Just as I was putting the finishing touches to last week's editorial, a tweet from a colleague popped up. It drew attention to an article on the Guardian's website, postulating that traditional-style editorials are pointless and few people bother reading them.
The peg for this particular polemic was the decision by the Pulitzer committee, which gives out prizes for writing in the US, not to make an award in respect of editorial writing this year, despite a shortlist of eight (it didn't make an award for fiction, either).
Editorials are too preachy for the online zeitgeist, the thinking goes. Op-ed in magazines should be a conversation with readers, as it often is online, not a lecture at them. It's a valid point, so let's get talking. Instead of my thoughts about the euro or this week's lousy GDP figures, here's a response to the things on your minds.
Several people have asked me about the conventions used in our company results and tips. There's a very comprehensive guide to these on our website at http://bit.ly/TablesGuide. But briefly, we express net debt as a percentage of shareholders' funds, not market value. For the tables, we use only statutory historic pretax profit and earnings figures, but brokers' forecasts are often expressed as 'adjusted' or 'underlying' - so the price-earnings ratio cited in the text may be different from the one in the table.
The directors deals page went absent without leave during the March results season because pagination can only increase or decrease in multiples of eight. When we have a lot of results to fit in, occasionally it's easier to drop pages than add them. But I would never permanently remove a regular page from the magazine without explaining myself first.
On the subject of feedback, if you've more thoughts to share with us about the magazine or the website, we're currently running an online survey. It takes about ten minutes to complete and there's a £500 prize draw. See www.investorschronicle.co.uk/survey.
We had a great response to Moira O'Neill's column last week about investing in your 80s. "At last, someone has realised that there are IC readers in their 80s who haven’t relapsed into some trance-like funded state," commented one reader. Many agreed with us that you shouldn't abandon equities for fixed income just because you're old.
Talking of age, the final word goes to reader Philip Jagger, who wrote in to tell me that the combined age of board directors at silver miner Fresnillo is 932 years. The eldest is 80, the youngest 51 - and there are 14 of them in total. "Let's hope the boardroom is on the ground floor," he quips.
■ Would you like to see more discussions like this, or do you prefer traditional editorials? Vote at www.investorschronicle.co.uk/comment! (the poll is at the bottom right of the page). Or leave comments below...
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