OLD Media Moves

Walking a fine line covering Wall Street

September 24, 2008

Scott Reeves of Minyanville writes about the fine line that financial journalists must practice their trade on while covering economic turmoil such as Wall Street banks struggling financially.

MinyanvilleReeves writes, “When jargon and a self-consciously insider attitude fill a news story, you know the reporter has stopped writing for the news outlet’s readers and seeks to curry favor among sources. Chalk this up to ego rather than a low, sloping forehead. Keep in mind that professional organizations – including those covered by reporters — give awards that some reporters covet, and a drawer full of otherwise meaningless blue ribbons can boost a career.

“The downside: This go-along-to-get-along attitude can lead to caution, conformity and a follow-the-pack mentality among reporters.

“News is a fast-paced business, and speed counts. The need to be first with a story can lead to mistakes — though you can never discount the possibility of run-of-the-mill incompetence. However, even top-notch reporters aren’t immune: In July, The New York Times dismissed as ‘absurd’ chatter that Barclays would buy Lehman Brothers. Well, behold: Last week, Barclays agreed to buy Lehman’s core US broker-dealer business for about $2 billion.

“But that raises another question: Does speculation, especially from a reporter, serve the reader? Does anyone have a handy distinction between informed analysis and speculation in the current market?”

Read more here.

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.