10 December 2010

Time for Real Business News

In today's world, we rightfully praise brave reporters who work inside of repressive countries, struggling to report and analyze facts. But right here in the US, we have closed societies that get even less objective reporting than what comes from these countries: the corporations that define so much of our societal norms, incomes, and menu of products and services are largely exempt from real reporting.

Imagine even something as simple as the approval ratings of CEOs and senior management by a companies' employees, something akin to the approval ratings of presidents or Congress. "Do you approve of the strategic direction of your senior management team?" Or, "Do you think that the CEO is adding value to the company?" would be incredibly revealing questions that could be asked of employees at, say, Fortune 500 firms. Investors, prospective employees, strategic partners, customers and - of course - current employees would greatly benefit from such an insight. As it is now, though, the thing that passes for business news is simply movements in stock price and new product announcements. And when reporters talk to anyone about the company, it is inevitably a CEO or other Chief of some kind. This is akin to taking the word of only the president in a country when trying to understand it.

Modern corporations define far too much of the modern world to be exempt from reporting standards similar to what we subject democratic countries and their leaders. (And as the Wikileaks brouhaha has revealed, even supposedly open Western nations react badly to the equivalent of diplomatic gossip being leaked.) It's time for this to change. The question is, what network is brave enough to pioneer a new standard for business reporting? And speaking of business, it seems to me that such reporting would make for good business.

No comments: