Tuesday, February 05, 2013

A Good Question

I think Tom Bowden raises a good point in this blog post where he examines the (non-)reporting of a disallowed corporate merger.

But here’s what interested me most about the articles. Normally, I would expect reporters to ask how a newsworthy event affects their readership’s values. I expect reporters to ask the questions their readership would want answers to. So, for example, if the big story is a ruptured oil pipeline, I would expect news reports to discuss the expected impact on prices at the pump, or the possibility of supply shortages—problems that would have practical impact on their readers.
Here we have, in effect, a ruptured merger. Is it too much to ask that reporters dig into the facts about what, if anything, was lost when the deal died? Most readers of prominent news outlets have some kind of practical stake in shipping, either as businessmen who need parts and products delivered, or as private individuals who send and receive packages. On behalf of such readers, I would expect reporters to care about whether the merged companies could have provided lower prices, faster deliveries, a wider service area, new ideas in logistics—or, if not, what else explains the efforts behind the aborted acquisition.

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