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Prisoners as consumers: Behind bars is some big business
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Prisoners as consumers: Behind bars is some big business

We write a lot about consumer demographics, from college students to young parents to Baby Boomers – but there’s one cohort of spenders that tends to get overlooked even though it comprises a pretty significant market:  Prisoners. NBCNews recently ran a very interesting piece, “Prison inmates offer captive market for gadget makers,” that was rich [...]

The basics of guerrilla journalism
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The basics of guerrilla journalism

Our calling is inhabited by three kinds of news organizations. Let’s use the Sergio Leone scale: • The Good are ones that practice serious, aggressive journalism, value business news, encourage constant learning by journalists and believe their readers are smart people. At one time, these were called “destination newspapers.” • The Bad are those with [...]

The world of fandom – Comi-Cons – is ripe for financial stories
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The world of fandom – Comi-Cons – is ripe for financial stories

What’s a multi-billion industry that draws celebrities, corporate exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of free-spending enthusiasts to events in multiple venues nationwide? No, not talking about NASCAR, the NFL or the beauty pageant circuit.  The movement I’m thinking of is the world of fandom – comic cons (comic conventions)  cosplay (costumed role playing) and related [...]

Microsoft layoff news prompts a look at job cuts
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Microsoft layoff news prompts a look at job cuts

Word last week that Microsoft will be jettisoning 18,000 workers raises the specter of mass layoffs, a frequent occurrence several years ago but one we haven’t heard much about lately. A few industries stand out in terms of recent job cut numbers, according to the outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas; the firm’s monthly jobs [...]

Do $7 billion deals like Citigroup’s really help consumers?
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Do $7 billion deals like Citigroup’s really help consumers?

This week’s announcement of a federal government settlement with another major mortgage lender is reviving buzz about the mortgage messes that contributed to the economic meltdown, and might be something you’ll want to use a springboard to consumer stories about the home loan market. The U.S. Department of Justice agreed to end its civil investigations [...]

What new finger-food trends are replacing cupcakes .. or are they?
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What new finger-food trends are replacing cupcakes .. or are they?

The headline-making saga of the Crumbs Bake Shop company – the cupcake chain that closed all of its stores only to receive a last-minute reprieve from an investor group – suggests a few ideas for localizing food-related business stories. The potential survival of the Crumbs chain is good news for its investors and workers, bad [...]

As highway fund is debated, how does the local business of road building fare?
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As highway fund is debated, how does the local business of road building fare?

The federal Highway Trust Fund is projected to run out of money on August 1.   Congress is as usual eschewing a long-term, sweeping vision in favor of a short-term patch.   According to Bloomberg, odds are that a House version of a transportation bill will make it to President Obama for signature. With looming funding issues, [...]

Fresh peg on new domain names: “dot-vodka,” “dot-Christmas,” “dot-fail”
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Fresh peg on new domain names: “dot-vodka,” “dot-Christmas,” “dot-fail”

Looking for a business story that spans the corporate world, small companies and even consumers & personal finance? The 2014 rollout of new top-level domain names is underway, but flying surprisingly under most radar screens.   If you haven’t yet written about the upcoming availability of hundreds of alternatives to good old .com and .net, you’ve [...]

Christmas in July? Retailers wooing holiday spenders even earlier
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Christmas in July? Retailers wooing holiday spenders even earlier

How are we spending our summer vacation?   Prepping for back-to-school, Thanksgiving and Christmas, if the displays in retail stores are any indication. Consumers who didn’t buy their swimwear back in March probably found themselves picking through a clearance rack featuring a few “size 2 junior” mismatched bathing suit bottoms and tops the week before the [...]

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