Sunday, August 19, 2007

Guess I’ll keep reading Barron’s and the Journal, Murdoch notwithstanding....

As we often do, my wife and I took the Boston Sunday Globe along to read during our late brunch at the Deluxe Town Diner. I figured, “I’ll read what they have to say about the credit crisis, market volatility, and what the Fed did this week.”

So what did they have to say? Basically nothing. I grabbed the business section first, assuming there would be a relevant article on the front page. Instead I found an article about the personal jet service business, an advice piece on how to negotiate with liars, and an article about a corrupt building contractor. Inside the business section? Still nothing. OK, how about the front section? Nothing. Umm…the real estate section? Nothing. Finally, in desperation, I picked up the “Ideas” section and found a commentary by Robert Kuttner on the roots of the mortgage crisis. Interesting, but only tangentially topical.

Does the Globe live in a completely different world than I do? I mean…Hello? The Fed cut the discount rate this week (!!) – the first explicit easing of Fed policy this business cycle, and an unprecedented mode of easing (cutting the discount rate spread over the federal funds target, increasing the maturity of discount window loans, and verbally encouraging banks to borrow from the discount window). To a macro geek like me, the very fact of a first easing makes it the biggest news story of the year. Considering the unprecedented methods, it should be the biggest story of the decade. (Although…OK…I do recall something about a big war in one of those “Ira” countries in the middle east…that might be important, too…and something about a huge hurricane a couple years back…had something to do with jazz musicians, I think…or was it a tidal wave??)

Granted, I don’t expect the Globe to cater to the interests of macro geeks, but…you’d think the business section at least would take some interest in gargantuan pieces of news from the financial markets. After all, Boston is home to one of the world’s largest mutual fund companies, among other important financial services businesses, and it sits a few short hours’ train ride away from the world’s financial center. Surely many of the Globe’s readers care about these things. Don’t they?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Writing as a business journalist turned investment professional, I can say that (at least in the early 1990s, the last time I worked at a paper) the Sunday paper has the least "newsy" content of the whole week. There's a reason you can pick up the Sunday paper on a Saturday in many cities -- all the sections and articles were "done" by Thursday, *before* the Fed action.

One of the reasons I left print journalism was the feeling that electronic media would eclipse it in almost every way. Your comments confirm that, at least to me.

Sun Aug 19, 11:55:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The globe business sector has been deteriorating for years. It seldom is worth your time and often the article are ones that have already appeared in the NYT.

Mon Aug 20, 08:24:00 AM EDT  
Blogger knzn said...

It did occur to me after I wrote this that the story of the Fed action on Friday might have happened too late to influence what was put in the Sunday paper. But the situation that prompted the Fed to take such unprecedented action was going on all week, so I would think there would be something about it in the Sunday paper. Indeed, even the Fed had already been making financial headlines the previous Friday.

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