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Why did so few business hacks work in business?

Home Tomorrow's Business Why did so few business hacks work in business?

While (most of) the rest of you were marvelling at England’s extraordinary cricket victory yesterday, I had a nerdish thought.

Look how many cricket writers and broadcasters are ex-professionals, whereas very few people in business hackery have actually worked in business.

Mike Atherton (Sky, The Times) and Vic Marks (Test Match Special, The Guardian) are obvious examples. Most of the rest played at a high level at some point.

Among business hacks, well, Ian King of Sky and Dharshini David of the BBC both worked in the City before the media lured them.

Simon Jack and Sarah Montague had business jobs. The Spectator’s Martin Vander Weyer was an investment banker.

A few FT types used to work in the City. And latterly some of the new hacks at the nationals have been with lawyers or accountants. But that’s not many.

Luke Johnson and other business folk do columns, of course, but they aren’t full-time journalists.

Why would this be so? One obvious reason is money; business pays better.

Also, maybe it matters less. If you’re writing about cricket, it surely gives credibility to have been able to walk the walk before you talked the talk.

Business hackery isn’t a how-to guide. We aren’t pretending we should be FTSE chief executives.

Cricket commentators sympathise with the players. Business hacks are supposed to take issue with businesses when what they are saying falls short of the complete truth.

We’re supposed to be a brake, a warning signal that bankers et al are getting away with something.

If on bad days it helps flaks to think that we hacks don’t have experience of our subject, feel free.


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