Category Archives: journalism

Answers to Four Questions About Financial Journalism

Will Ortel, a journalism student at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho, sent me a few questions about financial literacy for a project he’s doing. They’re good questions, so I’m blogging the answers: Financial education for the layman is … Continue reading

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The US Airways Share Price

Can we please do something about the reporting of US Airways’s stock price? The NYT says today that "the airline’s share price shot up 13 percent Friday", and even the Economist is blogging the same thing. The clear implication is … Continue reading

Posted in journalism, stocks | 1 Comment

Dubious Statistics of the Day, Toxic Mortgage Edition

Interest and pressure groups put out garbage masquerading as useful research on a daily basis; it’s the job of the press to recongnise it as such and ignore it. Most of the time, the press does a very good job … Continue reading

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Why Isn’t ProPublica Attacking Citigroup?

ProPublica got its knickers in a twist when it discovered that Goldman Sachs had put out negative research on California, which had the potential of raising California’s borrowing costs. Just imagine what would have happened if a major bank put … Continue reading

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The Goldman Munipal Conflict Non-Story Refuses to Die

Remember the silly ProPublica report about alleged Goldman Sachs conflicts of interest in California? ProPublica subsequently took its act on the road, and used exactly the same Goldman report to produce an almost-identical article about New Jersey, in the Newark … Continue reading

Posted in banking, journalism, Media, Politics | 3 Comments

When Newspapers Get Lazy

The wsj.com home page today features, prominently, an article on fund manager Ken Heebner, who’s long bank stocks, and I can’t for the life of me work out what it’s doing there. Heebner was a media star back when he … Continue reading

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Adventures in Anonymous Sourcing

Ryan Chittum picks up on a dog not barking in today’s WSJ story about Goldman earnings: The paper reported that Goldman Sachs’s loss this quarter would be much worse than expected, news it attributed to “industry insiders.” That’s funny attribution, … Continue reading

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Wall Street CEOs vs Geithner

The single most important job on Tim Geithner’s impressive resume, in terms of qualifying him to be Treasury, secretary, is the job he holds now: president of the New York Fed. As such, he’s the Fed’s chief liaison to Wall … Continue reading

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Treasury Enters its Lame Duck Phase

A welcome sign of independent intelligent life at the NYT business section comes this morning, with Edmund Andrews’ piece on Frannie’s latest loan-mod plan. Both the WSJ and the FT played the story just as Treasury and FHFA wanted them … Continue reading

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ProPublica’s Goldman Sachs Hatchet Job

ProPublica is a non-profit investigative-journalism shop founded by Paul Steiger, the former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. So you’d expect that when it moves into the world of finance, during a credit crisis which has thrown up its … Continue reading

Posted in banking, journalism | 8 Comments

Two Investment Bank Post-Mortems

Jennifer Hughes deserves some kind of medal for her magnificent article on Lehman Europe’s insolvency in this weekend’s FT. Hughes’s piece clears up a large number of questions about UK law, the $8 billion taken from Lehman Europe by Lehman … Continue reading

Posted in banking, journalism | 5 Comments

Why Stock-Market Volatility is Perfectly Natural

With the Dow down another 300 points this morning (yawn), we’re all getting used to stock-market volatility. Traders are all psychologists now: "Psychology and emotion are a big part of what moves the market," said Andrew Brooks, head of stock … Continue reading

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CNBC’s Gasparino Problem

Charlie Gasparino has outdone himself today. He reasonably blames much of the current financial crisis on "a lack of leadership from Washington" — but somehow manages to convince himself that it’s Obama’s leadership which is lacking, rather than Paulson’s or … Continue reading

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Intellectual Property Statistics

Welcome, Julian Sanchez, to the Alice-in-Wonderland world of trying to track down widely-cited statistics to their original source! I tried and failed with counterfeiting statistics; Julian has now tried and failed with estimates of lost jobs and money due to … Continue reading

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When Stocks Soar

If a stock ever moved resolutely sideways, it was Wachovia. From September 2004 until September 2007, it basically traded at $50 a share: sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more. And then it started a year-long decline, which culminated … Continue reading

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Tourism Statistics

In 1995, the owner of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad sued Warner Brothers. The movie studio had used the railroad as a location for the train crash scene in The Fugitive, and the railroad had asked in return for an … Continue reading

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Bloomberg Thumbs its Nose at FDIC

On Thursday, I criticized a Bloomberg story by David Evans which seemed to be unnecessarily alarmist about the FDIC’s finances. Later that day, Jeff Bercovici ran a letter from the FDIC to Bloomberg, complaining that the story "does a serious … Continue reading

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Crisis: The Book

Leon Neyfakh reports that Joe Nocera and Bethany McLean are putting together a proposal for what Nocera calls "a book for the ages" on the financial crisis. And they’re not the only journalists writing a book on this subject: Neyfakh … Continue reading

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News Doesn’t Move Markets, Goldman Sachs Edition

Above is a five-day chart of the Goldman Sachs share price. The first arrow shows what happened when Goldman announced it was becoming a bank holding company; the second arrow shows what happened when Berkshire Hathaway announced it was putting … Continue reading

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Staying on Top of the News

At 5:01pm, Calculated Risk put up a blog entry with the headline "Report: WaMu Attracts No Bids". At 6:19pm, Calculated Risk put up a new blog entry, with the headline "Report: WaMu has Attracted Multiple Bidders". A little bit later, … Continue reading

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Lehman: The Media Meltdown

What’s happened to Reuters? The sober just-the-facts newswire seems to have let the chaos at Lehman brothers go to its head. This morning Reuters ran an entire story sourced on nothing but a rumor (which turned out to be false) … Continue reading

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Hyperbole on the Front Page

The WSJ’s stylebook editor, Paul Martin, issues a hyperbole alert: In times of economic anxiety, it is tempting to use scary words to try to dramatize the situation. But we should curb the urge. "Plummet? A highway-tax revenue decline of … Continue reading

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