The biggest scandal on Wall Street may be under-reporting the slow death of C|Net and its News.Com.
A brief content analysis, on any average news day, will reveal the truth. News.Com does very few news stories, and outside Declan McCullagh almost no enterprise reporting. Instead there's a lot of filler -- "analysis" that editors can dash-off in a half-hour, "commentary" that's thinly-disguised PR. Even "white papers," which are wholly corporate shillery, are headlined on the main page.
Compare this to the front page of The Register, which is filled with news stories -- some snarky, some serious. But all new.
Why is this?
I think it's a question of who you're working for.
C|Net, like the rest of the American "computer press," works for advertisers. It sees its role as helping people understand and use what they buy. It's part of the commercial enterprise known as "the industry." Not the news industry, "the industry," the one it's reporting on.
But this makes its credibility with readers suspect. Anyone who is devoted to the interests of advertisers is going to bend when the advertisers demand it, and once advertisers know you'll bend they'll all contort you, simply to prove that they can.
I didn't use the word "scandal" above to suggest that the folks at C|Net are corrupt. They are not. I used it in the old sense, the fact that it's scandalous you have to read this story here, that it hasn't been reported generally, even though it's generally known within the industry.
There is great wealth to be had serving the needs of the great American computer industry. Look at the names, look at their capitalization. Eating the crumbs off that table can be a tasty feast. And the credibility of the American computer press is like a mountain next to those publications serving Japan and the rest of Asia, where they don't even use bylines and don't pretend to be doing journalism.
The Register, on the other hand, is devoted wholly to its readers' interests. It knows that the money from banners, and buttons, is barely going to keep reporters and editors in beer-and-skittles. Its budget is small, its writers poorly-paid. But they don't sell their souls. When they get a story of interest to readers they tell it.
Where you stand depends on where you sit. If you sit with the advertisers, you stand with them, and don't go against them. When you sit with the readers you don't eat as well, but you sleep the sleep of the righteous. And when times are hard, as they've been hard for years now, the writer who serves the readers does eat.