Un-Intel @ NY Magazine

Any editors out there?

I thank New York Magazine and its Daily Intel blog for making me momentarily famous in the areas between Popover’s and the B’nei Jeshurun shul.

However, I wonder if it’s not too much to ask the Intel people to read the actual words I write.

The piece NY Mag is trying to criticize observes simply that the main beat the business press purports to cover—business, led by Wall Street—just blew up, a fairly obvious fact that only sounds controversial. The major institutions on the beat have disappeared or been nationalized. They were there. Now they’re gone. This event, it seems to me, raises important questions for journalism.

The point, pretty simple, was to call for a discussion on whether the business press needs to rethink its approach to its job, either in general or in any of its particulars. The answer of several commenters to my piece appears to be, no, everything is fine.

Lots of luck to them.

But, I didn’t write, ask, or even remotely suggest anything to support this NY Magazine headline…

Will the Wall Street Crisis Wipe Out Business Journalism?

…or anything like what is said in the opening sentence of this post (my emphasis):

The Columbia Journalism Review has a weird little rant today in which they predict the current Wall Street crisis will wipe out financial journalism. “The beat covered by many publications and thousands of reporters and editors has collapsed,” Dean Starkman reports.

So, nothing about financial journalism being wiped out. This bizarre error is followed by a quote from my piece that has nothing to do with the sentence NY Mag just wrote:

Business media outlets that claim to provide authoritative coverage of Wall Street during good times should be first in line for scrutiny now. These would include any publication with the words “wall” and “street” in its name, as well as anything named “deal,” “New York,” “business,” “investors,” and for that matter, “times” and “day.” Bloomberg also apparently boasts supremacy in coverage of the markets that just melted. Oh well. And Forbes and Fortune, you’re in this, too.

Daily Intel then goes on to disagree with the argument I never made…

Wait, what? We’re sorry, we know that journalists love nothing more than declaring journalism dead, but this is just absurd.

…and then gets Andrew Ross Sorkin of the Times to disagree, too!

“I’d say it is just the opposite,” Sorkin confirmed when we asked him what he thought of Starkman’s assertion. “Financial journalism is more important than ever. It’s like we’re firefighters and the biggest house on the street is now ablaze.”

I’m all for “real-time” commentary, and all that, but this is drivel.

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Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014). Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.