May 18, 2015 was my first day on the job as a reporter for MarketWatch in Washington, DC, the sister online publication to the Wall Street Journal and Barrons that focuses on retail investors.
Yes, I have taken a full-time journalism job and I have moved.
I found out about the job via Twitter. (Twitter has been berry berry good to me!) Steve Goldstein, the DC Bureau Chief of MarketWatch, and I have been following each other there for a while and have had some back and forth on the issues. He knows my work. I saw his tweet for the job— it was a perfect fit—and asked him if I could apply. He was as excited as I was about the possibilities and within a few weeks I was signed up and ready to go.
Here’s the job description as it was written:
MarketWatch is seeking a ‘transparency’ reporter to uncover the hurdles being placed on the individual investor and what, if anything, is being done to resolve them. The ideal candidate, based in Washington, will not just be on top of the latest developments at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and more from the regulatory alphabet soup but will be able to explain clearly and concisely how those issues impact the investor. Topics for examination will include the fracturing stock market, high frequency trading, insider trading and corporate accounting.
I’ve already written several stories, long and short, and I also capture breaking news on my beat and write up a few sentences to summarize and get it on the scrolling headline thingy across the top.
I am very excited and so is Rosie my Rottweiler. She and I are getting used to our new digs, hanging our art and trying out all the restaurants that allow big black dogs on their patios. (They are very dog-friendly where I live now!)
I love to write and I am grateful for all of those, especially the editors, who helped me become a better writer along the way.
- Neil Weinberg of Bloomberg who brought me in to write at Forbes and then American Banker
- Janet Novack, my editor at Forbes online and on the three magazine articles I wrote for them, my first two which were selected as a Loeb Award finalist in 2013
- Marc Hochstein, now Editor in Chief of American Banker and editor of my weekly columns there, some of which were included in Congressional testimony and mentioned on the floor of the House by Congressmembers.
- Emily Lambert, my colleague at Forbes and now Associate Director of the Office of Intellectual Capital at University of Chicago Booth School of Business which publishes Capital Ideas magazine where I wrote many stories about accounting faculty research.
- Evan Hansen formerly Editor in Chief of Wired and now at Medium.com where he recruited me at the kickoff of that online site and then again to write for its Bull Market collection.
- David Johnson who asked me to write for Boston Review and then for Al Jazeera when he moved over to be online editor there.
And finally Andrew Baker of Clovis Inc, my friend of twenty-five years, my first editor and still my best editor.
It was time to join a team, join a newsroom, accept deadlines other than my own and expand my gaze beyond the accounting/audit industry.
I will still put longer, focused, more technical articles here about accounting and audit, especially the litigation. But I’m expected to devote my time and energy to my new employer so please indulge me and read what I write there about other subjects, too. I don’t plan to stray too far from the subject of accountability, even if it’s not just the Big Four I will be holding accountable now.
I am also still interested in speaking at universities and conferences.
It occurs to me that I’ve signed up, at an advanced age, for a profession many others have abandoned. (I even joined the newspaper guild!) In fact, when I look back at the journalists who won the Loeb Award for Blogging or Commentary since the inaugural year for the online category in 2010 when I was a finalist, I see that many of them have left traditional journalism or, at least, traditional outlets. David Pogue, formerly of the New York Times was the winner in 201o and he is now at Yahoo. Kara Swisher of All Things D in the Wall Street Journal won in 2011 and is now at her own start-up called Re/code funded by NBCUniversal News Group and Windsor Media (an investment firm helmed by former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel).
In 2012 Felix Salmon’s blog at Reuters won, but he’s now part of a start-up called Fusion funded by Disney. In 2013, the year my magazine articles for Forbes were a finalist in that category, John Gapper of the Financial Times won the Commentary category, as the need for a separate “blogging” category diminished when the format was accepted more readily by print publications for online and print versions. Gapper is still slugging it away at the FT. Peter Goodman of the Huffington Post won in 2014, recognition that Arianna Huffington’s outlet, owned by AOL which is now owned by wireless company Verizon is a force to be reckoned with. (The Huffington Post also won a Pulitzer in 2012.)
Updates already because I missed this news last week:
Media headlines have been devoted over last week to the relatively smaller potatoes of tech journalism start-up Re/Code being acquired by another new media company Vox Media, which in turn might, if rumours are correct, be swallowed by the decidedly larger potato, Comcast.
The 2015 Loeb finalists—the winner will be announced June 23—are from traditional outlets, albeit now owned in some cases by non-traditional owners.
- Shirley Leung for “Shirley Leung Columns” – The Boston Globe (The New York Times sold the Globe to John W. Henry, principal owner of the Boston Red Sox.)
- Michael Hiltzik for “Michael Hiltzik, Business Columnist” – Los Angeles Times (The Los Angeles Times is owned by Tribune Media which went through a bankruptcy as Tribune Company. It is now mostly owned by its creditors, Oaktree Capital Management (which owns a 23% interest), Angelo, Gordon & Co. and JPMorgan Chase (which both own 9%)).
- Jesse Eisinger for “Wall Street Accountability” – ProPublica (ProPublica is a not-for-profit but Jesse also write for the New York Times DealBook site.)
- Matt O’Brien for “Global Inequality” – The Washington Post (Owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.)
Who knows where these finalists will be next year, maybe working for Walmart or Berkshire Hathaway or Facebook. (Oh wait, we all work for Facebook!) Stranger things have happened.
I hope you agree, then, it isn’t so odd for me to go to work for Rupert Murdoch. At least he’s a newspaperman, even if he is an Aussie.