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Fixing the big short in financial journalism

6 May 2016

When The Big Short secured the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards it was clear that Michael Lewis’ pivotal book on the financial crash of 2008, had resonated with both film and book audiences. The triumph of Lewis’ investigative book is that it got the scoop on a saga that financial journalists, regulators and political authorities failed to uncover.

Lewis, who has forged an impressive career writing on the crises that have rocked the financial industry, believes that modern media is letting golden stories and the truth slip away. “We are underserved by critical, knowledgeable financial journalists who don’t have any fear whatsoever of what their subjects think of them,” he recently stated.

In this regard, Australia is not immune. A recent study from Andrea Carson, University of Melbourne lecturer in media and politics, argues that serious financial coverage is in deep decline. “The scrutiny of the corporate and financial sector by Australia’s daily broadsheets  (has) diminished and was commensurate with newspapers’ political-economic environment, characterised by falling revenues, decreased print circulations and staff cutbacks,” she claims.

Even Ross Gittins, the economics editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, has warned that the commercial struggle of newspapers has pushed slanted pro-business coverage in order to gain a wider business audience. “Business journalists talk to business people and end up siding and adopting the views of their sources. They become infected by the views of the people they spend all day talking to,” Gittins said.

In the current media environment where journalists are losing their jobs and publishers are not investing in senior investigative reporters, the focus has been pushed back on the financial industry itself for higher scrutiny and self-governance. The sector and its professionals are exploring new opportunities for fair and fearless scrutiny of the finance industry.

Finance professionals are being encouraged to develop their own critical thinking and analysis skills with additional education such as a Graduate Diploma of Accounting. By building strong self-governance and communications skills in individual practitioners, the industry as a whole gains greater credibility. At a time when clarity and meaningful communication in the financial sector is in high demand, bolstering individual skills will serve a far greater good for clients, colleagues and industry reform.

SCU Online's Graduate Diploma of Accounting encourages students to expand their lateral thinking skills and communicate complex financial information with clarity. The course is accredited by CPA Australia and satisfies all CPA Foundation units. It will provide you with a clear path towards becoming a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA).

To learn more contact an SCU enrolment advisor today on 1300 589 882.