Will you see this blog in the press?

Has there been a shift in who we view as being ‘experts’?

I use the word ‘we’ in two different contexts. Firstly in an industry context. A blog I wrote for Adviser Lounge ended up in Financial Adviser here. Now, I don’t really mind this, even though neither myself nor Adviser Lounge were asked first (which would have been polite). But it did make me wonder, with so many of us blogging, who is the expert and who is the journalist these days? Who has the authority to write with knowledge and insight on industry issues?

I suppose it comes down to what people want to read. Market forces will apply themselves. Perhaps in the future people will continue to read trade press for product launches, news on executives moving jobs, and ‘industry figures’ offering their latest opinion (i.e. news), but read sites like Adviser Lounge for debate, opinion and knowledge sharing.

The second use of the word ‘we’ is the general public. A piece in the Daily Mail recently seemed remarkably similar to a blog I wrote for Adviser Lounge. Compare and contrast my pensions blog with the Daily Mail piece and make your own mind up where they got their ideas from.

It seems to me that this rather begs the question, what actually is the press these days? Can you only be part of the press if you are paid as a journalist? Compare the blogs on Adviser Lounge (including my own) with articles in Financial Adviser. Writing pithy articles is not easy, a skilled journalist can really sum up a situation in a few well crafted words.

And yet that is not enough these days. I want insightful, thought provoking articles. Ideas, debate, discussion. The immediacy of blogs is one factor, but the bottom line is that when I choose what I want to read online, I am happy to make a trade off between the ability to write well and an interesting idea.

So keep the articles and comments coming, you lot. And if you are a journalist and someone writes something you think would appeal to your readership, engage with the author. The combination of your writing skills and their knowledge should be a winning combination!



12 thoughts on “Will you see this blog in the press?

  • Good article. Again.

    In my head, the ‘Press’ – traditional Press, if you like, is about looking ahead, seeing what is coming, and then commenting. But more importantly, being the conscience, investigating, probing and exposing.

    This is where they have failed. Too dependent on Adverts to offend the ‘Noise’, and too afraid to hold up a mirror and call the emperor on his New Clothes. The phrase ‘It’s different this time’ should have the press all over the firm in question.

    I wonder how many scams would have lived if the financial press had taken on this role?

    Elsewhere I note Journalist questioning commission. fair enough. But what about Financial Press being dependent on the drug of Advertising revenue? is that so very different?

  • Must admit to being amazed to see such a similarly themed article, Chris….

    There are two parts really; financial journalists supplying us and
    financial journalists supplying the public.

    The first lot are fine on the whole as we are ‘educated’ readers and can accept a certain level of understanding.

    I like the winkling that financial journalism does, although not the tittle tattle.

    The bit I worry about is the second lot – the type who tell the public through their column or website about special ISA deals or what to do about IHT (without it being advice!!) – they genuinely terrify me.

  • Phil makes some good points, but should note the following. Journalism has always been used commercially: all publications are commercial ventures and could not survive without my the ‘drug of advertising’ or a similar revenue stream.
    However, advertising should have no bearing on editorial integrity, just as commissions should not influence professional judgement.
    Where it does, something has gone wrong in advice or journalism. But just because it has happened, it doesn’t mean it happens everywhere. Sound familiar?
    So, apart from making a case for not being tarred, etc, ad nausea, I would say this.
    It isn’t the press you have to worry about when you read “it won’t happen again”. The press reports what is said by the industry. If there are none able or willing to put their heads above the parapet, then shame on them, but in the current economic climate it may be hard to make waves (I’m guessing here as it never bothered me).
    No, the one to watch for is the one who endorsed such behaviour before and though in a different guise, holds sway over the whole market: the regulator.
    So, if we read such equine manure as “can’t/won’t happen again” I would be asking what the regulator thinks of that. And if they don’t like it, just what are they going to do about it.

  • Assuming my response gets through, my apologies for “ad nausea” which my phone kept changing despite being changed several times.

  • Great post, Chris!

    To my mind, what the traditional press is lacking these days is the authentic and boldness that you find on places like AdviserLounge.

    I am not sure the fact that the discussions here find their way into the ‘main press’ is necessarily a bad thing. I actually think it is very good, only wish they sought permission to publish or give credits, in the same way they would expect.

    Keep posting folks.

  • All exceedingly interesting. I agree there has been a shift in terms of sources of valued comment – from paper to online and from conventional title ot blog or just or more specialist title. Some highly orgainsed types use social media so wel that they refine their sources to preclude the less expert. Brett Hoberman commented a while ago that if you pick who you follow Twitter can be a better source of excellent comment than any other media.
    The posts and comments on this blog do seem a cut above – largely from what I’ve seen, relatively experienced people catching a few moments to either download some experience or just reflect sensibly. By contrast in the conventional media world a lot of the content is created by less experienced people having to produce a lot in a very short space of time. The latter group are also susceptible to commercial influence – but as for their failure to blow whistles I think thats as much down to lack of time to do the work required to find the right target, do the homework etc as it is to do with power excercised by the bigger advertisers. The trade for example would be stronger if it were at least partly subscription based. Would the readers pay though. Well, no.
    But then, do the more obvioulsy independent vehicles, the blogs etc – expose material wrongs? I may be wrong, but I havent seen much of this. Yet vehicles such as this have to have the best chance at the moment of being the source of real insight.
    If you have some experience in the sector you operate in then its personal connections – your own private network that are the best source of expertise. But even then, such sources can be predictable – I would know what x thinks before I ask, no disrespct to x. Hence the case for a less private network – just like this!

  • Further background on this for those interested…

    Here’s an ‘article’ from the FTA this morning ‘by’ Iona Bain – http://www.ftadviser.com/2013/06/27/ifa-industry/companies-and-people/advice-firm-considers-two-brands-to-cover-client-base-sD4puOVIKWBBEKZlhi7trO/article.html

    And here’s a thread from the LifeTalk forum featuring Bob Jones and Al Rush – http://www.ifalife.com/forum/replies.asp?ForumID=3&TopicID=8051

    Anyone spot any similarities?

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  • I’m a journalist who mainly writes about property and while I don’t think I know more about the property market than the estate agents I quote, I do think I know more about what is a good story – how to look at the property market from the point of view of the reader and how best to communicate what is happening in a readable way to an audience that is most likely not in the industry. I work on a newspaper where we check every fact in a piece three or four times and I would never get away with rehashing a piece. In the same way that I’m sure there are good IFAs and bad, I hope not all people will judge the quality of journalists using the Daily Mail as a yard stick!

  • Chris linked this article to something I’d written this morning http://wp.me/ppXQz-36v

    I’m asking when bloggers are going to get recognition for being part of the journalistic process, Chris is suggesting (through plagiarism) that they are being abused by journos.

    It amounts to the same thing, the journalistic closed shop that exists to feed the PR and awards industry is under threat from genuinely independent bloggers who often have different agendas.

    The NAPF, ABI, FCA et al would do well to start thinking of blogging as part of the process and harness its force for good (instead of ignoring it supressing it or just abusing it)


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