Tag Archives: TheStreet.com

NBR set

TheStreet.com to sponsor Nightly Business Report

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TheStreet.com has agreed to sponsor “Nightly Business Report,” becoming the first sponsor of the public television show since it was acquired earlier this year by CNBC.

“TheStreet is all about helping our users and subscribers become better investors,” TheStreet’s chairman and CEO, Elisabeth DeMarse stated in a prepared statement. “Our audience is naturally aligned with that of NBR, the longest-running business television program.”

“Nightly Business Report” reaches 96 percent of U.S. households.

“We are proud to have this award-winning, public television program as part of CNBC’s portfolio of multi-media offerings and are very pleased to welcome TheStreet as the inaugural sponsor,” said Robert Foothorap, senior vice president, CNBC Global TV Network Sales, in a statement.

TheStreet’s sponsorship includes two 30-second funding credits, featured at the beginning and end of “Nightly Business Report,” running April 1 to June 28.

Ruben Ramirez

TheStreet names new assignment editor and head of video

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The Street.com has named business television journalist Ruben Ramirez as its assignment editor and head of video content.

Ramirez will be based at The Street’s New York City headquarters.

“The Street is thrilled to have somebody of Ruben’s experience and talent helping guide our state-of-the-art video operations,” said William Inman, editor-in-chief, in a statement.

Ramirez will be responsible for developing, executing and overseeing video content for TheStreet.com, MainStreet.com and TheDeal.com. He will report to Inman.

Ramirez was most recently the national assignment editor and a correspondent for PBS’ “Nightly Business Report” based in New York. He has also held positions at Reuters Television, CNNfn, the financial network of CNN, and CNBC.  Ramirez began his career at ABC News in New York.

Ramirez holds a B.S. in business administration with a focus in finance and broadcast journalism from Boston University.

In addition to his commitment to broadcast journalism, Ramirez also devotes his time as a national board member to The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth across the United States.

Debra Borchardt

At the intersection of Wall and Broad

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Debra Borchardt of TheStreet.com worked in the securities business for almost 20 years, spending 15 of those years at Bear Stearns. Borchardt’s work experience covered such diverse areas as equities, fixed income and mutual funds with her last position in the clearing side of the business vetting money managers.

During her Wall Street years, she also worked as an actress appearing regularly in the soap opera “As The World Turns” and working as an extra on “Saturday Night Live.” She left the securities business to get her master’s degree in economic reporting at New York University.

Borchardt is now senior producer and a markets analyst at TheStreet.com. As senior producer, Borchardt is responsible for the quality and content of the videos at TheStreet, which produces 500 video reports a month. She is a frequent guest on CNBC, “Nightly Business Report” and ABC News Now.

Her twitter handle is @wallandbroad. For the uninitiated, the New York Stock Exchange is located at the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street.

Borchardt spoke earlier this week by email with Talking Biz News. What follows is an edited transcript. (And for the record, we are big fans of Borchardt’s business journalism.)

After more than a decade on Wall Street, why did you decide to switch careers?

One job I had during my financial career was summarizing the equity analyst presentations to the sales force. Eliot Spitzer changed all that and brokerages were petrified for anyone but an analyst to talk about stocks. I moved on to vetting money managers, but that wasn’t nearly as fun and I missed talking about the market. Wall Street ceased to be fun after Spitzer and I was ready to get out, but still make use of all my years of experience. I used to act in my off hours, so being an on camera financial journalist combined my years of wall street experience with my acting background.

How does being on Wall Street help you cover the markets?

There is nothing that can substitute for going to the stock exchange every day. Talking to the guys, getting a feel for the mood and tone. You can see at the opening what is happening at a post if a crowd gathers. It’s a fast way to get lots of sources and connections.

What is your typical day like?

