OLD Media Moves

Why business journalists should not think like investors

September 15, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

Wade Roush, Xconomy’s chief correspondent (and no relation), writes about why business journalists should not think and act like investors.

Roush writes, “There are way more Bay Area tech companies than I can possibly cover, so I have to say no to a lot of story pitches. When I do that, I sometimes trot out the investor analogy. It goes like this: ‘I’m sort of like an angel or venture investor. Except I’m investing my time rather than my money. I have to be careful not to spread my attention too thin. And I can only afford to invest in companies that, from the signals I’m seeing, have a good chance of succeeding.’

“Now, this isn’t a completely ridiculous statement. Some business journalists really do operate from this this mindset. It explains why, at a lot of tech publications, 90 percent of the space goes to about 10 percent of the companies — the ones perceived to have the hottest products, the most prestigious backers, or the cleverest CEOs.

“But I think I’m going to stop using the investor analogy. Not only because it comes off as a little imperious, but because it just isn’t accurate. It’s a useful excuse when I’m turning down a pitch, but the truth is that I don’t really think like an investor when I’m deciding what to cover. And it’s a good thing too. If there were actual money riding on my decisions, a) I’d lose all of my capital pretty fast, and b) I’d miss most of what’s interesting about innovation and startup culture.”

Read more here.

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