Tag Archives: Reuters

For shame, John Harwood …

Regular readers know that I have a background in journalism.

I wanted to share some further details of my career. My degree is in Finance. I started working for Reuters in 1968 shortly after they came to the U.S. and started competing directly with Dow Jones. My stock market reporting ended abruptly when I was transferred to the floor of the bustling Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) a few months later to learn the popular commodities markets.

I set up Reuters coverage there and continued to be the ‘floor reporter’ till a tennis injury to my ankle in 1972  forced me off my feet and into our office in the Chicago Board of Trade Building (CBOT). When my ankle healed I moved downstairs to the trading floor there and learned about the international corn and soybean markets. On the CME I had covered livestock futures including the hottest market at the time – pork bellies (bacon). In 1977 I left the CBOT floor to spend a year in London on the news desk there and to learn the other international commodities including gold, silver, coffee, cocoa and sugar.

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John Harwood: Chief Washington Correspondent for CNBC and a political writer for The New York Times.

One of the highlights in wire service reporting on markets is that you need to be perfectly accurate in your stories because anything you write may affect the market and change prices. In the fast moving and highly volatile commodities markets it is easy to see that mistakes could possibly cost traders or commercial firms millions of dollars. I can’t imagine a better training ground for a journalist. Talk about baptism by fire. You always had to have several sources for any story because there was a chance that someone on the other side of the market was going to complain.

The final aspect of that experience is that Reuters had Dow Jones as competition on the stock market and AP and Commodity News Service on the commodities side. It was fierce competition in which seconds made all the difference on our wires. Our mantra at Reuters as ‘Accuracy first; speed second.’ There was no place for mistakes.

I wanted to go into that detail because I have always been proud to be a journalist. In my
20 years with Reuters and three years of teaching journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago I came to understand that journalism was more than a job or a career. The people I worked with – and against – viewed journalism as about one notch below the priesthood. We were serving a higher master than others working for a living. We reported the news, we wrote the truth. Not many job descriptions can say that.

So, it is with a very sorry heart indeed that I read the nature of New York Times reporter and CNBC’s Chief Washington Correspondent, John Harwood, not only not grilling Hillary Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta, but discussing his upcoming interview with Jeb Bush and asking for tips.

The email from September 21, 2015 had the subject line, “what should I ask Jeb…”

Later that month, on Oct. 28, Harwood would go on to moderate the third Republican primary debate, and delivered a performance so obviously biased that even liberal commentators had to admit he had proven conservative suspicions correct.

In a December 2015 email to Podesta, Harwood bragged about his much-criticized debate performance in which he asked Trump “Let’s be honest, is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?”

With my financial background I have watched CNBC for years and have to admit that Harwood always stuck out as ‘leaning to the left.’ I had no idea how far afield he had gone.

Even though I am out of the flow of day to day competitive reporting I still respect what I consider to be my profession. So, seeing this man ‘break his vows’ to the truth as it were and actively try to promote one side makes me sick. It’s easy to call him a whore who sold out his principles for a price, but I think he is worse. He is a traitor to everything that every young (and in my case, old) journalist holds dear. That is reporting the truth. We tell it like it is.

So far, Harwood has not answered any requests for comments on these emails. I think if he had any character, he would resign his position on CNBC following these revelations. But, in view of his actions, I have to doubt it. If the network had any character, however, they would demand it.

I guess if Hillary wins, we know who her press secretary will be.

Tony

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Filed under election, journalism, media bias

I Pay a Visit to Van Gogh’s Bedroom

Although I have been writing professionally for more than 50 years, I am relatively new to blogging. I started writing this blog on invitation from a friend nearly six years ago and have only been doing it that long.

For your background, I began writing in the men’s magazine and paperback book business and worked at a couple of publishers for a half dozen years. I recounted my leaving that business in the post How to Handle Career Adversity if you want further details. I worked at Reuters for 20 years after that.

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This is one of the three paintings. It was completed in 1889.

All of this is to say that while I have a lot of experience writing, I am a relative newbie at blogging. When I first started, my partner used to say that my posts read more like short articles than blog posts. They weren’t personal enough.

Maybe I just didn’t (don’t) get it. When I post something, I am sharing information that I think will benefit the reader and help that person to live a longer, healthier, happier life. I really don’t feel my personal details are all that interesting or useful to anyone else.

Having said that, I am now writing this totally personal post. You can decide whether or not it has any value or interest for you.

