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Business Journalism Professors 2014: Avoid Rookie Mistakes by Rob Wells

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Business Journalism Professors 2014: Avoid Rookie Mistakes by Rob Wells

  1. 1. Avoid Rookie Mistakes Title Slide Rob Wells, Jan. 3, 2013
  2. 2. Rob Wells Adjunct Faculty, University of Maryland, Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Ph.D. student Reynolds Visiting Professor of Business Journalism, University of South Carolina, Columbia. Former Deputy Bureau Chief, Dow Jones/ Wall Street Journal, Washington, D.C. Reporter for Dow Jones, Bloomberg, The Associated Press
  3. 3. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN Active Learning Exercises For Business Journalism Classes How To Create A Basic Business Reporting Class Strategies To Focus Classes A Sample Finance Class Session
  4. 4. Rookie Mistake #1: Slow Down They Won’t Get It The First Time! Be Patient. Teach From Several Angles
  5. 5. Rookie  Mistake  #2:     Don’t Overreach Focus on Financial Literacy Explore The Business Journalism Genre Convey Practical Skills: Earnings Stories Don’t Expect Students to Produce Print-Quality Work in First Semester
  6. 6. My Course Objectives 1-Corporations 2-Markets 3-Economic Policy
  7. 7. Course Elements 1-Basic corporate financial statements, SEC filings. 2–Differences between stock, bond and currency markets. 3—U.S. economic data, impact on markets, economic policy. Cont…à
  8. 8. Course Elements 4–Business regulation, documents, lawsuits 5—How The Fed, White House, Congress, Corporations Shape Economic Policy 6—Quick Overview of Trade, International Markets
  9. 9. Rookie  Mistake  #3:     Limit Your Lectures Get Them Talking
  10. 10. Promote Active Learning --Ungraded quizzes --Fact Boxes: Split Up Complex Material --Blog entries --In-class writing exercises, ungraded, instructor assists
  11. 11. Fact Box Example
  12. 12. YOUR TURN: WRITE DOWN TWO ACTIVE LEARNING EXERCISES YOU’VE USED IN CLASS. HOW WOULD YOU APPLY THESE TO BUSINESS JOURNALISM?
  13. 13. Corporate Research Step-by-Step —Extract and write a basic earnings story by the end of the semester —Achieve basic financial literacy and be able to understand an income statement —Know how to navigate and retrieve basic information from SEC filings —The concept of public disclosure and its role in the securities markets
  14. 14. Company Research 1)  Assign students companies to follow during semester, ones they understand. McDonald’s. Target, Boeing. etc  2) Check Income Statements for Curveballs 3) Avoid Banks, Foreign Cos. 4) Stick To Four SEC Forms: Major Events, Quarterly, Annual, Proxy (8-K, 10-Q, 10-K, Def 14a)
  15. 15. Your Turn Go To SEC’s Website, Retrieve Apple 10-Q, Check Income Statement, Management Discussion and Analysis http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/ companysearch.html Discuss: Active Learning Ideas. --Financial Concepts? --Business Concepts?
  16. 16. MATERIALS 1) Jimmy Gentry handout on finance 2) “Guide To Money & Investing” --Morris. 2011 Lightbulb Press 3) SEC Edgar website 4) Google Finance website 5) Investopedia videos 6) Daily WSJ, AP coverage 
  17. 17. Rookie Mistake #4: Move Gradually Tip: Set aside two weeks to drill and build confidence, a lightly graded test to focus their attention and then the assignment. Tip: Work with them on ungraded in-class drills. Tip: Iterative Assignments: Split It In Two. First assignment, a memo, 15% of assignment grade. Suggest changes, fix a few things. Second assignment is 85% of grade Students get opportunities to improve.  
  18. 18. Rookie Mistake #5: Use Free Websites Tip: I showed them proprietary financial databases but Google Finance actually will fit your needs. https://www.google.com/finance Assignment Idea: Calculate Percentage Change in Stock Price for Apple Over Last Year, Compare to S&P 500 and Microsoft Corp.
  19. 19. Economic Data Main goals for this unit: --Discover government economic data and understand how it affects financial markets and economic policy. —Extract and write a basic economic indicators story by the end of the semester —Understand why economic data moves the markets —Why bond and stock markets react differently to economic data
  20. 20. Rookie Mistake #5: Don’t Bite Off Too Much Use Extended Discussion of Employment Report To Make Broader Points About All Economic Data —Start with the employment indicator. Kids understand jobs. —Drill in class, build to a deadline writing assignment  
  21. 21. YOUR TURN: REVIEW LIST OF MAJOR ECONOMIC INDICATORS. http://www.nber.org/releases/ IDEAS ON INDICATORS YOU MAY WANT TO TEACH? ALTERNATE WAYS TO TEACH TOPIC? ACTIVE LEARNING EXERCISES?
  22. 22. Rookie Mistake #6: Be Prepared: Bond Market Students Struggle With Basic Bond Market Concepts. Emphasize: --Ratings, S&P etc --Muni bonds finance schools, roads --Yield moves inverse to Price --Inflation is a bond killer --For Floating Rate Discussion, Discuss Credit Card Interest Rate Formulas --Size of Bond Vs Stock Markets
  23. 23. SUCCESSFUL ASSIGNMENTS PROPOSE YOUR OWN ECONOMIC INDICATOR, COMPARE TO EXISTING DATA, DEFEND IT --PROMOTES CRITICAL THINKING --SLEEPING PILL INDICATOR --BAR FIGHTS INDEX --ABANDONED PUPPY INDICATOR
  24. 24. SUCCESSFUL ASSIGNMENTS FIELD REPORTING: Blend the Economic Data and Corporate Reporting 1)  Review consumer confidence: Univ. of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey 2)   Pick a publicly traded retailer, like Target, review its SEC filings. 3)  Go to store, interview customers. Any parallels to the Univ. of Michigan Survey? Differences?. Write a story that compares the Univ. of Michigan survey to your company and what customers are saying on the ground.
  25. 25. QUESTIONS? ROB WELLS robwells@umd.edu

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