Financial "new media"
March 26 2015
Paul Murphy (FT Alphaville)
Professor Schifferes (City University London)
Jason Karaian (Quartz)
Blogging, tweeting, podcasts and free websites – the expensive business of producing well-informed financial news and commentary has been up against an array of free competition for well over a decade. Sometimes, as with FT Alphaville, it seems a case of ‘if you want to beat ‘em, you have to join ‘em’. Elsewhere at the FT – and at Bloomberg, ThomsonReuters etc. – access can cost a pretty penny.
This is about more than simply ‘free vs. paid’ though. The digital age may be facilitating a great disaggregation of newspaper services – and challenging the assumption that readers must coalesce around one or two institutions to access those services. Story selection? Why rely on an editor’s judgement when social media enables you – and anyone in your ‘tribe’ – to crowdsource the content that matters. Fact-checking? Now anyone can raise their voice when they smell bull – and there are plenty of dedicated websites devoted to rooting out misinformation. Context and analysis? Good journalists undoubtedly offer this – but so too do blog posts from academics, think tanks and others. Opinions? Everyone’s got one – and a digital soapbox is just a few clicks away.
What about the hard slog of gathering the facts – terra firma for journalists? Again, conventional news outlets are facing competition. Newspapers are not the only place where the disgruntled take their leaks. The public domain is now truly public – once a document is online, it can be picked apart by anyone. The powerful rely less and less on the major media outlets to disseminate their speeches and interviews.
What does all of this mean for the financial news landscape? Is this really about disaggregation – or are new media sources simply supplementing, rather than displacing, the established players? Are we anywhere close to arriving at a sustainable set of business models for the industry? And does the proliferation of news and commentary sources do anything to improve the thinking of investors, regulators and policy-makers – not to mention ordinary members of the public who are increasingly responsible for their own financial fate.
To help answer some of these questions, we are delighted to welcome:
- Paul Murphy, founding editor of FT Alphaville and an associate editor of the FT. He joined the FT in 2006 as development editor of FT.com, prior to which he served for seven years as the Guardian’s financial editor.
- Steve Schifferes, professor of financial journalism at City University London. He was closely involved in the development of BBC News Online, particularly its business section, from 1998, before going on to serve as the website’s economics correspondent. He has also worked as a television producer for On the Record and the Money Programme.
- Jason Karaian, senior Europe correspondent for Quartz, a digitally native news outlet covering global business and financial affairs. Jason previously spent ten years at The Economist, including a stint as financial services editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit. He started his career as a macroanalyst in Chicago.