A hundred years ago, it seems, in my first year of college, I encountered the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. To put it mildly I was overwhelmed. There are no words in my head to explain to you the impact his pictures had on me.  it was totally visceral. I particularly loved the famous Van Gogh’s Bedroom. So, can you imagine my delight in learning that the Art Institute of Chicago was having a special showing of the three works of art known as Van Gogh’s Bedroom. That’s right. He painted the picture three times. I did not know that.

As an Art Institute member, I was invited to a preview and talk on the works yesterday and planned to attend. The weather in Chicago has been fearsomely cold this past week and as a result, I was not able to do my normal bike riding. I climbed the stairs in my high rise which is good weight bearing exercise, just not nearly as much fun as biking. At any rate, because the structure of my day was so turned around, I forgot about the talk until moments before it started. I rushed out, but was too late to catch it. I was, however, able to see the exhibit and read about it. Magical is the only word I have to describe those paintings.

Van Gogh created the works while living in Arles where he also painted another of my favorite works, The Boats at Arles. They are candy to my eyes.

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The Boats at Arles

I have included the pictures here for your viewing pleasure. If they have any meaning or impact on you I recommend you read further on them and the painter. They tell a wonderful story about this beautiful troubled genius who created them.

Tony

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What Are Some Good Luck Foods for Friday the 13th?

I wrote this post for Friday the 13th a couple of years ago, but it applies still.

PERSONAL NOTE: It is exactly 27 years ago today that I cleaned out my desk at Reuters and quit after working there for 20 years. I won’t go into the whys, they are no longer relevant. However, I have not looked back and ever regretted it. I wrote freelance for a while, then taught journalism at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and finally migrated over to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur foundation where I wrote a newsletter in the Investment Department for five years and then was promoted to Bond Manager where I managed $900 million for the next five years. I retired from there in October of 2000.

I have been writing this blog since March of 2010.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Feeling blue on Friday the 13th? Perhaps you are triscadecaphobic, which is to say, fearful of Friday the 13th.

The publication Environmental Nutrition offers the following 5 foods that are super nutritious and might bring you good luck at least in terms of your general health.

Amazing avocados, is their first offering. “Ounce for ounce, they contain more blood-pressure lowering potassium than bananas. Avocados are rich in good-for-you monounsaturated fats, and cholesterole-lowering beta-sitosterol and cancer-protective glutathione, along with Vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6 and fiber.”

Brain-boosting blueberries come in second. “These little blue marvels are the antioxidant leaders, plump and nearly 4 grams of fiber per cup and a good dose of vitamin C. They also have cancer-protective ellagic acid, and may boost your brain health and vision.”

Anti-cancer Brazil nuts come in third. “This hearty tree nut is a ‘trigger food’ that may cause cancer cells to self-destruct…

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Baby Boomers Charging into Senior Citizen Rank

Regular readers know that I am a retired newsman. I worked for 20 years for Reuters News Service and spent a year in the home office on London’s Fleet Street. During years of writing the news I was often surprised to learn that ‘news’ was not necessarily something that just happened. Often a discovery would be made of something that occurred long ago, but just came to light. My years in the news business taught me that anything that people weren’t currently aware of was – news.

With that in mind I confess that I have just come to the realization that the baby boomers are fast becoming senior citizens. I just ran across a page in Pew Research Center about boomers that blew me away. The page was dated December 29, 2010, hardly news it would seem. What I learned was that roughly 10,000 baby boomers turned 65 on that day and that another 10,000 would turn 65 every day through 2030. The world is experiencing a silver tsunami. That was news to me.

A silver-haired tsunami of 10,000 baby boomers a day for 30 years is coming

We are in the midst of a silver-haired tsunami of 10,000 baby boomers a day for 30 years

Here are some more of the figures from the Pew page published at the end of 2010, “Currently, just 13% of Americans are ages 65 and older. By 2030, when all members of the Baby Boom generation have reached that age, fully 18% of the nation will be at least that age, according to Pew Research Center population projections. But don’t tell Baby Boomers that they are old. The typical Boomer believes that old age does not begin until age 72, according to a 2009 Pew Research survey. Also, while about half of all adults say they feel younger than their actual age, fully 61% of Boomers are feeling more spry than their age would imply. In fact, the typical Boomer feels nine years younger than his or her chronological age.”

