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Fellows' Papers
Journalism & Democracy Practice of Journalism Media Policy

The Ordinary Reader in the History of Business Newspapers: A misunderstanding

Iuliana Roibu, a Romanian business journalist working for BUSINESS Magazin in Bucharest, has written an engaging study on the role of the business print media in informing the general citizen.

In her paper entitled, The Ordinary Reader in the History of Business Newspapers: A misunderstanding, Iuliana addresses the key question of how journalists can provide accessible and accurate financial information to both their general readers and a specialised audience. In a detailed examination of the Romanian and British media, Iuliana aimed to address a number of research questions, including how the business and non-specialist media in the two countries managed to cover and explain the recent financial crisis; what impact will new media, tablets or the democratization of once exclusivist information have on economic news; and what are the trends to be expected in the business press in the future. Based on interviews with leading British and international journalists and experts, Iuliana includes a list of ten rules for writing financial news, so that the general reader can understand it. They include recommendations for ‘simplicity of language’, ‘understand first, then report’, ‘Involve people. Just presenting figures is uninteresting’ and ‘Do not assume that the readers already know anything. Every story’s background can be explained in 20 words.’  She also exhorts editors to include the business news among the general news.  

She also reminds journalists to talk to the new generation. She writes that ‘it is extremely important to target the youngsters, to show them the importance of economics in their everyday lives, to explain to them the phenomena and to try to transform them into those intelligent readers who are sought by worldwide editors.’   

Iuliana concludes that readers and viewers are more interested in economic and business news because it is affecting their lives more.  And she is hopeful that business journalists can follow their main role of providing answers to the readers’ most important questions, whether they are specialised or of general interest.