• Thursday, May 30, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Business journalism remains a ‘great school for life’

The importance of business journalism in various economies has been emphasised by veteran Mexican journalist, Francisco Vidal Bonifaz who says in a report that there is room for new business media on the web, especially at two ends of the spectrum: in breaking news that covers the ups and downs of markets, and in longer pieces that explain the significance of these movements. “There is a story behind every number,” Bonifaz says.

According to the report published in IJNet, Bonifaz tells James Breiner, a consultant in online journalism and leadership, that there are a lot of possibilities for growth in business journalism.

Bonifaz, a professor at the Universidad Panamericana and a communications consultant, advises in the report that journalists and students who are afraid of numbers and the language of business should try to get over their fears.

“It is not hard to manage the technical part today because there are so many resources available to educate yourself: online dictionaries of finance and business, websites, blogs, not to mention university courses. It used to be harder to learn the craft; many business journalists had to learn on the job.

“If you don’t work with numbers, you are missing out on half of the world,” he says. “In this world, we use two types of language: the language of words and the language of numbers. Business journalism is one of the few types of journalism that attempts to link the two types of language created by humans.”

Media in Mexico for many years, as he told James in the report, were less than transparent about their financials. That was one of the reasons he wrote his book, which was published in 2008. Gathering the information took him 10 years. He used little-known government reports to piece together a database, and then a number of companies went public and were required to report their financials.

Many journalists, ironically, are completely ignorant about the business side of the companies they work for, which was one of the reasons he started his blog – to inform them.

These days, the print media in Mexico, especially daily newspapers, are in decline. In 2008, the total circulation of all the dailies in Mexico was 2 million in a country of more than 100 million people – in other words, less than 2 percent of the population.

Bonifaz further says in the report that “Business journalism is a wonderful career. It has allowed me to live for many years in a very comfortable and respectable way. It is a type of journalism that in general pays salaries that are more reasonable than other media.”

To get into this career, above all you have to study hard and have a passion for news about the economy, finance and business, he says, saying you can never stop studying and learning “because the economy is a living, changing topic.”

Business journalism offers many possibilities for specialised coverage, such as in sports and entertainment, he says, and “the only journalism that is really investigative journalism is of the economy and finance.”

Business journalism can help you in many ways, he maintains, noting “it is a great school for life. It can help you better protect your income. It can help you better protect your savings. It can help protect you from economic disasters.”

Daniel Obi