Awanish Mishra of Money Mantra wrote this editorial …..and it was in Jan/Feb 2010. Since many of you may not have seen it, I am reproducing it: A complete cut paste.
Please do not ask for names of the players involved. If A.M wanted to he would have published it :). I was surprised but happy to see such an article. I do mutual fund / life insurance columns for Money Mantra.
The Business of News and the Business Journalist
We were interviewing candidates for the post of business journalists. It was the turn of a correspondent from a reputed business news channel. The candiate, clad in a Mark and Spencer suit, entered with three expensive cell phones in his hand. He was sharp and expressive. He impressed us all. We decided to hire him and called for the second round interview. It was salary negotiation round. By the time, we had gathered all the information about his salary and perks. We were surprised to know that his take home salary was just 16k per month, insufficient to support his lavish lifestyle. Naturally, this became the opening question for the interview. He explained it without any hitch. He used to sell news before it was telecast on channel. The subscribers were brokerage houses. He himself used to take positions on bourses before running the ticker. He defended it by saying that sharing of informatiom with his news sources was not a crime. But this was bringing him physical assets. In the course of defending himself, the correspondent named one of his seniors, a known business news anchor, who, he claimed, used to delay news transmission while anchoring in order to take postion in the scrip. I dont know whether the journalist is doing right or wrong. But this is happening openly.
Business news channels telecast stock review programmes, where a particular stock is picked up and data-based arguments are corroborated to support its potentials. The journos attached to the equity research department of a business news channel make a heyday by selling this information in advance. To confirm the same, I myself contacted them through an agent and the journos agreed to share information for a price tag of Rs 1.25 lakh per month for one such information a day with pre defined target and stop loss. It is known to the public that the correspondent who broke Ranbaxy sell-out story landed in SEBI net due to his questionable position in the scrip. Of late, a few journalists from a reputed pink paper have been punished by SEBI. I remember an incident where a huge sum was paid to the editor of a pink paper in order to get a particular word dropped from the banner headline. I have tried to facilitate a peep into the world of business journalism. You must create an uproar whenever you come to know and get affected by such news. Isn’t it an offence to mislead poor (news) consumers with tampered information that harm them financially? Making money by selling news may be pardonable but tampering news reports to serve one’s own interest and harm millions of viewers financially should be made a punishable offence. In the garb of breaking stories, some channels telecast wrong data and misguide analysis to turn the market sentiment in pre-decided direction. SEBI must take note of it. After all, being spectator to a crime is a crime itself. We have brought a new year gift for you. We want to make you Crorepati. Oh yes, it’s true. You just have to save Rs. 5000/- a month for 20 years and it will help you join the Crorepati club. Are you ready? Please go through our cover story carefully. The portfolios provided in the story are by financial mavericks. They carry low to moderate risk. In case of any confusion, feel free to contact us.
Money Mantra is your personal financial advisor. Don’t hesitate to ask us for any information or analysis. We are always with you. With best wishes for the year 2010
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