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Reynolds Week 2010 Blog


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Reynolds Week 2010 seminar videos – Day 2

These classroom videos are from Reynolds Week 2010, Day 2 lectures. The videos are captured by automated equipment in the classroom and are unedited. You can fast-forward through breaks and there is a notation after each VIDEO link that points out when in the video the lecture begins.

Click on the link and then click on whether you want to view the video a high-speed or slow-speed version.

FINANCIALS SEMINAR & PROFESSORS SEMINAR – combined groups

1. ‘Financial Statements I,’  Reynolds Business Journalism Week, Jan. 6, 2010, 8:15 a.m.
VIDEO –  the session begins at about 27 minutes.

2. ‘Financial Statements I’ & ‘Securities and Exchange Commission Filings’ continued.  Reynolds Business Journalism Week, Jan. 6, 2010, 10:15 a.m.
VIDEO – the session begins at about 25 minutes.

3. ‘Financial Statements II : Tools for Analysis,’ Reynolds Business Journalism Week, Jan. 6, 1:15 p.m.
VIDEO – the session begins at about 38 minutes.

4. ‘Financial Statements II : Tools for Analysis’ continued, Reynolds Business Journalism Week, Jan. 6, 3 p.m.
VIDEO - in session from the beginning.



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A focus on fundamentals

Hani Shawwa, a TV producer for Reuters Insider and a Strictly Financials fellow sorts through company statements

Business Journalism Professors and Strictly Financials fellows combined into one group this morning to build financial fundamentals with Professor Jimmy Gentry. From understanding the goals of accounting to identifying key reporting documents, Gentry took the journalists through a refresher course of must-know guidelines for solid business coverage.

Some key notes:

Annual reports: the 10-K is the key document. It’s the annual report for the Securities and Exchange Commission without all the glossy photos and shiny company promotion. For annual reports, the trend right now is a 10-K Wrap, which combines fewer pages of the spiffy stuff and then leads into the hard numbers.

Auditor’s report: the auditor determines if “in their opinion” a company’s financial statements are presented in accordance with General Accepting Accounting Principals and are a fair representation of where the company stands. But don’t trust the opinion blindly and remember. “It’s an intimate relationship between an auditing firm and a company,” Gentry said. “They used sampling techniques to get a representative sample to extrapolate and generalize to the population.”

Going concern warnings: Gentry says this type of warning in a company’s report does not mean the business is failing, but that they have some problems and might not be able to continue as a viable entity. Because it signifies there are issues the company is dealing with, they are important to pay attention to and could make a good story. In reporting documents remember, “When you get past the boiler plate, that’s where the good stuff starts,” Gentry said. Here’s a story that outlines more details on going concern warnings.

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Power lunch with Bogdanich


Walt Bogdanich

With three Pulitzer Prizes for investigative business journalism on his resume, it’s hard to imagine a skill that Walt Bogdanich hasn’t mastered.

But there is something this investigations editor for The New York Times has on his list – tackling the world of new media.

Bogdanich told Reynolds Center fellows his paper rarely offers an investigative project that doesn’t include multimedia components. Now it’s a personal goal for this veteran business journalists to expand his toolbox with more storytelling options.

“I haven’t stepped back to learn all the ways to use new media,” Bogdanich said. “The smart people are doing that. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t done that yet.”

After discussing new media, Bogdanich chatted with fellows throughout the lunch hour on topics ranging from database reporting to organizing investigations.

A top tip from the session – talk though your projects. For journalists entrenched in investigative work, chatting with an a colleague can quickly identify if the story’s focus in check.

“I look at their eyes when people are starting to glaze over I think, ‘I don’t quite have it,'” Bogdanich said.

He also emphasized the use of computer-assisted reporting, especially for in-depth work.

“I won’t do a project without database reporting,” he said. “That’s how you prove your case.”

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The fellows best biz sources


Rachel Tobin Ramos, a Strictly Financials fellow

Strictly Financials fellows spend the most of Tuesday learning how to understand markets and build sources.

After hours focusing on stocks and bonds, instructor James K. Gentry, asked  fellows to share some of their most trusted Web resources.

Here’s a few that were mentioned:

Footnoted.org – Michelle Leder’s guide to what’s hiding in SEC filings.

Investopedia – a great resources if you need help with definitions or explanations of business terms.

Morningstar – for background on companies.

Yahoo! Finance – jam-packed with info on investing and personal finance.

Bailoutsleuth – monitors government bailout activity.

RiskMetrics Group – risk and governance blog.

The Orange Blood Bank – forum for Home Depot employees.

Blue MauMau – community for franchise information.

Technorati – search engine for user-generated media.

Gannettoid – employee forum and news related to Gannett Co.

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Reynolds Week 2010 seminar videos – Day 1

These classroom videos are from Reynolds Week 2010, Day 1 lectures. The videos are captured by automated equipment in the classroom and are unedited. You can fast-forward through breaks and there is a notation after each VIDEO link that points out when in the video the lecture begins.

Click on the link and then click on whether you want to view the video a high-speed or slow-speed version.


FINANCIALS SEMINAR

1. ‘Understanding Markets,’ Reynolds Business Journalism Week, Jan. 5, 2010, 10:15 a.m.
VIDEO – lecture begins at 16-minute mark.

