Tag Archives: financial journalism

BBC responds to Chancellor’s criticism of financial reporting

Yesterday on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme the Chancellor George Osborne seemed to suggest that the BBC‘s reporting on the economy had at times focused on more ‘bad news’ stories than positive, saying he wanted to see “more balance”.

I’ve listened to news bulletins on your programme for the last year. Every time there’s an unfortunate loss of jobs somewhere, a few hundred jobs, it’s on the news bulletin. I’ve not yet heard a single news bulletin that says 400,000 new jobs have been created over the past year, that just doesn’t appear on the news.

Last week there was a disappointing manufacturing survey, it was on the news, today there’s a more encouraging manufacturing survey, its not on the news. I think what I’m asking for is a bit more balance in the way we look at the British economy at the moment.

Later that day editor of the BBC News business and economics unit Jeremy Hillman responded via the Editors Blog to the specific claims.

… had the chancellor been listening carefully to Today just an hour earlier (he seemed to suggest he had been but may have missed it) he would have heard our economics editor Stephanie Flanders say clearly that over the last year employment has been very strong and that private employment was especially strong.

Viewers of our main Six and Ten O’Clock News bulletins will know that virtually every single time we report unemployment figures we also give the employment figure for fairness and balance. It’s also worth noting that in our heavily read online coverage we have reported on at least seven job creation stories in just the last few of weeks.

He did accept however that at times the BBC may over-emphasise or under-emphasise something.

That always ensures a lively and valuable editorial discussion in the newsroom. Very occasionally we may miss something interesting completely, though we’ll try to catch up as soon as we realise. While we understand the political context around all our business and economics reporting, our sole purpose is to report and put context around the data for the benefit of all our audiences, reflecting that there are differing points of view and analysis which may occasionally make uncomfortable reading from both sides of the political divide.

Finance story leads from the banking crisis – some tips for journalists

On the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism site journalist Jodi Schneider from the American Banker, has some tips for financial journalists looking for local banking stories in the aftermath of the credit crisis .

For local publications, community banks are a good source of stories and a way to localise the financial services story playing out on the national and world stage.

While her advice focuses on American processes, the general ideas could be adapted for the UK banking scene.

Story tips include: looking at other areas of a local economy which are suffering and how they may impact on local financial institutions; or investigating banks’ capital levels to predict whether they may be in danger of regulatory action.

More general advice covers what to include in any banking story, from the size of the institution and recent earnings, to capital standings and recent regulatory actions.

See the full post here…

FT.com: Thomson Reuters’ video product Insider to launch on 11 May

Thomson Reuters is planning to launch a series of new web products and overhaul its markets division as part of plans to streamline the company and reach growing audiences of younger, web-savvy readers and smaller business customers.

Among the developments:

  • An “enterprise platform” offering faster delivery of data to clients and online training and customer service support to smaller customers;
  • The launch of online video product Insider on May 11, which it has been testing since last year;
  • A new desktop platform, Eikon, to launch in autumn, offering a wider range of data and personalisation features.

Full story at this link…

Guardian launches crowdsourced investigation into Tony Blair’s finances

Part crowdsourcing, part competition, the Guardian is asking readers to help them analyse financial structures set up by the former prime minister Tony Blair, which involve artificial partnerships.

The new project is similar to that run by the newspaper during the MPs expenses scandal, when readers where asked to look through and flag up points of interest on expenses claim forms.

This time there’s a competition element too: readers are asked to trawl through relevant documents and make comments and annotations. Featured contributions will be credited and readers will have the chance to win an origial cartoon by Steve Bell (deadline is 6 December).

Alan Rusbridger Twitter update

Blogs transformed mainstream media coverage of the credit crisis, Kristine Lowe argues in new book

Institutional mainstream media constraints were both an asset and a liability during the great crash, says Norwegian blogger and journalist Kristine Lowe, in a new book published this week. She argues that blogs both transformed and challenged mainstream media coverage of the credit crisis.

‘Playing Footsie with the FTSE?‘ edited by John Mair and Richard Lance Keeble, a collection of 20 articles by leading journalists and academics that asks why leading financial journalists and commentators failed to predict the biggest economic crisis in 70 years, is published this week by Abramis for £9.99.

Journalism.co.uk has featured several chapters from the book during the past month:

and today:

Gillian Tett at the Frontline Club: tonight 7.30pm GMT

This will be good. From the Frontline Club blog:

‘The credit crisis, financial journalism and scaremongering’ with Financial Times Assistant editor and journalist of the year Gillian Tett at the Frontline Club tonight. Gillian will be in discussion with BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders.

“When she picked up her prize for journalist of the year at the British Press Awards recently, the Financial Times’ Gillian Tett claimed the accolade was a vindication for ‘the geeks’ and ‘anoraks’.  The assistant editor of the Financial Times has been documenting the rise of credit derivatives banking since she was appointed in 2005 to cover the the rather unglamorous capital markets patch. But it was only after the full consequences of the risks bankers had been taking became so catastrophically apparent that Gillian Tett was promoted from ‘geek’ to luminary, regularly making appearances on TV and radio.”

Watch live here at 7.30pm GMT:

FT.com: Lionel Barber on financial journalism and the economic crisis

Financial Times editor Lionel Barber asks whether the media should have foreseen the global financial crisis.

At the beginning, says Barber: “Most reporters working in this so-called ‘shadow banking system’ found it hard to interest their superiors who controlled space and who were more interested in broadcasting the ‘good news’ story of rising property prices and economic growth.”

While journalists were not the only ones to ‘fall down on the job’, there were four key weaknesses in the media’s coverage of the economy in the build-up to the crash (he goes on to outline these).

But, he adds:

“Many of the most important developments of the past decade (…) have largely been unanticipated or failed to attract the attention they deserved. Journalists, in this respect, have a crucial role to play. Flawed they may be, but they still have the capacity to be the canaries in the mine. Long may it be so.”

Full article at this link…

CJR: The Polis financial journalism paper dissected across the pond

A take on the Polis paper from the States. The Columbia Journalism Review’s Dean Starkman says that the Polis’ ‘What is Financial Journalism For?’ report addresses ‘one of those big, “dumb” questions’ that he ‘finds so valuable.’

“Those kinds of questions don’t get asked much on this side of the pond. That’s too bad. Even the subject of business media’s performance in advance of the current crisis seems to be something of a taboo.

“The scant attention the subject has received has been either the once-over-lightly treatment, a la Howard Kurtz, and or an ‘all-clear’ for the business press from our cousins over at the American Journalism Review.”

Full story…