During the News Corp-Dow Jones takeover period, the Journal published an article on its parent company’s history that was both entertaining and contained a bit that was relevant to reporting on China today. Here’s the passage:
In those days, a financial journalist was a combination private detective, stenographer and gossip columnist.”Gathering news was a bare-knuckle business,” wrote Oliver Gingold, who joined Dow Jones in 1900 and stayed for six decades. “Many companies refused to issue annual reports even to their own stockholders.” Reporters spent long hours “waiting outside directors’ rooms or corporate offices for a chance at buttonholing an ‘insider.'” Messengers shadowing the reporters ran the news back to the office where scribes made carbon copies — as many as 24 at a time — that were hand delivered to subscribers.
Remember NYT business journalist David Barboza’s detention in a toy factory (his story on that was headlined ‘My Time as a Hostage, And I’m a Business Reporter’)? And he’s a foreign correspondent with relative freedom to report. Local journalists who want to dig deep must surely be even more ‘bare-knuckle’ in their approach.