Tips for financial reporting

Tips For Financial Reporting

By S. Varadharajan (varad@thehindu.co.in)

Financial journalism -- it is not only about serious things but also about interesting things.

Source driven story -- the biggest enemy of financial journalism (stop being source dependent)

Numbers should be used sparingly in financial stories.

A story should contain:

1. Good introduction.
2. Background/ context.
3. Quotes.
4. De-code Jargon (translate into simple words).
5. Give mini-economic lessons (if something is quite complicated).
6. The following are some active elements which add value in financial journalism:

Before doing a story have dialogue with senior colleagues to avoid factual errors when using own words.

Do not depend on only one source for balanced writing.

Decide what to use and what not to use from the given source and extract a news item using your own judgement.

Always remember the press release given to you is somebody's news.

You should not be in any way obliged to report everything as it is. Make your own judgement.

If it is the news, indicate who said it immediately after the news which should come in the first sentence.

Rambling in stores right from the start or after two paragraphs to make the story lengthy will irritate the reader.

The press release (somebody's news) is your second source and it should be recast in such as way as to help readers know something interesting and accessible.

Avoid overwriting news just because it was said by somebody. Give the reader the news that really matters.

A `quote' in a story changes the mood of a story or its objectives. In a 400 words story use at least three quotes and close the story with a quote.

Avoid using the tape-recorder for the whole story. Use it only to record `quotes'. It is a serious mistake depending on the tape-recorder at it prevents your concentration.

Work doubly hard to give correct presentation of news to readers.

If somebody tells you anything off the record it is ethical to follow it. However, if you get the same news from another source also you can attribute the news to that source and go ahead.

In the world of Internet you should change your way of giving information.

Before going to press conferences consult your chief or seniors so that they may know what sort of story would be coming. This would in a way provoke your thinking. Finish all background work before going to a press conference.

Understand that your story is only for the readers.

Journalism Online