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JRN655 Economic and Business Reporting

Fundamentals in Business Reporting


The starting point in writing a business story is similar to the first step in reporting other
stories – understanding the subject you are writing about.

Like other reporters, business reporters too are always required to conduct basic
research on the subject matter.

First, seek to understand, then be understood. - Steven R. Covey

Reporters who understand the subject can explain what the jargon means. They would
be able to ask the right questions, to recognize newsworthy answers and to write a
story in a way that readers without specialised knowledge will understand. - Donica
Mensing PhD, University of Nevada

Types of business news

1. Hard news
2. Follow-up news
3. Backgrounder
4. Profiles (people or companies)
5. Trend and analysis

Business news perspectives /angles

1. Marketing perspective
Marketing - the action or business of promoting and selling products or services,
including market research and advertising.

2. Management perspective
Management - the organization and coordination of the activities of a business in order
to achieve defined objectives.

3. Financial perspective
Financial - a broad term used to describe many aspects of finance or the financial
industry, such as financial instruments, financial services, financial institutions,
financial advisors, or financial planning.

4. Competitive strategy perspective

Competitive strategy - Long-term action plan that is devised to help a company gain a
competitive advantage over its rival. This type of strategy is often used in advertising
campaigns by somehow discrediting the competition's product or service. Competitive
strategies are essential to companies competing in markets that are heavily saturated
with alternatives for consumers.
JRN655 Economic and Business Reporting

Marketing Perspective

One of the most basic approaches which looks at a company from the following

A. Segmentation:
- focuses on how a company segments its markets
- some companies segment theirs geographically (according to regions, countries or
- some companies divide their markets demographically (specific age groups, family
size, education levels and social class)
- some companies segment markets psychographically, meaning they might focus on
audiences with certain lifestyles or personality characteristics.

B. Positioning:
- focuses on how a company positions itself or its products in the market
- essentially companies want to be seen or stand out from their competitors

C. Marketing mix strategies:

- how companies use the various marketing mix tools (4Ps – product, promotion,
pricing and place (distribution)

JRN655 Economic and Business Reporting

Management Perspective

Another basic approach that examines companies from the following aspects:

A. Overall impression of management and its style

- whether companies are laid-back, have heavy financial orientation or are they market
- what is their corporate culture like

B. Traditional management issues

- how companies manage basics in management – such as planning, organizing and

C. “New’ approaches
- this approach looks at, among others, how companies take advantage of new
technologies, new concepts and how they adjust to new rulings

JRN655 Economic and Business Reporting

Financial Perspective

Another basic approach that examines companies from the following aspects:

A. Current Financial picture

- reporters examine the company’s balance sheet, income statement and statement
of cash-flow
- reporters look at the company’s performance over a few years
- reporters also compare the company’s performance with that of others in the same

B. Capital Sources
- how companies raise capital for start-ups, for expansion, or for other uses

JRN655 Economic and Business Reporting

Competitive Strategy Perspective

One of the most interesting approach. A reporter can look at how a company positions
itself to deal with its competitive environment by examining how it performs these
following functions:

a) Target markets
b) Marketing
c) Sales
d) Product Line
e) Finance and control
f) Research and Development

Reporters also look at some of the challenges the company faces:

a) industry competitors
b) potential entrants into the market
c) suppliers’ bargaining power
d) buyers’ bargaining power


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JRN655 Economic and Business Reporting

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