Greg Gannicott’s Blog

Keeping up with the Financial Crisis

Posted in Other by Greg Gannicott on October 8, 2008
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve found myself gripped in recent weeks by the events unfolding in the financial market. It’s the first large news story I know of that affects me in some way, but it’s no less entertaining for it. I think the fact that me worrying about it will change little, has enabled me to distance myself from it and enjoy the scale and drama of it all.

I’ve been somewhat of a news junkie for a while, and this is just the latest in the long line of stories I get hooked on. But this is the first time I’ve used various outputs of information to feed my hunger.

I’ve found that over the past two weeks, my usual idle time reading (ie. things I read on the mobile when I have time to kill) of Tech Blogs and Music Reviews have very much taken a back seat. Once I’ve finished reading the finance blog entries (etc), it’s taking me some time to get into caring about the tech blog entries I read. I don’t check Techmeme nearly as much as I would normally and most shockingly of all, I’ve even missed some updates on Teletext’s Planet Sound. I hope I haven’t missed out on a Modest Mouse sized taste changing album in the process!

So here’s how I’ve been keeping up with the ‘Global Financial Crisis’:

BBC: At a Glance

I love this service, and combined with the next entry (Live Text) I think it’s the future of net based breaking news reporting. Throughout the day, the page is updated with news from around the world that’s relevant to the crises. It gives you a great sense of the speed at which things are developing, and ensures you never miss a detail. Prior to this I’d refresh the main BBC News page every now and then and see whether the headline has changed. This doesn’t give you the in between stories. Rather than when it becomes a headline, with this page you can foresee that Iceland is in deep trouble before its making the headlines.

BBC: Live Text

If this was combined with the ‘At a Glance’ page, it would make for an addictive service. I believe it’s been used before (with Football for instance) but I first saw Live Text in action during the Olympics and was hooked by it. Other than the fact it was a great way to see what was happening overall, it also contained some amusing comments from the writer.

The Live Text I’ve been checking out today has given a great overview of the unfolding ‘UK Bail Out’ story. Unlike the ‘At a Glance’ page, its focus is on UK stories rather than Global. Also unlike ‘At a Glance’, it has an Ajax interface which updates as and when it happens and also includes occasional comments from readers, BBC commentators (ie. they quote what has been said on all the BBC’s TV and Radio channels/stations) and bloggers (such as Robert Peston and Nick Robinson)).

It’s a fantastic river of information from across the BBC network, and something I hope they use more often from now on with regards to breaking news.

BBC: Robert Peston Blog

Peston has become somewhat of a legend over the past couple weeks, breaking the news and putting it into a context that I can understand and appreciate. It’s the only blog I bypass Google Reader for.

A friend of mine argues though that he can be too patronising at times, and over dramatic. Given what I don’t know about the financial market, and my love of drama in the news, that’s probably why I pay attention to what Peston has to say.

BBC: Wake up to Money Podcast

This show is broadcast on 5Live at some god-awful hour (5am?) but the pod cast is ready and waiting for me for when I leave for work. Conveniently, it lasts just long enough to get me from my house to the train station. At that point it finishes and I’m able to read the mobile Googl Reader without having conflicting voices in my head – just music instead.

Much like Robert Peston, they put it into a context I can understand. If anyone dares to include jargon they soon pick them up on it and request they explain.

BBC: Market Data

I’ve been watching this one for well over a year now. We refer to it as pop-picking in work. Where will Debenhams be in the chart rundown? In the Top 10 Losers or Top 10 Winners. Its usually one or the other due to the volatile nature of their shares.

As the crises has progressed though I find myself looking more at the FTSE 100 on the whole rather than just Debs. Its also interesting to see who the winners and losers are. The last couple weeks have seem some extreme results. From there simply being a Top 2 Winners chart (as the FTSE 350 couldn’t even muster 10 positive results) to the large %s being lost and gained.

Sky News

Generally speaking I tend to opt for the Beeb over Sky for TV news, but one thing Sky does tend to do when a big story breaks is dedicate more time to it. When the painful to watch BBC Breakfast moves on after 5 minutes of coverage, I can always be sure that Sky News will fill up the remaining 30 minutes left before I head off to work.


Its surprising how often I’ve read a breaking story on Twitter, generally through the ‘BBC News Breaking’ service. If the question were ever asked “Where were you when Congress gave a ‘No’ vote to the bail-out plan?”, I could proudly say I was on the lavvy reading my Twitter feed. I soon wiped up and turned on the news!

So there you have it. Who knows what long term affects this crisis will have on the world. For the short term at least its resulted in me reading less tech blogs, less Teletext and not listen to 6Music in the morning. In time I’ll revert back to my old ways no doubt, but its been a good experience finding new ways to locate news (‘Live Text’, Blogs, Podcasts). I look forward to seeing what the net delivers next.

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