Marketwatch editor David Callaway writes Thusday about the changes in business journalism in the past 20 years, harking back to the day when he was on the business desk of the Boston Herald and the stock market dropped 500 points back in October 1987.
Callaway wrote, “Business journalism took off in the late 1980s, then continued to grow in the 1990s as companies like Bloomberg News came on the scene. The Wall Street Journal launched a subscription Web site in the mid-’90s and soon after companies like MarketWatch, TheStreet.com, The Motley Fool, and a host of new Web sites from legacy business began competing for the online financial news reader.
“But while the names changed and new companies came on the scene to compete with old, the stories remained the same — thrilling, devastating, frightening, heart-wrenching — all in need of real journalists to report them and tell the world.
“There’s been a lot said about the latest craze in news dissemination recently, in which some Web sites electronically post news based on how many readers have hit the stories, instead of letting editors decide. This is a fascinating development in online community and user-generated editorial.
“But go to any one of these sites and ask yourself the simple question, what’s going on in the news today. At one of the sites Wednesday afternoon, the lead story was a video from YouTube headlined ‘Leave Britney Alone.’ Another site led with ‘How to hide beer in the office.’ Clearly an under-emphasized talent, but hardly newsworthy on a day oil prices hit $80 a barrel and Vladimir Putin dissolved the Russian government.”
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