OLD Media Moves

Thoughts from New York

March 20, 2006

As mentioned earlier, I took a group of students in my “Business Reporting” class to New York during Spring Break last week and met with people from the business journalism world. Here are some of the things that the students heard and saw that I thought were most important:

1. At BusinessWeek, they met a relatively young Roben Farzad, who is the magazine’s Wall Street editor and has been with the magazine less than a year. Roben has worked on Wall Street and recently completed an MBA. The question the students were asking afterward was whether the MBA was standard for biz journalists today. I don’t think it is, but I do see it becoming more common. In addition, they got to here from another writer, Arlene Weintraub, how she put together her March 20 cover story on the $56 billion anti-aging industry.

2. At WSJ.com, the online operations of the Wall Street Journal, editor Kate Schlegel and writer Worth Civils explained to them how the online operations differs from the print side in that it is increasingly offering readers the opportunity to massage statistics online to fit their needs. One nifty item we were shown was how you could click and add — or takeaway — specific retailers to look at same-store sales for certain categories over a specific period of time.

3. Although these weren’t business journalism specific visits, I think it was important for the students to see the Bear Stearns trading floor, which we visited on Thursday, and the opening of the New York Stock Exchange, which we saw Friday morning. There was a PR person from the NYSE there who was able to tell them about their media operations, and they were able to see CNBC’s Bob Pisani do his morning report from the exchange. In addition, we saw where CNN did its market reports, and the locations for Bloomberg radio and Marketwatch. A number of media outlets have small offices at the exchange.

4. In contrast to some of the huge biz media operations we visited, the students got to see tiny MarketNews International, which follows the bond and fixed income market and has about 75 reporters overseen by managing editor Tony Mace. He explained how their news operations attempts to fit a niche that others in the business are avoiding. For example, MarketNews is well known among traders for its coverage of the Treasuries market and of international banks such as the European Central Bank.

5. A visit to Bloomberg’s new digs on Lexington Avenue was simply overwhelming for the students. The interior is quite impressive, and the free snacks and drinks were enticing. The students got to see the main newsroom on the fifth floor, as well as one of the few curved escalators. They talked briefly to New York bureau chief Frederic Wiegold, who joined the operation a couple of years ago from the Wall Street Journal, and met with a current intern from the Northwestern program, Elizabeth Hester, who has been writing IPO stories.

6. Lastly, the students had a beer with the Wall Street Journal’s Dennis Berman, who covers M&A for the paper and had the most bylines in the Journal last year. Berman, who had broken his hand the night before playing basketball, was constantly checking his Blackberry and his cell phone, and I made it a point to ask him about working on the weekends in front of the students since that is when most M&A stories break.

Conclusion: It’s good for students interested in a career in business journalism to see it living and breathing in the epicenter of business news. They got a lot of different perspectives and ideas about what it’s like to be a business journalist.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.