Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Worst financial writing ever (fiction)

I write for several financial media outlets and each one has a dual mission. First, they must inform with cogent analysis and a decent track record of being right. Second, they must hold the reader/viewer's interest by being interesting, if not entertaining. 

Analyst A might have a 90% success rate with an annualized return of 25% but if he puts the viewer to sleep he will not be asked back.

Analyst B always gets the comment "You looked great on TV but I did not know what you were talking about." Eye candy only goes so far.

For written media, headlines MUST grab reader attention. They MUST make the reader curious about what is in the story and want to read it. Unfortunately, they lapse into Pun-Land with a vengeance. With that in mind, here is my worst made up Thankgiving headline and opening paragraph ever:

Stuff Your Portfolios but Avoid the Turkeys

Today, stocks were seasoned by market joy as investors made a pilgrimage to the buy side. With the holiday just around the corner, investors feasted on sweet potato stocks to fill their brokerage account plates. Joe the Trader, senior analyst at Holiday International, added this chestnut, "I love this holiday because profits are easy as pie."

How's that for a bowl full of corn? Kind of makes you want to drown yourself in a cranberry bog.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! And while you celebrate, don't forget the thousands of victims of Hurricane Sandy still struggling to put their lives back together. 

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