The Certainty Myth

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in Financial journalism, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Political News

  “The uncertain election result is the worst possible outcome and the major parties and crossbenchers must act quickly to form a government, business leaders say.” – AAP, July 3, 2016 Since when did the primary role of government become providing “certainty” to the business community? In fact, it’s hard to read a newspaper or turn on the TV these days without some rent-seeking plutocrat whining about the democratic […]

Do Keep Up

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Editorial Judgement, Financial News, Political News, Public Interest

For millions of Australians forced to save for their own retirement, ‘finance’ is Alan Kohler on the news every night telling them what happened to the Baltic Dry index that day or explaining why Stock A’s share price went up when their earnings went down. The truth is that what happened in the global and domestic financial markets on any one day is hardly relevant to the vast majority […]

Click Go the Fears

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Digital Media, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Media Business, Political News

Journalism isn’t really a profession, much as some of its practitioners proclaim it to be. It’s much closer to being a trade or a craft. And like all crafts, success in journalism is usually achieved by getting not just one thing, but a number of small but critical things right. These small things include spelling people’s names correctly, accurately reporting what people said, answering all the key questions like […]

Storm Damage

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in Ethical Standards, Financial journalism, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Newspapers, Public Interest

Who does the financial media represent? You, the investing public. Right? Wrong. The financial media tends to serve the interests of the banks, brokers and intermediaries whose job it is to stick you into investments where neither the risks nor extortionate fees are ever explained in plain language.

Doing a Number

Posted on 22 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Editorial Judgement, Financial journalism, Financial News, Political News

Journalists, as a rule, don’t do numbers. They’re words people – topped the class in creative writing; struggled in maths. And in most areas of reporting, that’s not a huge disadvantage. But when it comes to economics, it can leave them open to being conned. Take the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. That News Corp would run this set-piece through its lazy and deliberately misleading partisan filter (‘Labor’s Debt […]

Analysts Say

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Editorial Judgement, Financial journalism, Financial News, Public Interest

‘Analysts say’: It’s the no-more-gaps of journalese. The dignifying of rent-a-quotes with the title of ‘analyst’ is all-purpose cover-up for the passing off of idle conjecture and sheer guesswork as the carefully though out prognostications of the prescient. Financial media is full of it. Up against deadline and desperate to find facts to fit the premise snatched from the ether by an editor in search of an easy splash, […]

Of Human Bondage

Posted on 23 CommentsPosted in ABC, Craft Standards, Financial News

An increasingly unhinged Australian mainstream media, with a few honourable exceptions, has been revving up the scary-o-meter in recent days about this country facing a future of debt, deficits and public penury for as far as the eye can see.   “A decade of deficits spells a bleak future for Australians,” was the headline on the increasingly tabloid ABC television news, warning of a crisis bigger than the one […]

Future Shockers

Posted on 35 CommentsPosted in Craft Standards, Digital Media, Financial News, Media Business, Staffing and Resources

“Prediction is very difficult, particularly about the future.” Journalists would do well to keep in mind that aphorism from influential Danish physicist Nils Bohr when quoting “experts” about the outlook for financial markets, the economy and politics.

Spinning Wheel

Posted on 26 CommentsPosted in ABC, Craft Standards, Education, Financial News, Political News, Staffing and Resources

A health warning to mainstream media consumers: When a news story starts with the words “is expected to”, activate the BS detector. When that story involves forecasts about economic statistics, shift detector to warp speed.

The ‘Certainty’ Myth

Posted on 25 CommentsPosted in Editorial Judgement, Financial journalism, Financial News, Government Policy and Regulation, Political News

A sub-narrative amid the media thumbsucking about the future of the Australian Labor Party after the leadership spill has been the ritual calls from business leaders for the removal of “uncertainty” – the idea being that the economy has ground to a standstill as the egos exchange handbags in Canberra.