OLD Media Moves

Biz journalism loses its context

March 17, 2009

Charles Davies, a veteran business writer and editor who has worked BusinessWeek and Reuters, among others, argues that the problem with business journalism is a lack of context.

Davies writes, “These are parlous times, and even Buffett has fallen prey to business journalism’s increasing sensationalism and its regular failure to provide sufficient context.

“For every thoughtful voice like The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki, there are multiple blusterers like CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who generate more noise than intelligent content. Like the markets and industries it covers, the business press has become evermore focused on the short rather than the long term. Too many journalists covering business stories lack sufficient expertise.

“And whatever the medium, the messenger too often fails to ask the right questions, skims the surface of events, and presents information mainly for dramatic effect. The headline from a late-February Globe and Mail interview with historian Niall Ferguson about his dismal financial predictions captures the style: ‘There will be blood.’

“Well, business news, like any other form, is supposed to be punchy and gripping, otherwise who would care? But these days, consumers of information really need depth and perspective. To get it, they need to consult as many sources as possible, and preferably those with an established record of informed comment. I’m talking the likes of The Economist or The Financial Times as opposed to a business blog. And by all means, read stories all the way through.”

Read more here

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