Live-Blogging #ReynoldsWeek


2,000 miles. Five hours and 43 minutes. From Newark airport I’ll be traveling to Phoenix to take part in the Reynolds Center’s annual Strictly Financial seminar.
I’ll be spending the next week with about 30 of my peers — some journalism professors, others working reporters — learning about the business we all attempt to cover.
All expenses paid.
But knowing how unfair a four day reprieve from the tri-states’ current biting cold must sound, I’ll be live-blogging the next four days.
There will be insights from infamous investigative reporter Jim Steele, as well as tips on how best to comb through SEC filings and income statements.

Here’s the agenda; And here’s all of the handouts for the seminar. 



8:40 am:

Andrew Leckey, a founder and the president of the Reynolds Center, welcomes us.

Embedded image permalink

Here are some of the folks that I’ll be spending the next few days with; Read their bios.

  • Chris Arnold, correspondent, NPR, and Donald W. Reynolds Nieman Fellow in Business Journalism
  • Danielle Douglas, banking reporter, The Washington Post
  • Jeremy Fugleberg, business/energy editor, Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune
  • Kristena Hansen, reporter, Phoenix Business Journal
  • Janine Harper, producer, Fuji TV
  • Jonathan Horn, senior staff writer – economy, San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Arielle Kass, business reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Sam Kusic, staff writer, The Indiana (Pa.) Gazette
  • John W. Miller, staff reporter, The Wall Street Journal
  • Adam O’Daniel, finance editor, Charlotte Business Journal
  • Christopher Otts, business/economy reporter, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal
  • Michelle Park, finance reporter, Crain’s Cleveland Business
  • Sandra Pedicini, business reporter, Orlando Sentinel
  • Carolyn Shapiro, consumer and retail writer, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot
  • Katy Stech, bankruptcy reporter, Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal

Some of the presenters are: Chris Roush, Walter E. Hussman Sr. Distinguished Scholar in business journalism. Director, Carolina Business News Initiative, and James K. Gentry, Ph.D., is the Clyde M. Reed Teaching Professor and former dean at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

9:00 am: 

Some tidbits from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Jim Steele — half of the infamous reporting team of Bartlett and Steele, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a former editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Follow me on Twitter to read quotes from the rest of the talk. 

10:30 am: 

“Markets: An Overview”

My notes for this class are here.

1:30 p.m

“Understanding Financial Statements: Income Statement”

My notes for this class are here

5:00 p.m.

The day ended with a tour of the ASU’s Cronkite J-school.


Today started where yesterday left  off with a continuation of the ‘Understanding Financial Statements Class.’

8:30 am: 

Here is a bookmark to where we picked up.

8:39 am: 

“Common-Size Analysis”

The handouts for this section are, here. These documents show the percent change of all the important numbers, this could show why something like Cost of Goods is falling while Revenues are rising. 

*You can find all of these spreadsheets are on Edgar, or — all companies do ‘Common Size Analysis’

10:30 am: 

“Digging Deeper: Goodwill and Pro Forma”

11:30 am:

“SEC Documents”

12:00 pm: 

 Barlett & Steele Awards Luncheon and Panel Discussion


Barlett & Steele gold award winner and The New York Times’ lead reporter sat down with ProPublica editor Steve Engelberg  to talk about how he got the scoop on Wal-Mart de Mexico: 

In the most recent ProPublica #MuckReads podcast, Barstow and Engelberg talk about how the investigation got started. Barstow explains how he found that Mexico’s FOIA/public records law was very helpful and why looking into the case of foreign bribery was important to Americans.

Barstow received the top gold award of $5,000 in the sixth annual Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism.

Follow me on Twitter to read more tidbits from the rest of the panel. 

2:05 pm: 

“Digging Deeper Into Key Areas”


3:35 pm: 

“Banking Notes” 


Sources SlideShow

3:56 pm:

Chasing Chesapeake 

One of the stories in the series


10:30 am: 

Decoding Financial Statements

*Companies that are trying to inflate their income can do this through a combination of increasing pricing, and decreasing cost — becoming more efficient. 

*Accounts receivable collection period should be equal to a billing statement (Slide 9), if it is higher than that there is something amiss. 


Financial Markets in 2013 (Drivers of Stock and Bond Prices)

*reversion from the mean: if you track stock prices, it will go up it will go down, but when it gets too far away from what it’s mean value is (the average) it’s probably going to go back to the mean. If the average stocks return about 10 % over the past 8 years, then when they start returning 12, 15, 20 % a year you can figure that next year they are not going to do that again. 

You get cycles in this data. 

Here’s Reynolds’ overview of the entire seminar. 


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