Year of Award
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
College of Business & Professional Studies
Dow Jones, newspapers, media, Wall Street, advertising, reporting
In 1690, Benjamin Harris published, in Boston, what is considered to be the first American newspaper, entitled, Publick Occurrences, Both Forreign and Domestick. Although Harris did write in his publication on the business affairs of his day, most experts consider Benjamin Franklin as the first, true business journalist, although his writings did not appear until several years later. As the American way of life and business continued to prosper into the 18th and 19th centuries, so did the business/financial journalism industry. In 1889, in New York City, the first issue of The Wall Street Journal was produced, and this newspaper would later become the most revered financial publication in the world.
By the turn of the 20th century, the American industrial revolution had peaked, and likewise did the number of publications devoted to business and finance. Indeed, titles of these publications numbered into the thousands, and it seemed as though there was no end to the readership or market share available to publishers of that day. During the early 20th century, newspaper subscriptions alone averaged more than 1.3 per household, while that number today has declined to .70.
The decline in newspaper and periodical readers, while certainly of fundamental importance, is only the first of many challenges presented the financial publisher today. Today's financial information consumer may choose between a vast selection of media that offer data which is now targeted by age, income, occupation, region, and so on. Today's financial publishers must contend with the likes of 24-hour cable news, interactive telephone services, fax services, electronic news retrieval, and a growing number of localized and/ or regionalized financial publications. Publications of all types are now faced with shrinking advertising revenues which will be divided among an intense group of competitors.
The successful publisher today, rather than directly competing with these alternate data sources, must find ways to vertically integrate existing activities into these new business segments and technologies, thus increasing the overall scope of competition.
With the pressure of declining readership, specialized demands, declining advertising revenues, changing technologies, and more focused competition, publishers who survive the turn of the new century will certainly be formidable organizations. My paper will attempt to assess the current state of the financial journalism industry, both in a past and present perspective, while attempting to identify those issues and challenges which must be overcome to ensure a continued, long-term existence.
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Howell, David A., "Financial Journalism: Industry Prospects into the 21st Century" (1993). Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects. 285.
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