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Finance reporter Allan Sloan reveals his secrets for success

Award winning journalist Allan Sloan at a Senate hearing on taxation policy in 2014. Sloan spoke at the Charles B. Wang Center on Monday as part of the School of Journalism’s “My Life As…” series. PHOTO COURTESY OF C-SPAN

Award winning business and finance journalist Allan Sloan spoke at the Charles B. Wang Center Monday night as a part of the School of Journalism’s “My Life As…” speaker series.

Sloan spent his time discussing his beginnings in the field of journalism, Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, his writing style and the duties of a journalist.

“I started in the writing business around 1969,” Sloan said. “When I started, I had no idea that nearly 50 years later I would still be at it, that I would be probably the oldest business writer in the country writing nasty things about the President of the United States Donald Trump and the supposed saint of Wall Street Warren Buffet.”

Sloan’s ability to take complex issues and break them down so that the average person can understand is what makes him such successful business and finance writer.

“What I do is I write about strange and complicated financial issues and transactions and explain these concepts in a language approaching English,” Sloan said.

Sloan utilizes his intelligence and familiarity with the industry effectively, explaining the latest Wall Street fiasco or bank merger in a simple, easy to understand manner.

“I’ve always thought of business reporting as just numbers and financial transactions, which is extremely boring,” Nick Musumeci, sophomore journalism major, said. “But Sloan had a good way of dumbing it down and making these terms and issues interesting to me. He used some good analogies that regular people can understand. For example, I’m a sports fan, and he used batting average in baseball to show how well a company’s stock is doing. He spoke clearly and was very relatable.”

For a portion of the night, there was a Q&A session between Sloan and Howard Schneider, the dean of the Journalism School. They touched on a myriad of topics, including President Trump. Sloan explained that even he, a seven-time Gerald Loeb award winner, could make the occasional mistake.

“I wrote a cover story for New York Newsday a while back titled ‘It’s All Over For Trump,’” where I predicted that he could be bankrupt soon and never be heard from again,” Sloan said. “Now he’s President of the United States. What can I tell you? Nobody wins them all.”

In addition to Trump, Sloan discussed his various duties as a journalist. He stressed the importance of journalistic integrity and clarity.

“One of the most important duties of a journalist is to tell people what is going on around them,” Sloan explained. “My job is to write and tell people what is going on and why they should care about it.”

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