The News is Better than We Think

Posted on August 3, 2010. Filed under: Measurement | Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s easy, I think, to draw conclusions from a quick scan of headlines. Sometimes what we intuit can be right on the money, but other times, a deep look at data can challenge our perceptions. Every day, I give a cursory read of several local and US national papers and web sites, and based on this, my take on the economy has been mixed. There are bright spots and not so bright spots.

Luckily, there are a number of economic indicators that can give me a more accurate read. Yesterday, the Dow Jones Economic Sentiment Indicator hit its highest level since June 2008, up a full two points from last month to 42.3. What’s interesting about this indicator is that it’s calculated by analyzing the economic coverage in 15 major daily newspapers in the U.S., using Dow Jones Insight. This is the same media analysis tool used by Fortune 2000 PR and corporate communications teams to measure their media coverage.

Dow Jones Economic Sentiment Indicator

So, rather than simply rely on my own amalgamated view of what the news says, I now have a serious – and more reliable – way to evaluate all the economic news running in these papers (more than I read, actually).  Changes I’d often overlook – for example, an increase in boat sales in Chicago – are factored into the indicator.

Neal Lipschutz, senior editor at Dow Jones Newswires, explains how this indicator works on Fox Business.

Diane Thieke is Marketing Director, Dow Jones Solutions for Communicators, based in Princeton, NJ.

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