OLD Media Moves

An opinonated voice at Barron's

August 19, 2009

Damien Hoffman of Wall Street Cheat Sheet interviewed Barron’s senior editor Michael Santoli about his writing career and how he develops his columns in the weekly business newspaper.

Here is an excerpt:

Damien: What is it like having gone from a beat reporter to basically batting cleanup behind Alan Abelson and having that great Feature space?

Michael: It’s great. We actually enjoy an amazingly committed readership at Barron’s. It’s a good thing because I obviously want people who are loyal and look forward to getting Barron’s first thing Saturday morning. On the other hand, it’s a challenge because obviously they are demanding. The readers want to see something they haven’t encountered during the week. It’s not that you have to say something differently, you have to say it more persuasively or have a point of view somewhat at variance with what most people have been reading and watching most of the week.

It was an adjustment to do commentary after being a beat writer where it’s play-it-straight, get the news fast, and get it out there. Now I have all week to percolate whatever topics interest me, look at all the research, and talk to a lot of people. By the end of week I figure out if I have anything interesting to say. The challenge during the adjustment was to learn how to have an opinionated voice, and to go out on a limb and say, “This is where I think we might be headed and here is a particular investment idea that has merit or not.” The adjustment is on-going. The challenge is to quiz myself every minute of the day: “What do I really think? Where is the crowd sentiment? Where can I make a distinction between what I think is the likely view and what the crowd currently thinks?”

Read more here.

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