In Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he trained his sights on corruption in financial journalism. A recent New York Times trend – on which its ombudsman, Arthur Brisbane, commendably blew the whistle – seems likely to compromise the newspaper’s objectivity in covering business and finance. He said:
… DealBook, which was greatly expanded last fall, is a prominent presence on NYTimes.com, offering up-to-the-minute news and trivia about Wall Street deals, regulatory issues, venture capital and personalities.
[It] has a strangely precrash feel to it.
We can all remember what things were like before 2008: Wall Street was king,New York was the center of the financial universe, the titans of finance were gods. DealBook’s offerings remain closely aligned with that paradigm, even though the titans have lost their shine, markets have been shifting away fromNew York, and the postcrash world is determined far more than before by China and the broader global economy.
Despite this shift, DealBook’s reporting is about deals, hedge fund news and the doings of people on the Street. We read about George Soros’s problems with his girlfriend, …
Dean Starkman, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who runs the blog The Audit for The Columbia Journalism Review, shares my concerns that DealBook, while it helps The Times build a niche audience online, isn’t designed to address broader issues like this.
“DealBook is a symptom of, as well as a cause of, narrowing of the frames of business news,” he said. “What DealBook does is approach business and finance strictly from an investor’s perspective. This is useful, of course, and has deep roots in business press DNA. But it is not public interest journalism.”