Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How did Broadcast Business News Cover the Financial Crisis?

Not well, overall.

Yes, the situation itself was confusing.

But the reporting was confusing, too, especially broadcast news.

One reason is that stories typically run 110 seconds or as much as 3-5 minutes, so it's difficult to encapsulate a complicated story in a short time.

Another reason, Dean Starkman, managing editor of the Audit, the business-press section of the Columbia Journalism Review, told the Boston Globe is that TV business news coverage isn't really about business -- "They basically cover the stock market. One is a subset of the other. But to equate the two" is wrong.

Too many times clients ask us to pursue broadcast outlets without realizing Starkman's essential truth: broadcast outlets, especially local affiliates, generally cover stock market news and large companies. That's not to say they don't cover smaller companies -- just that you need to be more creative about it.

In future postings, I will look at some ways to tell a business story for broadcast media. Meanwhile check out this Globe article that also discussed how the business media handled the financial crisis: "Is frantic TV coverage giving us the business?"

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