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POLIS Financial Journalism Research Project– An introduction

Led by Dr Damian Tambini, 
Media and Communications Department
London School of Economics and Political Science

ImageFinancial journalism is undergoing fundamental shifts at present due to market, regulatory and technological changes. Technological development leads to the emergence and increasing importance of blogs, news feeds and other alternative sources for financial information, comment and reporting, and a corresponding decoupling of previously bundled data, information, news, analysis and comment.

To read the report, please click here.

Intensifying globalisation means news distributed on a global scale is increasingly likely to be relevant beyond national borders. Regulatory changes (the enforcement of the Sarbanes Oxley Act and the Federal Securities Laws in the US and the Market Abuse Directive in the EU), imply new responsibilities for financial journalism as a profession, and a new role for self and co regulation. Against this background, we believe research is needed to permit a substantial review of the structures and codes underlying ethical and responsible financial reporting.

POLIS/LSE’s Financial Journalism research project has been set up to look at the ethical and professional issues raised in the new environment. The project will conduct a detailed study of the changing practices of financial journalism, and the changing habits of financial information users (different types of investors). Based on fieldwork research, we plan to compare London, New York and Hong Kong as major financial markets. The project, which has the support of LSE director and POLIS board member Howard Davies, aims to research the following issues:

  • What are the patterns of current information use by investors? How are they changing with regard to blogs, global media and new information sources?
  • What are the emerging business models for financial news and what are their implications?
  • What laws and codes apply to financial and business journalism?
  • How do journalists in the various media sectors – including online - understand their own legal and ethical responsibilities, and how does this vary by country?
  • How do these laws and codes impact on journalistic practice, and how does this vary by sector?

The project has attracted the interest of key editors and journalists of major companies, such as FT, the BBC and Reuters. A private seminar was held in December 2007 at the London Stock Excchange, where senior representatives of media groups and other stakeholders discussed the challenges facing financial journalism today. At present, we focus on the UK media and London market.