JOURNALIST Q&A: Lauren Young

As a senior writer at SmartMoney, Lauren Young covers mutual funds, writes cover stories, and serves as the face of the personal-business magazine in television appearances on programs such as NBC's Today show and CNN's American Morning. A 10-year veteran of Dow Jones newswires and magazines, she's also become an invaluable resource to friends and family looking for investment advice. Here, she talks to PRWeek about finding sources, recommending stocks, and interviewing Michael Oxley, a co-sponsor of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the landmark corporate-reform legislation.

As a senior writer at SmartMoney, Lauren Young covers mutual funds, writes cover stories, and serves as the face of the personal-business magazine in television appearances on programs such as NBC's Today show and CNN's American Morning. A 10-year veteran of Dow Jones newswires and magazines, she's also become an invaluable resource to friends and family looking for investment advice. Here, she talks to PRWeek about finding sources, recommending stocks, and interviewing Michael Oxley, a co-sponsor of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the landmark corporate-reform legislation.

PRWeek: The financial media has a different relationship with PR and IR people than mainstream or leisure publications. What relationship do you have with PR professionals? Do they pitch you to write about their company's funds? Lauren Young: Because the magazine has a financial side and a personal side, we try to do a thorough job of talking to the company, their competitors, analysts, and people who have been investors. Being a monthly, we have the time to do that. The most valuable people facilitate that. But I have found that PR people, even if they can't help me or if their pitch isn't something I would write about, are always terrific resources for finding anecdotes for stories. They usually have a friend or an uncle or a grandmother who comes in handy when I have to find someone who is over 100 and jogs. I have a big master anecdote list. PRWeek: When recommending an investment to readers, what consideration do you give to the company's reputation in comparison to its stock or fund performance? Young: Performance is one component, but it's not the only thing we look at. There are so many things that go into any recommendation. The reputation of the company, the people behind it, the information available, and the balance sheet are all very important. The balance sheet is more important than people think. If a company's fund does well, but they don't know how to run their business, then we won't recommend it. PRWeek: In the August issue, you interviewed Rep. Michael Oxley (R-OH). What was he like, and how has Sarbanes-Oxley affected the magazine's coverage of the market? Young: I haven't really felt it. People who I talk to regularly have told me that because of [Sarbanes-Oxley] they're not going to be as chatty, but they have been pulling back a lot recently anyway. This has been a long time coming. At SmartMoney, we've been arguing for it. We've had manifestos saying the same thing that's been brought to light now. When I talked to Oxley, I wanted to find out what motivated him. Usually with these government figures, they have a reason for taking up a cause. I wanted to know if he owned mutual funds and if he was wronged. He does own several good funds, but I didn't have the time to find where it was coming from. ----- Name: Lauren Young Publications: SmartMoney Title: Senior writer Preferred contact method: lyoung@hearst.com Website: smartmoney.com

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