Sunday, September 10, 2006

Do We Really Need Market Coverage?

One of the perennial debates that we used to have at Business Week was whether there was any point in writing "market stories" -- articles that quote various experts and speculate on the direction of the market.

Sometime around 2001 the anti-market-story forces won out because of a change of editors. This was a popular decision -- I certainly liked it -- but I always had doubts that it was a correct one. I'm even less sure today, having picked up the latest issue of BW and noticed that not only were there no articles about the markets, but no articles about Wall Street or financial services at all. No "Finance" section.

There could be any number of reasons for that, and of course some major Manhattan Project -- requiring the labors of all -- may be in the works. I just hope it doesn't mean that BW isn't further racheting down on market coverage. Mind you, I'm not sure why I feel that way, since I don't work there any more.

Guess I'm just saddened by some of the changes I see at my old alma mater.

When I joined BW in 1986, a concerted effort was being made to bring a more investor-conscious attitude to articles. There was publicity at the time pointing out that BW was eating Forbes's lunch. I helped BW recruit people from Barron's. This change emphasis helped BW editorially, and I am sure it was a selling point for advertising.

I'm not saying that BW is necessarily wrong in the softer direction it is now taking. I'm just saying that it is not a pleasant thing to watch, at least not for me.

© 2006 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.


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