Is it too laudatory? Are we seeing the first signs of the media going back to its fawning ways of covering business from the 1990s when we look at how Apple Computer has been covered lately?
That’s the conclusion of Jack Shafer, whose Slate column on the subject can be read here.
I’m going to have to agree with him. I’m currently teaching “Economics Reporting” this semester, and the final project for the class is a stock portfolio that each student picks at the beginning of the semester and then tracks throughout the three months, explaining the highs and lows based on economic data and other factors.
Exactly half of the class picked Apple as one of the stocks in their portfolios. They’re all iPod freaks and fawn over Apple products. Many of them picked Apple as a stock because of their perceived demand for iPods for the Christmas shopping season and the debut of the new video iPod. None have written in their stock papers about any potential problems with these products — or the fact that Apple’s success in new products has not always been 100 percent on target.
It’s a lesson that they’ll have to learn the hard way. Their Apple stock hasn’t made them any money. That sour performance — and me beating them over the head about ethics and objectivity when it comes to owning stocks that you write about — should help open their eyes.