Chairman Lord John Browne announced in January that he would be stepping down from the helm of BP this summer, eighteen months earlier than he had planned. A few days later, a 300-page report from an independent panel investigating BP—and run by former Secretary of State James Baker III—criticized a “run until it breaks” mentality at the company, which has “a false sense of confidence” about safety.

Since Texas City, there have been other collaborations between the business and metro desks at the Chronicle, most notably during the trials of Enron’s top brass. A team of reporters produced a continuously updated blog of all the courtroom action—deciphering the finer points of Enron’s financial woes—in addition to traditional daily and enterprise pieces.

We’re too turf-conscious in journalism. We talk a good game about the shrinking world and the interconnected nature of things, but have a hard time applying that to our own newsrooms. Almost every story is, in some way, a business story. By ignoring this fact in favor of some artificial notion of “that’s your beat, this is mine,” we do our readers a disservice.


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Lynn J. Cook , an energy writer for The Houston Chronicle, was one of this year’s Knight Bagehot fellows, studying finance and economics at the Columbia Business School.