I have a long commute, which I use to check what stocks are moving, answer emails, send tweets and do any social media. When I get to the office, I book my first interview on the floor and prep for that. Some mornings I tape with Jim Cramer, so I pitch him ideas. We normally tape three topics, so I have to be well versed in all three. Again – prep work. I have to write up titles and callouts for these videos right away which means I don’t come up for air until 11 or so. Next, I move on to booking interviews and preparing for interviews. Ordering graphics and finding broll for videos I am producing and some writing if I have time. I will tape as many as four to seven interviews a day.

What are your goals every day in covering the market?

I try to make sure I cover the items that will be the most important topic for the day. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to prioritize what needs to be highlighted. I try to find a nugget of information that maybe other reporters haven’t hit upon on the main stories.

How is TheStreet.com’s audience different than other business media?

We have a very specific demographic. 85 percent male and mostly independent traders. They are affluent and knowledgeable about the market. So we can write and do video without having to always explain things. They mostly want stock advice, not piano-playing kittens. Our coverage is very stock focused, not so much the macro picture.

What do you think you do differently than other market reporters?

I feel like I bring an insider’s view to my reports. I tend to give color to my pieces, as opposed to straight news. I think my viewers can get market levels and headlines from most outlets, but I try to make sure I let them know what it means. Like, a stock is behaving contrary to its news. I’ll explain why as opposed to just reporting that a stock is moving in a certain direction.

How do you come up with something new every day to report?

That’s easy. There’s always news in a stock somewhere. Just look to see what stock is having lots of volume or trending on stock sites if the headlines are slow. I read a lot of SEC filings. There are a lot of hidden gems in S-1 filings for public offerings , which is an area I focus on.

Is there any difficulty in getting sources to talk when you’re reporting on investments?

Hedge funds are the worst to talk to. They never want to be interviewed. Mutual fund managers always want to talk because they want to push their fund. CEOs will talk if things are going well, but if they suddenly decline, then that means red flag and a story. Economists are terrible for video, they hedge every answer and go on and on, but they are good for print. Eventually you build up a nice network of sources, which is helpful because sometimes you end up smiling and dialing for hours to get the “right” source.

You also appear on other media. How does that help TheStreet.com?

Any time I can appear in other media, it promotes our web site. We don’t advertise and are dependent on portals and organic search. So, my appearances elsewhere gets our name in front of potential readers.

If you have some news that is breaking, how fast can you get it on the site?

We just renovated our studio, so I can tape and upload a video within minutes. We have the latest Tricaster switcher, virtual sets, LED lighting, new servers, fiber lines – you name it, we’ve got it. With our previous system, it would’ve taken 45 minutes. Our written articles can be published as soon as they are written.

Can you explain the “Test Kitchen” for people who have not seen it?

That video segment was born from reporters in the newsroom just talking about stuff we eat. Since we also cover companies, it was always a lively conversation. We’re all opinionated, so there is frequently a friendly disagreement over who has the best cupcakes or whether Chipotle is better than Cosi. We decided to put that conversation on tape and compare product as well as company. The better product isn’t always the better stock.

What is Jim Cramer really like?

I’ve worked with Jim for five years and continue to be impressed. He has a brilliant mind for stocks and a passion for the market. He is quite thoughtful in the office and has a laser-like focus for what he is trying to do each day. He is not like the “Mad Money” show; that’s TV, that’s different. No one wants to see calm and thoughtful on TV – that doesn’t sell. It’s Jim, but Jim in a ramped up way. But walking down the hallway at work, Jim’s calm and focused, which is amazing if you ever took a look at his schedule. I have learned a great deal from working with Jim. It’s been a true pleasure.

TheStreet.com new logo

TheStreet.com and the financial advisors that read it

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TheStreet.com has more readers who are certified financial advisors than any other financial-media Web site, according to the most recent research from comScore Media Metrix.

A story on TheStreet.com states, “TheStreet, the publisher of this Web site, also ranked first among high-net-worth investors and business decision makers, comScore said in its November report, the latest available.

“TheStreet, founded in 1996 and located on Wall Street in New York, beat out leading financial sites including Bloomberg, Forbes.com and Yahoo! Finance.