I am actually a pre-baby-boomer having been born in 1940, so I am fully into the senior citizen experience, for better or for worse. Unfortunately, being over age 65 can be tough on a person who hasn’t taken care of him/herself for whatever reason.

I have written much about the scourge of obesity on the population.

Medical News Today reports that loneliness has an almost equal impact on early death as obesity among seniors. That was a piece of stunning news to me.

MNT quoted John Cacioppo, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, saying that he found dramatic differences in the rate of decline in physical and mental health between lonely and socially engaged older people.

“The physical and mental resilience of older people who have satisfying relationships is much stronger than in lonely older people, Cacioppo says, as they are more able to “bounce back” from adversity.

At a TED talk in Des Moines Cacioppo expanded on that, “We think of loneliness as a sad condition but, for a social species, being on the social perimeter is not only sad—it’s dangerous,” he says. “The pain and averseness of loneliness, of feeling isolated from those around you, is also part of a biological early warning machinery to alert you to threats and damage to your social body, which you also need to survive and prosper.”

There are three core dimensions to healthy relationships, according to Cacioppo and his colleagues:

“Intimate connectedness” from having someone in your life who “affirms who you are”
•”Relational connectedness” from having mutually rewarding face-to-face contact with people
•”Collective connectedness” from feeling that you are part of a group “beyond individual existence.”

These three core dimensions reminded me of a post I did last August – What is the Value of hugging?

One of the great benefits of hugging stems from the release of a hormone, oxytocin, in the body which reduces blood pressure as well as stress and anxiety. “Partners in functional relationships have been found to have increased oxytocin levels. The hormone promotes bonding, social behavior and closeness between family members and couples.” Clearly, this would have very beneficial effects for seniors, as well as everyone else.

You can read the entire post at the link to learn further benefits of hugging and close physical contact.

So, if you are one of the newly-minted 65 year olds, welcome aboard. I hope you are able to pick up on Professor Cacioppo’s three core dimensions and enjoy a long full life. Some hugging wouldn’t hurt, either.

Tony

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A Not So Sad Tale of Career Adversity

Back in the beginning of the year I wrote a couple of blog items on kindness. Both were directed toward increasing one’s capacity for and experience of happiness. I posted links to them at the bottom of this piece.

I thought this item might be interesting and useful to you pretty much on a similar premise. The kicker is that this act was one of treachery and unkindness and I was the recipient as opposed to the creator of it. I hope you will find the outcome of interest.

At the beginning of my career I worked for men’s magazines. They were the kind considered sexy at the time, but by current internet standards they would be described as quaint or curious at best. At the time I was married and my first wife was pregnant with our son.

The tool of my trade

It was a small publishing house with about 30 people working in editorial, art, production, sales and distribution. We produced several trade magazines on other subjects, too.

Our publisher, Felix, (not his real name), was in his late 50’s and from time to time would take advantage of attractive females who worked for him. This was long before such things as sexual harassment suits so Felix operated with relative impunity. He also possessed a personality on the unpleasant side and consequently had few friends, so he would often have office lunches and hold court over us throughout. He paid for the meal, but we paid more heavily in terms of our personal experiences.

Ginny was an attractive woman who edited one of his trade magazines. Ginny and I became friends and conspired with another of the writers to often leave for lunch early to avoid Felix’s lunches.
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How Many Calories in a Full English Breakfast?

John just returned from London and shared information on his various meals. I was struck by his photo of what he called a traditional English breakfast. I suggested that he put in a nutritional breakdown, but said he had a hard time finding the foods in Lose It! Fair enough. Unfortunately, it isn’t very useful to readers the way he wrote it.

I lived in London for a year on a posting by Reuters. I was what they called a Domestic Correspondent (not quite as cool as a Foreign Correspondent, but hey). I spent an amazingly educational 12 months there. In that year, I never owned a phone, a TV set or a car and that was before the internet or personal computers. Despite these apparent ‘deprivations,’ I was never bored for a second in what must be one of the world’s most fascinating cities. I was also a practicing vegetarian at the time so my dining was not traditional British in any way.
A traditional English breakfast
Getting back to John’s traditional English breakfast, I have to say that his photo cried out to me for analysis. That is a PLATE LOAD of food!

So here goes. I have used the Lose It! app and made certain assumptions. If you have a comment or adjustment you want to suggest, please do. Readers’ thoughts are always welcome.
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Filed under calories, fat, healthy eating, portion size, Weight