Business journalists act like stenographers sometimes
TheStreet.com’s Mark Fuchs wonders why business journalists, especially those who work at the wires, act like stenographers when breaking news occurs.
Fuchs wrote, “A press release hits the wires at 8:30 a.m. EST on Friday. It travels into the public consciousness, and within 90 minutes, four news outlets write several sentences each on it. Boys and girls, here is the question: Why in the name of insular industry practices do three even bother writing if they are just regurgitating the blessed press release?
“Business media, you wretched little stenographers, it has now been mathematically proven that you are going to wear me to a nub before the year is through.
“At 8:30 a.m. Friday, XM Satellite Radio, the faltering satellite radio giant, announced that it had ended 2006 with nearly 1.7 million subscribers and added 442,000 new ones in the fourth quarter. It also said it had achieved positive cash flow in the fourth quarter, which is good news — unless subscriber growth isn’t as great as the raw numbers suggest. Then, long-term, I doubt it will hold.
“But taking marching orders from the press release, the business media quickly swung into action. Speed is everything in news, right? Perspective? Accuracy? It’s for wimps!”
Fuchs noted that reporters from Marketwatch, Reuters and the AP missed the story, which was that the company missed its twice-lowered subscriber growth target. He also slams the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the Home Depot CEO resignation.
Read more here.