Myron Kandel, a two-time president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, founding business editor of CNN and a longtime business journalist, has this message for newspapers cutting their business sections: You’re making a mistake.
Kandel, in an editorial on PBS’ “Nightly Business Report” show, stated, “Just under 30 years ago, there was a vast wasteland of business news on American television. This program was a shining exception, but it was not yet network. CNN was yet to be born. CNBC wasn’t even a gleam and Rupert Murdoch was still just a press lord, not yet a multi-media mogul. Business news was coming into its own in many local newspapers, producing comprehensive and even investigative journalism. As more and more Americans became investors, those papers added staff, space and stock tables and even created stand-alone business sections. The bigger papers also added heft and the ‘Wall Street Journal’ began winning more and more Pulitzer prizes. Business stories appeared regularly on page one. Business journalism in newspapers wasn’t perfect, but it was flourishing.
“Nowadays, sadly, papers are cutting back on their daily business sections, folding them into their main pages and reducing staffs. Stock tables are vanishing and, of course, television and the web have become major factors. I know that profit pressures on the industry and there are lots of alternative sources of business news. Weeklies and monthlies do some very good work. But when it comes to continuing local coverage, there’s no substitute for a quality local newspaper section. If the cuts continue, I think readers and the business community will both suffer and so will the papers themselves.”
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