Tips to succeed as a business journalist


Business is one of the most important beats for any media person, because every political or social change in the society has impact on businesses which ultimately affects the economy. A business journalist should be able to comprehend facts and figures, while communicating the same in a language that a layman can understand. Things that business journalist should watch out for:

Get on to numbers

Make sure the data or numbers related to the story are presented in a way that is easily comprehensible by a common man. Most of the times information or data that the company releases is cumbersome and difficult for a reader to interpret*. So it becomes the task of a reporter to get on to those figures, break it down in a language that is easily understood. For instance in a personal finance story, not many readers could understand the returns of a financial product written in company’s brochure. A journalist can analyse those projected returns from such a product, and give the positives and negative, which can further help the reader to take an informed decision.

Back up your story

Economic or business stories have to be substantiated with statistics because it helps to establish the story and intent. You have to research for numbers, facts and include the same to ensure the authenticity of the article. If it’s an opinion piece then you can explain your views better if it’s supported up with numbers and figures. For that you can dig into company’s report, government websites such as RBI, insurance companies’ data and more depending on focus of the story.

Build on sources

It’s very important to build relationship with government officials or employees in business organisations, who can become your source of information. You have to gain trust and loyalty of that individual, but it can happen over a period of time. You need to ensure the secrecy of the source, and give him the assurance of not disclosing the identity. Such a source can become your key to breaking stories.

Double check figures

There is a separate branch of business journalism called data journalism, where journalists interpret numbers and data to build stories. But it is crucial for journalist to ensure the authenticity of the data used in the copy. If your copy is number heavy, then make sure to cross check all the data used in the copy so that you don’t miss out on any crucial information or end up including wrong figures. Such a mistake will reflect badly upon the company you are writing for.

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