Business and Finance Journalism
The business and finance option takes the principles of general news reporting covered in the reporting syllabus and applies them to the full range of business and finance reporting.
Trainees should be aware that business and finance reporters need excellent contacts to break exclusive stories, be able to write attention-grabbing features, analytical features and interview major business and finance figures. Live, breaking news is an important element of reporting in this sector with a need to file copy in a series of “takes” for various platforms as the story unfolds. At press conferences, it is important to be able to challenge any business and finance changes to explore how this will affect, staff, unions and the public.
The programme of study reflects the converged newsrooms found in much of the UK and the need for journalists to write and create reports for more than one platform during the course of a working day. An understanding of the full range of online devices is needed, including those detailing how stories are presented online, plus knowledge of tagging and search engine optimisation. Candidates should understand how to deal with user generated content.
It ensures candidates can produce the different types of story for all platforms required from each part of the business and finance news discipline: i.e. from the annual results of major plcs to the differences between administration and bankruptcy for small businesses; from analysing new jobs created by major investments to clearly explaining the implications of interest rate changes and a chancellor’s budget for the general public; and from the background to the recent international banking and financial crisis to the ways in which major currency changes in Europe can affect average members of the UK population.
It equips candidates with sufficient understanding of both domestic and international politics and economics to be able to report on a wide range of issues relating to business and finance, and to do so with the ability to humanise complex subjects, making them accessible to a general audience.
It also covers the other main situations in which business and finance writers operate, including the analysis of financial reports, developing and operating a wide range of informative contacts for stories away from the traditional PR cycle. Business and finance features are also covered.
Business and Finance Journalism focuses on all the macro areas of the discipline, such as the history, background and current state of the global banking and financial crisis. But it also introduces candidates to the coverage of the subject at a very micro level, for example the emerging LocalEnterprise Partnerships to drive regeneration in regional areas. A thorough knowledge of business and finance organisations is also tested.
As with all reporting, trainees should create stories that are 100 per cent accurate, legally and ethically sound, do not breach any codes of conduct/practice/compliance, are grammatically correct, meet style guidelines, and are free of ambiguity and inconsistencies.
Students must pass a two-part Business and Finance Journalism examination: part 1 is a live business/finance report based on a scenario emerging over 1 ½ hours; and part 2 is a one hour written exam.