2. ‘Understanding Markets’ and ‘Sources,’ Reynolds Business Journalism Week, Jan. 5, 2010, 3:15 p.m.
VIDEO – lecture goes into a break at the beginning of the video and resumes at about the 22-minute mark.

PROFESSORS SEMINAR

1. ‘Deciding What To Teach,’ Reynolds Business Journalism Week, Jan. 5 2010,10:15 a.m.
VIDEO - the participants introduce themselves as they gather and then the formal talk begins at about the 22-minute mark.

2. ‘Organizing Your Class,’ Reynolds Business Journalism Week, Jan. 5 2010, 1:15 p.m.
VIDEO – the lecture resumes after a break and beings on the video at about the 16-minute mark.

3. ‘Syllabus Writing,’ Reynolds Business Journalism Week, Jan. 5 2010, 2:30 p.m.
VIDEO – the lecture is in progress at the beginning of the video.

4.’Resources and Keeping Students Interested,’  Reynolds Business Journalism Week, Jan. 5 2010, 3:30 p.m.
VIDEO – results from an exercise begin at about the 9:30 mark.

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New York Times editor on becoming an investigator

Walt Bogdanich, New York Times

Walt Bogdanich, New York Times

Walt Bogdanich doesn’t believe the naysayers that say investigative business journalism is on life support. Not one bit.

If you try to convince him that readers only thrive on quick news briefs will little context, he’ll shake his head. Tell him that in-depth writing is dying and he’ll give you evidence to the contrary.

Bogdanich’s 2008 Pultizer Prize winning series, “A Toxic Pipeline,” which documented China’s role in supplying a counterfeit drug ingredient that killed at least 100 people in Panama and possibly thousands of others around the world, was the most e-mailed story on The New York Times Web site for an entire month. These are hard numbers, the data that tells this veteran business reporter that readers still crave investigative work.

“People read long stories,” Bogdanich said. “They will read a story if it’s well written and if you pull them in and don’t get lazy.”

Bogdanich kicked off Reynolds Business Journalism Week, which brings 24 fellows from media outlets and universities around the country together for the Strictly Financials and Business Journalism Professor seminars. The fellows spent more than an hour jotting down storytelling tips from the award-winning journalist before separating into smaller groups to study in-depth financials and the fundamentals for launching a business journalism course.

Here are some other highlights from Bogdanich’s talk this morning:

On finding stories: “There are a lot of stories in the newspapers. Reporters are busy turning these things out and meeting deadlines. They leave interesting crumbs to follow … Sometimes the best stories are right in front of you. If something doesn’t look right, there is usually a reason and if you try to find out what that reason it, it will most likely lead to a good story.”

On story focus: “I don’t like stories that suggest things. They either got it or they don’t.”

On reporting long-form pieces: “When you get on something, it’s like a hot slot machine. You gotta keep playing it.

On sourcing: “Expand your circle of contacts. Business journalism is more than just covering Wall Street or 10-K’s.”

On finding time to work on in-depth stories: “I never go to my editors right away with a project. You have to collect string as you go along. You gotta play the game. Editors want copy. Give it to them and then spend extra hours working on the story. I used to take my lunch break to go to the county reporters’ office and look at land deals.”

On pitching your project to an editor: “When you come in there, be ready to state your case. Set up an appointment. Don’t do it on the way to the lunchroom. Really make a sale. Don’t do it until you are ready.”

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Follow Reynolds Week sessions on Twitter

The 24 Fellows settle in to seminars on how to cover finance and tips and tactics for business journalism professors. Twitter_logo

Follow along on Twitter.  We’re using hashtag #ReynoldsWeek.

A few Fellows are reporting from the classrooms and Reynolds Center staff will join in at times.  You can participate too.  Use the hashtag to send us a note or ask a question.  We’ll get you an answer.

Right now, business editor Dave Dreeszen from Sioux City, Iowa, is Tweeting from Jimmy Gentry’s session about ‘Understanding the Markets.’


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Business journalists arrive for Reynolds Week

BizJlogoWe will have full coverage next week of the two seminars that make up Reynolds Business Journalism Week, Jan. 5-8 in Phoenix.

The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism awarded 12 fellowships to its “Strictly Financials Seminar” for working journalists and 12 fellowships to its “Business Journalism Professors Seminar.”

Reynolds Week is held at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where the Reynolds Center is based.

These competitive fellowships, valued at $2,000, cover all seminar expenses.

“The dramatic increase in number of applications this year underscores the strong interest journalists have in improving their financial skills and the importance universities are now placing on business journalism,” said Andrew Leckey, president of the Reynolds Center. “It is an honor to have these fellows join us this January.”
The financials seminar covers stock markets, financial statements, options and SEC documents. The professors seminar covers how to teach a hands-on, university course in business journalism.

FOURTH ANNUAL EVENT

The fourth annual seminars will be led by award-winning professors and journalists, including three-time Pulitzer winner Walt Bogdanich, business investigations editor for The New York Times. Take a look at last January’s seminars.

A highlight will be a discussion with the legendary investigative-reporting duo of Don Barlett and Jim Steele, along with the awarding of trophies to the 2009 winners of the Reynolds Center’s Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism.

Deadline to apply for the 2011 seminars is Nov. 1, 2010. More information is available at BusinessJournalism.org.