“‘Certified financial advisors recognize that the tools and insights we offer at TheStreet help their clients gain a competitive edge; these comScore results validate that,’ said James R. Freiman, senior vice president of Business Development & Strategy at TheStreet.

“In addition, comScore said TheStreet is No. 3 in financial-media Web sites whose audience has household income of more than $100,000 and whose portfolios top $1 million.”

Read more here.

TheStreet.com new logo

SEC charges TheStreet.com with accounting fraud

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The Securities and Exchange Commission charged digital financial media company TheStreet.com and three executives for their roles in an accounting fraud that artificially inflated company revenues and misstated operating income to investors.

The SEC alleges that TheStreet Inc., which operates the website TheStreet.com, filed false financial reports throughout 2008 by reporting revenue from fraudulent transactions at a subsidiary it had acquired the previous year.  The co-presidents of the subsidiary – Gregg Alwine and David Barnett – entered into sham transactions with friendly counterparties that had little or no economic substance.

They also fabricated and backdated contracts and other documents to facilitate the fraudulent accounting, the government agency alleges.  Barnett is additionally charged with misleading TheStreet’s auditor to believe that the subsidiary had performed services to earn revenue on a specific transaction when in fact it did not perform the services.  The SEC also alleges that TheStreet’s former chief financial officer Eric Ashman caused the company to report revenue before it had been earned.

The three executives agreed to pay financial penalties and accept officer-and-director bars to settle the SEC’s charges.

“Alwine and Barnett used crooked tactics, Ashman ignored basic accounting rules, and TheStreet failed to put controls in place to spot the wrongdoing,” said Andrew M. Calamari, director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, in a statement.  “The SEC will continue to root out accounting fraud and punish the executives responsible.”

According to the SEC’s complaints filed in federal court in Manhattan, the subsidiary acquired by TheStreet specializes in online promotions such as sweepstakes.  After the acquisition, TheStreet failed to implement a system of internal controls at the subsidiary, which enabled the accounting fraud.

Ashman agreed to pay a $125,000 penalty and reimburse TheStreet $34,240.40 under the clawback provision (Section 304) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and he will be barred from acting as a director or officer of a public company for three years.  Barnett and Alwine agreed to pay penalties of $130,000 and $120,000 respectively, and to be barred from serving as officers or directors of a public company for 10 years.  Without admitting or denying the allegations, the three executives and TheStreet agreed to be permanently enjoined from future violations of the federal securities laws.

Read more here.

Michael Baron

TheStreet.com journalist linked to insider trading ring

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Reed Albergotti of The Wall Street Journal writes Friday about how Michael Baron, a senior editor at TheStreet.com, has been tied to a sophisticated insider trading ring.

Albergotti writes, “Mr. Baron — described in the complaint as a co-conspirator, or ‘CC-1,’ and as ‘a reporter at a financial news website’ — hasn’t been identified previously. According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, CC-1 couldn’t purchase shares related to an expected acquisition he heard about last year because of restrictions imposed by his employer, but he urged his father to buy shares ahead of the announcement.

“Mr. Baron hasn’t been charged in connection with the alleged conspiracy. He declined numerous requests for an interview. Through his lawyer, Arthur Zucker, Mr. Baron said he cooperated fully with the investigation and continues to make himself available to investigators. He said his client is ‘appreciative of the efforts of the government and its thoroughness’ in investigating the case.

“Mr. Baron’s father, who also is named Michael, purchased the stock and made less than $10,000 profit, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Baron’s father hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing. He didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“The apparent confluence of bad luck and an alleged lapse in judgment that landed the younger Mr. Baron in the FBI’s cross hairs serves as a cautionary tale about the rules governing the sharing of financial information.”

Read more here.

The Deal

TheStreet.com acquires The Deal magazine

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The Street.com announced Wednesday the acquisition of The Deal LLC, a media company primarily covering the mergers and acquisitions market, from private equity firm Wasserstein & Co.

