South Africa's Business Report
I spent Friday at Business Report, a South African financial daily that is a subsidiary of The Star, the largest newspaper in South Africa.
Frankly, I came away from the workshop and the discussions very impressed with the knowledge base of the reporters and the editors. Their knowledge of issues such as cash-flow statements and book values of companies was equal to or better than most business journalists in the States. Editor Jabulani Sikhakhane has a nice staff of about 20 reporters, and knowledgeable editors.
There was also a lively discussion about the ethics of sharing stories with companies before publication, providing questions pre-interview to a CEO and finding sources at companies. They hold most of the same beliefs about these topics as do U.S. journalists.
Among the topics we discussed were writing better leads, using numbers more effectively in stories, reading financial reports, writing corporate and CEO profile or strategy stories, and investigative business journalism.
The investigative session was most informative in that many public records used by journalists in the States are not available in South Africa or just now becoming available. For divorces in South Africa, for example, the only information available is the names of the parties and how the case was decided. A form of Uniform Commercial Code filings is just now being started in the country.