Why business journalists rarely do investigations
Whitney Curry Wimbish writes for The Baffler about why business journalism rarely does investigations.
Wimbish writes, “Journalists, like economists, are worried that if they step outside those common explanations they’ll be branded as radicals and excluded from the profession, Wolff said. As for Goldman, it excels at using some media outlets to burnish its image. ‘They had to do something that would get a story that would make them look full of sharp young men and women who are able to identify on the spot every new trend, every new opportunity, so they can go in and get matching rates of return,’ Wolff said. ‘It’s a fairly common way these houses use journalists to massage their reputations.’
“ProPublica Senior Reporter Jesse Eisinger, who said on a panel discussion last year that ‘business journalism fails spectacularly in holding the powerful to account’ recently told me it wasn’t all bleak, and noted that some news organizations had increased their business investigation teams after the 2008 crash. He said that an adjustment in reporters’ approach could bring about a significant, positive change that would make the business pages more useful for regular readers.
“‘Business journalists should be encouraged to orient themselves in thinking that all their stories should be about what their impact on society is. Not just for the companies and not just for investors, but the impact on society; and you should think about covering the way the company interacts with its customers and government and competitors and regulators and employees through the prism of what’s good or bad for society,’ he said. ‘That shift in orientation would be enough to dramatically alter the way people approach covering corporations.'”
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