Michael Baron of TheStreet writes, “During a conference call, TheStreet disclosed the purchase price for The Deal was $5.8 million in cash and said it plans to discontinue The Deal’s monthly print magazine, resulting in an undisclosed number of layoffs. In a Form 8-K filing, the company said it expects to record ‘material charges for exit and disposal activities’ related to its restructuring plan but didn’t estimate the amount of the charges.

“‘This is a terrific combination that grows the most profitable portion of our business, subscription revenues,’ said Elisabeth DeMarse, CEO of TheStreet, in a statement. ‘The Deal is a prominent and well-respected brand that the market will intuitively associate with TheStreet, creating new revenue opportunities for both businesses at minimal incremental cost.’

“On the conference call, DeMarse said the transaction is likely to immediately add to cash flow on a pro forma basis.

“‘If you have solid information that makes people money, you can get paid for that,’ DeMarse said on the call when asked about the combined company’s business plan going forward.”

Read more here.

Doug Kass

Be a business journalist, not a political blowhard

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Doug Kass writes on Real Money, an online publication of TheStreet.com, about how some business journalists have turned into political commentators.

Kass writes, “I have very strongly held political beliefs, but I feel as strongly that my platform in my diary on Real Money Pro is an inappropriate forum for me to deliver and voice my views.”

He later notes that business journalists should follow the model set forth by broadcaster Marty Glickman, formerly the voice of the Knicks and Giants:

“Glickman emphasized that the most important roles of a broadcaster were to repeatedly tell the score and to visually and lucidly describe the game’s plays and action. A good broadcaster, he said, doesn’t coach; he lets the game tell the story.

I bring this up, in part, because some of the business media has and will continue to voice their political views, and similar to my political views, no one should be interested in their political stands and/or opinions.”

Read more here. A subscription to Real Money is required.

Update on TheStreet.com

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Later this evening TheStreet.com CEO Elisabeth DeMarse and editor in chief Bill Inman will meet with investors and others at The W Hotel in New York to discuss the financial new website’s latest accomplishments and future aspirations.

Talking Biz News asked Inman for an update on what’s happening on the editorial side since he took over in April. Here is what he told us:

Several elements have been put in place.

  •  We recruited a bunch of hungry, talented outside contributors who are hammering out great stories.
  • We’ve increased the number of active blogs, now averaging one to two a week. These have brought in story leads and kicked up page views—in the  case of Apple and Faceblook blogs,  several tens of thousands each.
  • We’re exploring edgier pieces that allow readers to read markets better, anticipate the news. The stories are called Street Whispers.
  • We’re also honing our social media skills, focused on Linked-in, FB and Twitter. Here’s a fine story on hedge funds and the price of corn. And here’s the great tweet that resulted: “Cracked corn; hedge funds don’t care”

So we’ve made solid progress. Long way to go.

TheStreet.com suspends dividend as it reports loss

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TheStreet.com said it will suspend its third-quarter dividend as the online financial news company looks to cut costs and also reported its second-quarter loss widened slightly as revenue fell.

Nathalie Tadena of Dow Jones Newswires writes, “TheStreet said the dividend suspension will result in quarterly savings of about $900,000. Chairman and Chief Executive Elisabeth DeMarse said the company made ‘great progress’ on the expense side of the business, but noted the macroeconomic environment continues to challenge revenue. The company’s revenue also declined in the prior two periods.

“TheStreet is unusual in the online-news world because it began charging readers for content when it launched in 1996 and has stuck with that strategy while most other news sites focused on free models supported by advertising. The company generates most of its revenue from subscribers, who pay for stock-picking advice and other financial information.

“Subscription services revenue fell 12% in the latest period, while media revenue slumped 27%.

“For the latest period, TheStreet reported a loss of $1.9 million, or six cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $1.7 million, or five cents a share. The latest period included a $1.3 million restructuring change and a $200,000 gain on the disposition of assets. Revenue fell 17% to $12.5 million.”

Read more here.