27 3 / 2013
"Mr. Schnabel turned to me. “I’ve been making these portraits of the Brant children. Plate paintings. Would you like to see them?"
25 3 / 2013
"We leave behind the uncertainty and anxiety that we all lived through over the last few months and we look forward now to the future with optimism,” he told compatriots who face an immediate, deep recession and years of hardship."
25 3 / 2013
It isn’t as if Horwitz isn’t adept at using new technology. He recently joined Twitter. Through his account (@Jay_HorwitzPR), he dispenses vital communiqués about the Mets directly to fans.
For example, just before the start of spring training, he tweeted a photo of himself shirtless in a swimming pool, buoyed by a tube and a pair of floaties, with goggles over his eyes and a snorkel lodged in his mouth. Other tweets have included such updates as “Hy” and “Congrats to $.” On March 2, he simply tweeted the letter O."
25 3 / 2013
"It’s mission-critical to be plain-spoken, whether you’re trying to be best-of-breed at outside-the-box thinking or simply incentivizing colleagues to achieve a paradigm shift in core-performance value-adds."
25 3 / 2013
"The Indian unit of Ford Motor Co. has apologized for advertisements decried as demeaning to women, including one depicting Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with a trio of bound women in the trunk of a car."
25 3 / 2013
"My next encounter with Cyprus happened in June 2011. A non-governmental organisation approached me with what at first seemed an bizarre request. They were holding a conference in London on reunifying Cyprus. Would I be interested delivering a presentation on asset-backed securities?
Unlike the first Cyprus invitation, this time I was clueless. I protested that I knew very little about the tortured history of the divided island – and even if I did, why were ABS relevant? Don’t worry, the organisers said, sending me a briefing note for me to prepare from.
The NGO document explained how plans to reunify the island had foundered on the question of how to compensate Turks or Greeks who had lost land during the partition of the island 40 years ago, without evicting the current occupants of their property. One idea being floated was for certificates to be given to the original owners of the land, linked to their revenues and value. These certificates could be bundled together and securitised, raising cash from investors which could be used to develop the land for tourism. By financial alchemy, that would boost the value of the certificates enough to persuade both sides to sign up to a deal.
Then I understood why the NGO had approached me. They want to bring about the reunification of Cyprus using a structured product."
25 3 / 2013
"The economists found that the securitization workers showed no awareness that housing was about to become undone. To the contrary, during the peak of the bubble, they were far more apt to swap into more expensive homes and buy second homes than the control groups were. And workers at firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were among the most aggressive with their own home purchases."
23 3 / 2013
"Mostly, social media have done wonders for writing. George Orwell in 1944 lamented the divide between wordy, stilted written English, and much livelier speech. “Spoken English is full of slang,” he wrote, “it is abbreviated wherever possible, and people of all social classes treat its grammar and syntax in a slovenly way.” His ideal was writing that sounded like speech. We’re getting there at last."
I don’t know how much of this can be attributed to social media, as opposed to simply to online writing. But there’s no doubt that online writing in general is more conversational and approachable than the relatively stilted written English that most of us grew up with.
For instance, on Friday, both Luke Baker and I wrote about Russia-Cyprus relations for Reuters. My blog post was conversational: “Russia is taking an absolutist stance with respect to Cyprus. No, we won’t restructure the money you owe us. No, we won’t buy a bank off you. No, we aren’t interested in your natural-gas reserves.” Luke’s wire report wasn’t: “The net result is a divided island - Turkey has occupied the northern third since 1974 - sitting in the south-eastern Mediterranean, where 800,000 people face the prospect of an economic implosion that could leave them destitute.”
This is one of the issues facing the Reuters Digital team as we build a great web property. The kind of writing wire journalism was built on, and which can be quite effective even in newspapers, is increasingly likely to feel stilted and artificial when it’s presented in a more naturally conversational medium. There’s a reason why a wire reporter will tend to squeeze lots of extraneous facts — about the Turkish occupation, or the population of Cyprus, or even where the island is located in the Mediterranean — into a sentence about economic implosion. But nobody does that when they’re talking. Nor do they generally expect it when they’re surfing the web.
22 3 / 2013
“The banks were considered super conservative,” said Alexander Apostolides an economic historian at Cyprus’ European University, a private university on the outskirts of Nicosia.
When Lehman Brothers collapsed in the summer of 2008, most of the world’s banks suffered in the fallout, but not Cyprus’s.
“Everyone here was sitting pretty,” said Fiona Mullen, a Nicosia-based economist, reflecting on the fact Cypriot banks did not depend on capital markets for funding and did not invest in complex financial products that felled other institutions."