At the end of a two-day investment conference sponsored by Dimensional Fund Advisors in Los Angeles last month, I couldn’t stop squirming.
The final workshop included a slide show highlighting articles from major business publications across the country conveying a range of dire investment messages. Some spouted warnings of impending market calamity. Others urged investors to pounce on opportunities that everyone else seemed to be overlooking.
The presentation was led by another former journalist, someone who once worked at the same national daily where I had started as a fledgling reporter. He adeptly set up each story by depicting what was going on at the time, then taking a step back to see what actually happened as markets unpredictably turned.
For good reason, the crowd around me roared with laughter as each short-term prediction turned into quicksand. But I had to step outside. After more than two decades as a financial journalist, my presence at the seminar came on the heels of my leaving journalism to work full-time as an investment writer at Index Fund Advisors.
I must admit to feeling rather contrite in walking out the door that day in Santa Monica. Even though none of the bylines presented were mine, the irony was clear. I had to confront again a very unpleasant truth.
Too much of my reporting over the years has wound up amounting to little more than noise in a media marketplace filled with over-hyped claims of stock picking prowess.
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