Thursday, November 19, 2009

Should a Banned Broker Become a Journalist?

I was being bombarded with word of the ongoing BusinessWeek slaughter, when I heard of the squabble between Felix Salmon and Henry Blodget.

The question is whether it's kosher that Blodget (and other banned securities industry people) should take away jobs from out of work journalists--like the ones being tossed out onto Avenue of the Americas today.

Blodget isn't actually the main focus of Salmon's piece, but he got riled and responded, so thus it became a squabble.

I guess my feeling is that it's OK, as long as it's disclosed. Blodget's troubles with regulators are well known. If people don't know this guy's past, they're too out-to-lunch to read Business Insider.

I'm a great believer in redemption. Personally I feel that Eliot Spitzer, even though not exactly redeemed, belongs at least in journalism, and perhaps back in a position of responsiblity.

Certainly one of the best sources of information on my Marley, Overstock.com, is the admitted crook Sam Antar. Of course, Sam is functioning as an unpaid blogger, not a journalist taking the bread out of the mouths of other journalists.

Let's face it, journalists are losing their jobs not because there are too many banned brokers in our ranks, but because our industry has lost its way.

Right now, as I write these immortal words, people are being canned right and left from BW. Apparently the entire staff is being dispersed and cut to ribbons. Why? Because the magazine was driven into the ground by mismanagement, and McGraw-Hill, having used BW as a cash cow for decades, felt that it was better to cut the magazine loose rather than have faith in its future.

Journalism is a tough, cold, shrinking business, and a few people with shady pasts in our midst is the least of our worries.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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