In Case You Missed It

Nieman Lab JOSEPH LICHTERMAN

Vox.com hires Andrew Golis as its first general manager

"'He is going to be tasked with thinking about what are the big swings that we want to take in the next few years,' Vox Media publisher Melissa Bell told me."

Digiday Lucia Moses

Verizon faces an uphill battle with its ambitious content plans

"It’s hard to combine two radically different DNAs, build a publishing arm from scratch and change consumer habits."

Digiday Lucinda Southern

French publishers take tough stand against ad-blocking

"After successful trials in March, 80 percent of the country’s top publishers are serving messages to ad-blocking users."

CNN Money Dylan Byers

NBC looks to Lester Holt for debate win after 2016 mishaps

Matt Lauer's lackluster debate performance and Brian Williams' Iraq War lies make Lester Holt's turn as moderator a make-or-break moment for NBC News.

The New York Times Jim Rutenberg

Another argument in favor of fact-checking moderators

"What this political season really needs is a confident and credible referee, or a few thousand."

The Washington Post Margaret Sullivan

Here's why you should watch the presidential debates

"It goes without saying that the debates provide something distinctive: the candidates side by side, dealing with substantial issues, and for a significant amount of time."

The New York Times DAVID SEGAL

A profile of Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman

"In the months since the former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson went public with her sexual harassment lawsuit, he has produced a gusher of words that seem to nail every detail of this tawdry story."

CNN Brian Stelter

How Lester Holt is preparing for tomorrow's debate

"With regards to fact-checking, 'Lester is not going to be a potted plant,' one NBC staffer close to Holt said."

The Wall Street Journal JEFFREY A. TRACHTENBERG

Rolling Stone sells 49 percent stake

"BandLab’s investment provides Rolling Stone with the opportunity to expand into the live event, hospitality and merchandising businesses in Asia—areas where BandLab has experience."

CNN Money Brian Stelter

The weekend America's newspapers called Donald Trump a liar

"On the weekend leading up to 2016's first presidential debate, four news organizations came to a similar and sweeping conclusion: Donald Trump lies more often than Hillary Clinton."

CNN Money Jill Disis

Debate chief: Let the candidates fact-check each other

"'I don't think it's a good idea to get the moderator into essentially serving as the Encyclopedia Britannica,' Brown said Sunday on 'Reliable Sources.'"

Los Angeles Times Meredith Blake

Jane Pauley will be the next host of CBS Sunday Morning

"The move was announced at the end of Osgood’s final appearance as host of the program he took over 22 years ago."

New York Post Josh Kosman and Keith J. Kelly

Could Gannett acquire The Dallas Morning News?

"Gannett could afford to buy A.H. Belo, which has a $150 million market cap, and pay roughly $1 billion for Tronc, the former Tribune Publishing, sources said."

The New York Times LAURA M. HOLSON

Angelina Jolie lawyer to the press: "I don't talk to the press"

"I do not talk to the press. Even Harvey. I’ll talk about me. I’ll talk about my clothes. But I don’t talk about my clients."

The New York Times Nicholas Kristof

Nicholas Kristof: How should journalists cover Trump?

"If a known con artist peddles a potion that he claims will make people lose 25 pounds and enjoy a better sex life, we don’t just quote the man and a critic; we find ways to signal to readers that he’s a fraud. Why should it be different when the con man runs for president?"

In case you missed it

Nieman Lab JOSEPH LICHTERMAN

Vox.com hires Andrew Golis as its first general manager

"'He is going to be tasked with thinking about what are the big swings that we want to take in the next few years,' Vox Media publisher Melissa Bell told me."

Digiday Lucia Moses

Verizon faces an uphill battle with its ambitious content plans

"It’s hard to combine two radically different DNAs, build a publishing arm from scratch and change consumer habits."

Digiday Lucinda Southern

French publishers take tough stand against ad-blocking

"After successful trials in March, 80 percent of the country’s top publishers are serving messages to ad-blocking users."

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Where to find story ideas in annual reports

If you are planning on writing about business, you will need financial information about the companies you are covering. Public companies file a 10-K, an annual overview of a company's business and financial condition. It contains extensive background and financial information, including audited financial statements. It is also one of the most difficult documents to read. (Don't confuse the 10-K with the annual report, a glossy document released by the company to shareholders.)

Here are some places in the 10-K to find story ideas:

  • Management discussion. Examine this carefully. You can find information about products, divisions, acquisitions and divestitures, and restructurings during the past fiscal year.
  • Management changes. Under management discussion, the company will list the members of the management team. Pay attention to how long the various executives have been at the firm (high turnover can indicate a problem) and their career experience. How long have they been running this company or a similar business in the same industry?
  • Annual audit. Toward the back of every company's 10-K form, you will find an annual financial statement comparing the most recent year's financial statements to the previous year's. The financial statements are audited—they have been prepared and reviewed by a certified public accountant according to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or GAAP.
  • The auditors. CPAs are hired by the company and paid by the company. This is an accepted practice, but it raises an inherent conflict of interest. See if the company recently changed auditors. If there has been a change in the audit firm, find out why. There is almost always a reason, and it generally has little to do with the fees charged by the firm. Sometimes, companies have a disagreement about accounting policies, and the accounting firm decides to resign. Keep in mind that a review by an accounting firm only means that the firm reviewed whatever records were provided by the company. It does not mean that every book, every record or every transaction was reviewed. So, if a company is deliberately trying to fool the accountants, the accountants are probably not to blame if fraud wasn't uncovered.
  • The opinion of the accountants. Note whether the company got a "clean" or a "qualified" opinion by the accountants as part of the audit. If the audit is free of errors, the accountants will state this fact. If not, the accountants will state what problems they found and issue a qualified opinion.

Taken from Financial Literacy Basics: Producing Better Business Stories, a self-directed course by Mark Tatge at Poynter NewsU.

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