Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Has Chalkie left the building?

Is this a first?

The Chalkie column in the business section of today’s Dominion Post has a footnote identifying the writer as finance journalist David Hargreaves.

The Chalkie column has been around for many years, in more than one publication (it was previously in the late Warren Berryman’s Independent), but to the best of my knowledge, has always previously been anonymous. The column appears to have been modelled on The National Business Review's Shoeshine, which goes back even further.

The general assumption seemed to be that Chalkie was someone directly involved in the sharemarket who, for obvious reasons, didn’t want his or her identity revealed. It was read for its inside knowledge and often irreverent tone rather than for the quality of its writing.

With today’s column, however, I detect a distinct change of tone. Hargreaves writes like a journalist. Chalkie never did.

My guess (and I stress it’s purely a guess) is that the real Chalkie has left the building and Hargreaves has taken over. If I’m right, the column will almost certainly be written in a more orthodox journalistic style – but will the information be as good?

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