I would like to consider myself to be knowledgeable about current events. I have always tried to keep up with the latest news that is occurring in the world. My sources, for the most part, have been television, CNN or the 10:00 news, or the local newspaper. With my time limited, I have always tried to work in a daily dose of news into my day. I have to be honest. When I saw the assignment that was listed on the syllabus, my reaction was not very positive. I thought to myself, “this is not going to very fun” and “sounds like busywork”. Looking back at this, I can now say that I was completely wrong.
Being a Telecommunications Management major, I have not had much exposure to the processes of business and business related topics. I am, however, always willing to learn anything I can about all facets of business. With my work experience at State Farm, I thought I had gained a first hand knowledge of how things really worked in the world of business. I thought that knew a great deal about how things worked. However, after taking some courses at ISU, I realize that I haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg. This project was one of the factors that made me feel his way.
Having to work 30 hours per week, in addition to my full time schedule at ISU, my schedule can sometimes be hectic. Sometimes the papers would accumulate on my kitchen table for three or four days until I could get the chance to read them. I would find myself reading two or three days’ papers at one sitting. After some time I was looking forward to reading the paper. Even though I got free access to WSJ Online with my subscription, there is just something about having the paper in your hands. You do not get the same feeling from reading a computer monitor.
Being “forced” to read the Wall Street Journal on a daily basis (almost) has opened up my eyes to the bigger picture. One of the preconceived ideas about the Wall Street Journal is that it is strictly meant for hard-core investors and other financial gurus. After reading the Journal, I quickly realized that this is not the case. There is a great deal of national news contained in every issue. Obviously, they try to gear their content towards the financial savvy but there is always much more. There can be stories regarding law, politics, travel, and even entertainment. Their broad scope of topics is pleasantly surprising. Instead of being bombarded with financial jargon and the like, there are always a number of articles pertaining to current events or other interesting topics.
Although the local newspaper, The Pantagraph, is a quality publication in its own right, The Pantagraph does not even come close to Wall Street Journal when it comes to national business news. The Journal is the best source of information for those that are interested in finance or business and also would like to receive the national news as well. Where The Pantagraph might have two pages devoted to the business world, the Journal would have 60. The Journal covers all aspects of business and also other events that have an effect on the business world.
The main stories or events that occurred during the semester were the Enron, WorldCom, and the Martha Stewart scandals. Granted, the Enron scandal broke last year but the Wall Street Journal continued to put articles in almost every other day. A lot of the articles dealt with the aftermath of the whole deal. In an article published on August 29, 2002, a judge awarded a larger severance payout to former rank-and-file employees of the former company (Pacelle, A1). The judge also gave them permission to go after the bonuses that were given to the high-ranking executives by Enron. This was seen as a victory for the little guys of America.
Another story concerning Enron was published on October 18, 2002. Rebecca Smith and John R. Wilke reported that a former head of Enron had attempted to California’s electricity market to gain profits for the company. Timothy Norris Belden pleaded guilty in a U.S. district court to a single count of wire fraud. Belden said he falsified data that ended up costing consumers more then $80 billion dollars.
Continuing with the sneaky company theme WorldCom was another company that was constantly being published in the WSJ about the aftermath’s of all their scandals. One such article written by Laurie P. Cohen and Deborah Solomon on September 26, 2002 reported that David F. Meyers plead guilty to two felony counts in connection with the company’s accounting scandal. Meyers could face up to 15 years in jail for his crimes.
On August 29, 2002, Deborah Solomon and Susan Pulliam reported on the indictment of ex-CFO of WorldCom Scott Sullivan. Sullivan reported committed securities fraud and made false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These charges carry a maximum sentence of 65 years in jail.
Finally, one of the more surprising scandals of the semester would the insider trading scandal Martha Stewart is a part of. Charles Gasparino and Jerry Markon reported on September 26, 2002 that a Merrill Lynch & Co. brokerage assistant had agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and provide testimony against Martha Stewart. Stewart is thought to have something to do with insider trading of ImClone shares of stock that Samuel Waksal has already been accused of trading. Stewart is claimed to have knowledge of the drug companies news about a cancer fighting drug before it was even announced. No formal charges have been filed against Stewart.
I would definitely like to continue reading the Wall Street Journal. Since I have little knowledge in business because of my background I think I would really enjoy their coverage of business and legal matters. After all they are the leader in this area. However, I also like reading their coverage of current events. Instead of getting brief or limited coverage in The Pantagraph, I can get outstanding coverage from the Journal. Although I may have trouble getting the details of the Normal town meeting in the Journal, I would rather read it over The Pantagraph. Reading the Wall Street Journal has opened my eyes to the rest of the world.
I will continue to get my news from television as well as The Pantagraph since these are more convenient for me at this time. But I can honestly say that I have really enjoyed this experience. Being exposed to this type of publication has enabled me to broaden my horizons and has given me a different perspective of national events. Even though I may not continue my subscription for next semester due to lack of space on my kitchen table, I would definitely like to pick it back up when my schedule eases up a bit.
Cohen, L. P., & Solomon, D. (2002, September 26). WorldCom's Myers to
Plead Guilty. Wall Street Journal, A1-A6.
Gasparino, C., & Markon J. (2002, September 26). Cooperate on Martha
Stewart. Wall Street Journal, A1-A9.
Pacelle, M., & Porter, E. (2002, August 29). Judge Increase Severance
Pay to Former Enron Employees. Wall Street Journal, A1-A6.
Pullman, S.,& Solomon, D. (2002, August 29). U.S., Pushing WorldCom
Case, Indicts Ex-CFO and His Aide. Wall Street Journal, A1-A4.
Smith, R., & Wilke, J. R. (2002, October 21). Enron Ex-Trader Admits to
Fraud in California Case. Wall Street Journal, A1-A7.