Sorry Journalism

by Krishna on January 19, 2011

It is incredible how a news outfit can report without informing:

Lakhani […] started investing for retirement […] putting his contributions mainly in international stocks and growth-oriented mutual funds. But since the crash of 2008, he’s gone mostly to cash, despite yields close to zero.

“After seeing how quickly things can change in the market, I’ve learned to be more defensive,” Lakhani says. […] “I figure stocks will do better when unemployment comes down and people stop worrying about the economy,” says Lakhani. “But for now, I still have no confidence in the market.”

If Lakhani had pulled out his money at the low of the stock market, the Dow Jones Index was at 6600 points in April 2009. Today, just 20 months later, it stands at 12300 points, almost twice. Which means that he has missed on a huge rebound from the crash. By withdrawing his money, he incurred heavy capital losses. And by not investing, he missed a huge opportunity. I am not even talking about regular stocks. A boring index fund would have been enough.

If you read most “professional” news outfits, this is the same sad story. So-called journalists get some “facts” and slap an article or feature together. There is no analysis beyond the banal. No attempt to put things in context. No determination whether something is accurate or wrong. There is a reason for this state of affairs: there is no risk in reporting facts, but there is danger (and hard work) in taking a side and telling people what is right.

You can learn a thousand times more by reading the prominent individual bloggers on either side (or rather both sides) of the political or economic spectrum. And this applies to sports, arts and other things that news outfits cover. Because bloggers are not hesitant in telling you what they think or why they think so. Instead of getting your cute play-on-words headlines, you get real information and opinion. That is value for your time.


Natacha January 26, 2011 at 10:20 am

Have you ever watched the movie «State of Play»?
In a scene, Russell Crowe (an experienced journalist) wakes up Rachel McAdams (a young blogger) at 3 AM. He says her that he knows something interesting about a senator-gate. When he says that she must to check than information, she says ‘No’. Then, Crowe says “Welcome to journalism. Check the data”.
(I could’t find the quote, sorry.)

I think that this is the difference. Journalism is facts; blog is opinion.

Krishna January 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm

If journalism is facts, then report all the facts. What CNN did in the above example is not list all the relevant facts. It is not “opinion” to report the trajectory of the stock market was in direct contradiction to what the interviewed person said. Frankly, this is not journalism. It is laziness.

Natacha February 1, 2011 at 10:44 am

Aha. If we think on this way when we talk about medicine we could say “There are bad doctors; then, we need more homeopathics” =/ (Yes, I know that some people think like this, but it’s not right).
There are lazy journalists (doctors, policemen, lawyers, too), but this is another discussion: blog (like column, article and many other) is opinion; journalism is fact. No one is better or worst, just different.

Krishna February 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I am not asking journalists to go away, Natacha 🙂 I just want them to do their job better.

Yes, there are tons of bad blogs out there. But the better ones are giving the journalists a run for their money.

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