OLD Media Moves

Ranking of best critics of business journalism

July 31, 2006

Here is a list of the best critics today of business journalism. These rankings are based on my personal opinion from reading their writing for the past year. Feel free to argue.

The point of these rankings is this: The field of business journalism needs to analyze itself so that it can get better. Without such critics, then we’re going to fall back into the positive coverage that dominated the 1990s.

Marek Fuchs1. Marek Fuchs, TheStreet.com. Marek’s writing about business journalism is both informative to the investor and informative to business journalists. He points out what is wrong in business journalism today, but does so in an entertaining and amusing way. He also doesn’t preach. His “Business Press Maven” column appears as many as three times a week.

2. Yvette Kantrow, DailyDeal.com. I might have ranked Kantrow higher than Fuchs, but she only writes her “Media Maneuvers” column once a week, and then it’s hard to find. The only access to non-subscribers is through the Poynter Romenesko blog, and sometimes the link is not working. Still, Kantrow pulls no punches, and she is always on target. I particularly liked her recent analysis of the Fortune cover of Jack Welch.

Jon Friedman3. Jon Friedman, MarketWatch.com. Again, Friedman might be ranked higher, but his media column, which appears thre times a week, doesn’t always cover business journalism. Earlier this year, however, he did a series of columns on business magazines that was on target, particularly with his analysis of BusinessWeek. I also liked his column about Jim Cramer’s antics on CNBC, even though it was attacked by a number of readers.

4. The writers at the Business & Media Institute. This includes Ken Shepherd and Dan Gainor, as well as others. I might rank them higher, but their commentary is typically focused on the political aspects of business journalism, and they are always coming down on the side of free-market economics.

5. Brad DeLong, Cal-Berkeley. An economics professor and former Clinton policy wonk, DeLong’s blog includes some great criticism of economics reporting and how many journalists covering the economy fail to understand the nuances of what’s happening. My only criticism is that sometimes his posts are long, and he only focuses on economic coverage.

Gary Weiss6. Gary Weiss. The former BusinessWeek reporter and author of “Wall Street vs. America” does a good job of covering issues related to reporters writing about the stock market and investing. I just wish he’d write more often and share his expertise about business journalism.

7. Columbia Journalism Review’s The Audit. I had such high hopes for this blog when it started last year. However, now I rarely read it. With such resources, I’d like to see something posted about business journalism on daily basis, but that’s not the case. And often, I find myself shaking my head at what is written. It often seems as if the writers don’t know business journalism. Kantrow, DeLong and Weiss have all criticized The Audit this year. More analysis and less smugness, please.

8. NewsHounds. This blog regularly attacks the coverage on Fox, which means it often posts about Neil Cavuto’s business show and the lack of business coverage on it. However, that’s all it does.

9. Watching the Watchers. This is a site that sometimes has good criticism of economics, but it’s mainly about politics. I wish there were more posts like this.

10. Media Research Center. I like the posts about the coverage of gas company profits, even though this web site says it’s dedicated to exposing the “liberal” media bias. Just wish there was more business-related.

Got one you like that I haven’t mentioned?

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