Disclosures and You

Burning Both Ends of the Candle — With Anger

On September 13th, Larry Cermak, a researcher for the cryptocurrency news outlet, The Block, made a sorta disclosure:

Larry talking about trading YFI repeatedly.
Alameda, run by SBF, isn’t really research.

This Isn’t About One Guy

This isn’t about one guy or one media company or a rally of questionable moral outrage. It’s about the value of disclosures and objectivity.

There’s Been Worse, and That’s the Point

A researcher trading some of their personal cash for fun is a drop in the bucket compared to what’s previously been discovered, such as when Bloomberg apparently paid journalists extra if they were able to move markets with stories:

This Isn’t a New Problem

Disclosures present a couple of issues in and of themselves. Often times, disclosures are presented publicly in the **hope** that they will move markets — this is a pivotal point that active short sellers use to bring attention to a stock they’ve shorted with the hope being others will join them.

What’s the Solution?

Not so sure there is one. The concepts of disclosures — what must be disclosed and not, who must disclose what and not, and how corporate law should factor into journalistic disclosures, are all very fluid issues that change drastically every few years. Like Larry, I am not a journalist or a lawyer, and I don’t know how to make these concepts feel fairer to everyone.

  1. Look at corporate ownership of a media entity and what else they’re invested in so you can logically decipher what issues they’re worth trusting on. If you can’t find any info at all, maybe don’t trust them.
  2. Find authors and researchers you enjoy. See if they respond to tweets or DMs. Reach out and ask questions or give feedback — though try to stay polite, even if it’s criticism. Journalists, researchers, and writers are people too, as hard as that is to believe.
  3. Decide for yourself what level of interaction you’re comfortable with in regard to a journalist and the topic they’re covering. A good example is embedded journalists: will they have a crazy, fascinating, and worthwhile tale to tell? Undoubtedly. Will it likely be critical of the soldiers the journalist was embedded with? Doubt it.

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