May 23, 2011
Times Business Titans And Their Sources
Posted by David Zaring

Gretchen Morgenson, of the Times Business section, has won a Pulitzer, and Joe Nocera, who just moved from said business section to Op-Ed hasn't.  I know many people who adore the former's "I hate Wall Street" thing, and there are some who think the latter is really quite plugged in to finance.  Without wanting to be too cynical about it, I think that's why you should read Nocera and treat Morgenson the way that David Lat and Larry Ribstein do.  I assume that both Nocera and Morgenson get a lot of their stories by talking to shorts, who, in turn, are always talking their book.  But Morgenson never seems to understand this - she's just mad, so mad, that there's all these people out there making Wall Street money, when the poor little guy is doing badly.  But the high dudgeon never looks very keen-eyed, and so almost all of her scandals seem sourced by people betting against a big guy, Sunday's book excerpt - basically being a paean to shorts - is a quintessential example.  Nocera's stuff, on the Linked In IPO for example, or on why we should drill for natural gas, might be a favor to sources or might not be.  But at least it's a little unpredictable, and it looks like he works the phones.  I prefer unpredictability and phones.  What is the point of reading a reporter when you always know where she will end up?  My suspicion is it would only matter if the event studies show that the shorts who source Morgenson make out well when she reports.

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