OLD Media Moves

How to succeed in financial journalism

November 14, 2011

Posted by Chris Roush

Hedge fund manager, author and blogger James Altucher, who was a columnist for the Financial Times from 2004 to 2009, posts on his blog his eight keys for success in financial journalism.

Here are the first four:

1)      Scoops are no longer important. It used to be if you had a scoop you had at least a 24 hour lead on all the other news sources so scoops actually meant your circulation went up and business improved. Now, because of the internet, any scoop has a 1 second lead at most on its competitors. So chasing scoops is a waste of time.

2)      Help people understand complex issues. Break it down in easy to understand language. Why did Italy cause such a panic three days ago and then manage to borrow $150 billion no problem the next day. It’s because the headlines are just trying to scare people. Fear has replaced Scoops to drive circulation. Then it becomes a race to the bottom, who can scare people the most.

3)      My personal rules in 9 years of writing for financial sites (and creating a site with millions of users, Stockpickr.com, which sold to thestreet in 2007):

    – always create value. Can people use your article to have a better understanding of the markets

    – provide analysis and proof. Don’t just give a random rant. Give real numbers to back things up.

    – be honest. If you’re wrong, you’re wrong. But don’t just cave in to whatever the current panic trends are.

4) Like with anything, build your network. Everyone’s got a story. As your network of contacts grow, the value of it grows exponentially. The network will be your source of interesting stories.

Read the others here.

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