OLD Media Moves

Biz writers too negative, need to improve attribution

January 5, 2009

Hal Morris, writing Monday on his Grumpy Editor blog, argues that business reporters are being too negative right now and they’re using too many anonymous sources.

Morris writes, “Grumpy Editor notices one of the big problems with some business writers these days is lack of attribution.  They just like to pump in their own crystal ball gazing.

“An example from the lead of a New Year’s Eve story by Associated Press writer Ellen Simon:  Reporting on consumer confidence hitting a new low and rising layoffs, she works in that it’s ‘another sign that consumer spending is unlikely to pull the U.S. out of a yearlong recession any time soon.’

“Who is behind that prediction?  Is it a Wall Street analyst, an economic expert, a Ph. D. researcher, a college economics professor?  Or was it something based on an extensive survey?

“In another AP business story the next day on the number of laid-off workers, writer Jeannine Aversa adds, ‘even more Americans are expected to join the ranks of the jobless in 2009.’

“That’s heartening news, sure to drive consumer confidence further southward. (And among those joining the jobless ranks — more reporters, editors and other editorial staffers.)”

Read more here.

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