Michelle Cheng of Quartz writes about how to think about business stories in non-traditional ways, from uncovering stories about underrepresented communities to exploring social inequities.
Cheng writes, “The panelists included Samanth Subramanian, Quartz’s future of capitalism reporter, Esmé E. Deprez, a senior investigative reporter at Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek, and Eshe Nelson, a business and economics reporter at the New York Times. The event was moderated by Quartz executive editor Kira Bindrim.
“‘The way journalism has been done has historically been limiting, and tends to focus on smaller groups of people and smaller groups of problems,’ said Bindrim. But that’s changing.
“Nelson’s approach to finding business stories changed with her job, she says. The longer she was at at a publication, the more comfortable she felt pushing the boundaries. Nelson used the example of getting comfortable covering markets, which led her to question who she was approaching in her stories. ‘It wasn’t so much about changing the nature of the stories. It was about changing who I was speaking to these stories, which will hopefully lead to slightly different ideas and slightly different perspectives,’ she said. ‘The further I got in my career, the more I’ve been able to do that,’ she said.
“Subramanian said his approach to business journalism changed when he came to Quartz, where for the first time, he worked to bring the qualities of magazine journalism to digital stories that had a quick turnaround. He detailed how he wanted to bring a magazine journalist lens to business journalism, by trying to trace a narrative through the people and places—not just through analysts and spokespeople. ‘There should be a way to find those same qualities, by…talking to people who are outside of the regular corporate circles, trying to bring a sense of history or a sense of narrative that is happening on a daily basis,’ he said.
“Deprez has been at Bloomberg since 2009. Originally, she didn’t think she would be a business journalist—or stay one. ‘It can sometimes feel like a straitjacket and limiting if you let it,’ she said. ‘But at the end if you push yourself, it often yields better stories to look at through a business lens, because you can narrow it enough to just find a better, a more interesting angle.’
“There’s a business story in every story, the panelists said—whether it’s someone making money, or someone getting screwed—it’s about thinking hard and analytically about who those people are.”
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