Biz News has become my pet project. I have been assisted by my grad student, Anne Hillman, who serves as my editor and design guru. (She asked if we were having cupcakes today.)
For the first few months, different formats and strategies were explored. In the beginning, for example, there were not as many posts as what you see today. In addition, there were posts about business journalism in other countries. That was our Beta version.
Since Jan. 1, 2006, Talking Biz News has focused on providing readers with the latest information, commentary and news about business journalism in the United States. (Yes, there were some posts about South African business journalism earlier this month, but that’s a rarity.) Some of the content on the blog has been independently reported, such as interviews with business journalism legend Myron Kandel and new SABEW president Dave Kansas. In addition, the site was the first to report on “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer‘s compensation by reading the proxy statement of TheStreet.com.
Along the way, new features have been added, such as a list of the top business journalism events for the first six months of the year, and another list of the top critics of business journalism. The blog has even been mentioned in the New York Times.
All told, there have been more than 1,300 posts in the past year and more than 250 comments. Since the beginning of the year, the site has averaged about 5 posts per day, including weekends. (Since the beginning of the year, Talking Biz News has gone just seven days without a post.) Most of the posts come from searching the Internet for interesting stuff and relying on the Google News search function. (I also get links from devoted readers. Keep ‘em coming, and thanks.) The largest number of comments came from a post about CNBC anchor Ted David stepping away from TV to do more radio. Ted has a large fan base.
Today, the site averages nearly 375 visits a day and more than 550 page views. On a per-month basis, that’s about 11,000 visits and 17,000 page views. Needless to say, those numbers continue to increase as more people hear about the site and become regular readers.
Now that the site is a year old, I’d like open the content of Talking Biz News up for discussion to the readers: What do you like and dislike about the site? Is there something that Talking Biz News should be addressing more often?
Before you bombard me with comments, please understand that this is a labor of love. I am not paid anything to run this blog, and only post when I get the opportunity.
The floor is now open for discussion. Unfortunately, there is no birthday cake and ice cream. Thanks for reading.
A scholarship to the SABEW Fall Workshop on Oct. 30 and 31, valued at nearly $700, is being offered by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. The workshop is being held in New York City at the headquarters of Bloomberg News.
The scholarship covers the $175 registration fee and two nights lodging at $260 a night. Deadline to apply for the scholarship is Friday, Sept. 22.
Send a 250-word essay on your background as a working journalist and why you would benefit from attending the seminar to Andrew Leckey, Director, Reynolds Center, at email@example.com. You must also have approval of your immediate supervisor.
Also, SABEW is offering five scholarships to attend this year’s Fall Workshop. These scholarships will cover the complete registration fee of $175. They are made possible by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.
To apply, please review SABEW’s ethics policy on-line at www.sabew.org and submit an analysis containing your comments and suggestions for improvement. Your comments may be used and reviewed by those evaluating SABEW’s current ethics statement. Send your analysis to Carrie Paden at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline to apply for the scholarship is Friday, Sept. 29.
Bloomberg’s new headquarters in midtown Manhattan has drawn the attention of Fast Company magazine, which is featuring the stunning building in a pictorial on its Web site.
You can see the pictorial here.
“We put edgy art around to encourage people to think differently,” says CEO Lex Fenwick. Visitors to the sixth floor are met with a low-slung Cerith Wyn Evans chandelier that beams a text by left-wing Welsh critic Raymond Williams–in Morse code.
I concur. I took some UNC students to the building back in March as part of a Spring Break trip, and it’s a vast improvement from the old New York office. The art and the fish tanks are still there, but the building is almost entirely covered with glass, meaning you can look inside a meeting room and see who’s in there.
In addition, there are a number of training rooms on the first floor that have state-of-the-art technology. One of the highlights is the escalator that goes in a circle. It’s one of the few in the world.
SABEW’s fall meeting will be held there in October. Theyr’e in for a treat.
One day after an editorial on the topic in the newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s business section published a story written by Heather Landy in which business journalism professors questioned the tactics taken by billionaire Mark Cuban in investing in stocks before publication written about on the investigative business journalism web site ShareSleuth.com he is funding.
Landy wrote, “Cuban may be able to keep regulators at bay with his disclosures and his financial arrangement with Sharesleuth.com, but some media insiders still see cause for ethical concern.
“‘I am bothered by Cuban’s actions because it gives the impression that people involved in business journalism are out to make a buck by playing the market with the information we possess, and if people think that, then we lose all credibility,’ said Chris Roush, a former business reporter who teaches journalism and heads up the Carolina Business News Initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “‘What he is doing isn’t illegal, but it hurts the profession’s image at a time when we’re just now recovering from failing to uncover scandals such as Enron and WorldCom.’
“Star-Telegram policy prohibits its business reporters from trading in stocks of companies they write about.
“The University of Missouri’s Martha Steffens, who holds a professorship endowed by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, said SABEW recently received a $25,000 grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism, Ford, and James L. and John S. Knight foundations to explore issues such as the ones raised by Cuban’s new venture.
“Attack-style blogs, the proliferation of short-selling and the demand for real-time information are changing the landscape for financial reporters, requiring journalists to re-examine their role in the markets, she said.
“And with a Web site that departs from traditional business publications by focusing only on investigations that raise questions about companies or the executives that run them, Cuban — who made his fortune during the Internet boom by selling his Broadcast.com audio site to Yahoo Inc. — is once again on the cutting edge.
“Cuban’s arrangement with Sharesleuth.com ‘is a different animal than anything we’ve seen,’ Steffens said. ‘But you know they’ve got to be careful because you’re talking about [someone with the potential to be] a deep-pocket defendant.’
Read more here. Cuban declined to talk to the Star-Telegram.