Testy Biz Copy Editor: Reporting on stocks? Learn the basics
No, it wasn’t like handing Amazon $13.7 billion. Most of the outstanding stock is held by investors, and they get the benefit of a higher share price. It is true that Amazon’s market value went up $13.7 billion, but that’s obvious. The Los Angeles Times should know better and probably does. But if it doesn’t, boning up on the stock market should be mandatory. This information is not hard to find.
Job numbers explained: After you and your colleagues figure out how the stock market works, you can move on to government economic reports. In a rare instance of our being nice, we can recommend a recent New York Times “explainer” on the government’s monthly jobs report. Add it to your mandatory reading list.
The number everybody focuses on is the total number of jobs “created” in the previous month, but the reports are full of interesting figures on how the totals break down.
Whether or not you mine those supplemental numbers, it is important to read the whole report, just as you must review company financial statements.
You don’t have to have an economics degree to edit business stories, but you do have to be curious and read.
It’s OK to run text-only stories: Pictures are important but often hard to get, especially for business stories. That’s no excuse to depend on stock art. It’s bad enough to use photo after photos of corporate headquarters. It’s worse when someone decides to do this.
(Mercury News, San Jose, Calif.)
Get some sense of taste with such things. No excuses. Readers who need pictures to look at stories probably won’t read them anyhow. Draw them in with good headlines, which are harder than ever to find. See?
Empty quote of the week: “This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality, experience, convenience and innovation to our customers,” Mackey said in a statement. (Los Angeles Times)
Phillip Blanchard is a former business editor at the Washington Post. Previously he worked at the Chicago Sun-Times and newspapers in upstate New York. He is founder of Testy Copy Editors. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org