I’ve been struck this week that, despite the efforts of many to understand the relevance of money and numbers, the importance of the business angle is still ignored at other desks in newspapers.
This point hit me as I’ve been reading the local papers about the North Carolina State Fair, which started on Friday. A number of the rides at the fair have not opened because they haven’t passed safety inspections, a strong business angle if there ever was one to the financial success of the fair. But most of the coverage that I’ve read hasn’t taken the reporting one step further, and that is to get projections on how much revenue the fair ride operator is losing every day these rides remain closed.
Some reporters might be satisfied with the response from someone theyr’e interviewing that the information isn’t available or that no one at the company has made this kind of projection. And my reaction would be, “How bad do you want it?” If you want the information bad enough, you’ll find ways to get it. Ask other sources. Look at ride revenue from 2004.
We still have a long way to go to teach non-business desk reporters the importance of getting these numbers into a story.