AC Alert for August 28, 2012 "Balanced News" & Separate Commentaries: Becoming a Thing of the Past As News & Opinion Blend? AC Alert for August 28, 2012 "Balanced News" & Separate Commentaries: Becoming a Thing of the Past As News & Opinion Blend?

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AC Alert for August 28, 2012 "Balanced News" & Separate Commentaries: Becoming a Thing of the Past #ESG #SRI #CSR
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 5:05pm

CONTENT: Newsletter

Though there are a few notable exceptions, most of the nation's major, respected daily newspapers have traditionally gone to great lengths to keep their editorial leanings on the Editorial and Opinion pages. Liberal, conservative, middle-of-the-road -- the editors' and/or publishers' beliefs and leanings can come through in the editorial and commentary pages -- they should not be obvious in the "news" pages. 

It's a long-established tradition in the Fourth Estate:  "factual News" or fact-based articles are to be presented as such -- and opinions are to be left to be articulated through the paper's editorials, and via guest and staff commentaries.  Having said that, it is also true that print publications might (sometimes obviously) favor a collection of commentaries that support their editors' positions on the major issues of the day. 

The editor might make a conscious effort to present an "opposing" opinion, but in some newspapers the commentaries selected may also support and reinforce positions staked out in previous editorials and op-eds.  We will be seeing in this at times in the current electoral cycle. But are we talking about the way things "used to be"?

The Chinese Wall
What we're witnessing is the traditional "Chinese wall" within the editorial offices at risk of breaking down -- at times, rapidly.  (We note that not everyone will mourn the loss of this separation; younger people have been deserting print in droves and are becoming accustomed to the blending of news and commentary or just lots of commentary in the information flow they consume.)   

Signs of Change
The venerable print weekly news magazine NEWSWEEK is now combined with the on-line publication The Daily Beast, and under the able editor Tina Brown is becoming more of an on-line commentary medium. Even the "Old Gray Lady" -- The New York Times --has published some news stories that we might classify as "commentary" and opinion alongside news-of-the-day articles. Both publications do appear to be working at providing balance in their choice of commentaries.

The rising public appetite for more commentary and the blending of news and commentary is putting pressure on traditional-minded print publishers and editors.  The phenomenal growth of web-based publishing has been skewing audiences' preferences toward more commentary -- especially that which agrees with the readers' preferences or opinions and positions on issues.  This no doubt is getting to be very challenging for the print editor these days.

The challenge of traditional print media managers is to develop a higher volume of audiences (and revenues!) in digital space -- to preserve the best of their print versions -- and to compete with literally hundreds of new on-line media channels like The Huffington Post.  Result:  We may see a steady breakdown of the traditional Chinese Wall between news, and editorial and commentary.

Here are some recent commentaries that we have featured in our Investor Relations section:

Down With Shareholder Value The noted financial writer and now op-ed feature columnist at the New York Times, Joe Nocera explores some recent movements which question the real value of shareholders and whether they are the only constituency that matters.

Wall Street Cares If Companies Are Sustainable In a commentary published by  the Environmental Leader, Steven Wolk, Principal of Strategic Investment Consulting, suggests that senior corporate management needs to be told that sustainable business practices will be felt in a company’s stock price long before all other benefits have fully made their impact.

The Failure of U.S. Capitalism Is the Shareholders' Fault? From Forbes, the well-known commentator Paul Hodgson questions those who blame the failure of capitalism in today's economy on the shareholder movement.

Is the Modern Corporation Going Extinct? Motley Fool commentator Dan Newsman, citing comments by Valve's economist, Yanis Varoufakis, explores whether capitalist corporations are on the way to certain extinction.

Here at Accountability Central we work to present you with a variety of news and commentaries.  We work to present a variety of views on an issue, as long as it is presented in an intelligent manner. We provide you with the views of our own featured commentators and   select commentary from a variety of media outlets to keep you up-to-date on the broad spectrum of public opinion on critical issues related to sustainability, accountability, corporate governance, ESG factors, sustainability & responsible investing, and more.  We also present the news and views of organizations and institutions as they disseminate their news & views.  We hope that this is helpful and that you find AC useful in your issue tracking.

This is just a sampling of the information in our Alert. Go here for the full text of this alert, and more information on Sustainability, and other Accountability related topics.