Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Update on data from the BEA

This just in from our friends in Washington. It seems that the Bureau of Economic Analysis www.bea.gov will be launching the GDP by state and Metro Statistical Area in early June. The data will allow biz journalists to closely monitor the economic output of their city or state, thanks to this compilation of IRS, Census and state data.

Speaking of Census, the data wonks there keep pouring stats into their relatively new Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics database. Recent additions are Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi and Utah. To access this mappable and searchable database, go to http://lehd.dsd.census.gov/led/

--Marty Steffens

Saturday, March 10, 2007

"Human" side of reporting

Sometimes business reporters on deadline are snared in the phone tree of major businesses or organizations.

A website may help. It's called, Get Human, www.gethuman.com/us and while it's designed for consumer to get through to a live human being to demand better service, it's useful for the media as well. It lists actual phone numbers for companies in the US, plus instructions on how to fool the phone tree into giving you a live human to direct your call. There are also versions for the UK and Canada.

BTW, the site was founded and is copyrighted by Paul English, a Boston area consumer advocate and tech whiz who started it out of frustration.

--Marty Steffens

Monday, March 5, 2007

Getting the message about business reporting

TALLAHASSEE, FL -- Here at the HBCU 2007 Newspaper and Conference Fair, the word is getting out about the good jobs in business reporting.

With an uncertain job market ahead, students were listening when SABEW came calling to talk about business journalism as a profession. And next year, in Baltimore, there will be a half-day workshop at the 10th annual HBCU Newspaper conference.

I did a workshop on what types of campus stories that students could do that are business related. One ideas was writing about the big business of campus fund-raising, and how campus treat this new generation of donors.

After the conference, I got an email from Darryl B. Manning, staff writer for the Lincoln University Clarion, one of the participants in my business writing workshop in Florida. He's doing a story on big donors to Lincoln, an historically black college in Jefferson City, Mo.

Business journalism needs more minority voices. If we don't increase the diversity in business reporting, then we won't make business reporting interested to a wider community. As it is, business is a white guys club, and diversity in business and in the business journalism profession will only make us stronger.

We'll write more on our diversity outreach efforts in the future.

--Marty Steffens