Addressing business journalism's image
Robert Teitelman, the editor of The Deal, writes in the latest issue in response to a recent New York Times opinion piece by Reuters editor at large Chrystia Freeland about the image problem in business journalism.
Teitelman writes, “Indeed, the “image problem” that Freeland raises is really a much larger, much more profound political problem. An enormously critical part of our national life runs through Wall Street, which is not only deeply interconnected globally, with all the challenges to sovereignty that entails, but which is also so large and complex that regulators, not to say senior managers, struggle to comprehend their own little piece of it. The reality that finance is a specialized world, with its own jargon and knowledge, led to the creation of the administrative state late in the 19th century, then saw the vast expansion in the 1930s.
“It is worth saying again, because many still traffic in the naïve belief that a good investigative journalist could have uncovered the financial crisis. The issue here is never just discovery, whatever that means when it comes to market phenomenon, it’s convincing a large crowd that something is real, dangerous and must be (usually painfully) remedied. There was disagreement, blindness and cupidity among the sophisticated crowd; where did that leave the vast majority of the unsophisticated, including much of Washington? In a democracy where so many folks profess great ignorance, even disdain, of economics and finance — sometimes, among the chattering classes, quite proudly — that’s a very large, chronic problem.
“Can that gap be bridged? Felix Salmon at Reuters has often argued it can, particularly through blogging. I am not as convinced. Salmon’s blog is quite good, and he’s done a nice job of building an audience, but it’s a relatively small band of readers interested in mostly finance compared to the numbers required by the consumer business media. And the blog genre, for all its virtues, has its own limitations. (It’s a similar problem to that of science and medicine, where there’s also an enormous gap between practitioners and the lay itizenry — a gap science journalism, for all its often very fine efforts, struggles to bridge.)”
Read more here.