Tuesday, 4 November 2008

How not to do it

A story in today’s FT provides an interesting comparison with yesterday’s article quoted here from the New York Times. The subject matter is surprisingly similar – a municipality finding itself uncomfortably exposed to complex financial instruments.

However, the style and substance of the article is very different. Rather than taking the approach of educating readers, bringing forward fully-fleshed personalities making real-life decisions, the FT reporter has opted for the more traditional reportage style where details are left to one side, instead focusing on controversy and relying on hyperbolic jargon to get the story across.

So the article writes that a “Leftwing” council representing a poor suburb has “speculated” in “toxic loans”. Political opponents “branded his Communist predecessors stupid” with banks “seeking to exploit local councils”.

Admittedly the story is a short one so there was limited space to write in details. However, the reader of the FT article is left with nothing more than a sense that something went wrong, something to do with complex financial instruments, and what was a Communist council doing investing in these things anyway? To an informed reader, this is nothing different to what one reads in a tabloid.

2 comments:

matt h2o said...

Story is here

http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto110320082033230016&page=1

Tom said...

thanks Matt!