OLD Media Moves

Conference call to discuss Christmas retail coverage

October 29, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

The day after Thanksgiving, as any retail reporter will tell you, means skipping turkey sandwiches to wake up early and trek to the mall looking for customers and merchants willing to offer up a quote. It’s time to start planning your coverage.

Christmas shoppingLove it or hate it, readers and viewers count on us to cover the holiday shopping season, a make-or-break window for everyone from local businesses to major chains. They also want our help as they try to figure out what’s hot – and what’s not – and where to find the best values. Can you tell this story in a new way? And how do you navigate mall management to find those chatty consumers?

To help, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers has assembled a team of veteran retail reporters for a Nov. 7 conference call panel at noon that is free to its members.

On the call will be:

Mark Albright, St. Petersburg Times, has followed the annual retail holiday marathon since 1988. He once challenged the paper’s technology reporter to a “shopping race,” and claims he won on price, selection and time spent shopping by hitting the bricks while his colleague used the clicks.

Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press, has been the national retail writer since August 2000, covering discounters, department stores and specialty merchants. She has recently documented the recalls of Chinese-made toys and detailed how this has affected consumer behavior.

Abigail Goldman, Los Angeles Times, was part of the team that won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and the Polk Award for economics reporting for “The Wal-Mart Effect.”

The moderator will be Maria Halkias, Dallas Morning News, who has covered retail since 1993 and is looking forward to her 15th Christmas on the beat in an area home to 25 retail companies.

The week before the call, SABEW will distribute the conference call number and code to members. If you want to send questions in advance, please send them to joshmills@optonline.net or dawn.wotapka@dowjones.com.

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