Long-toothed journalists tackle Excel

Older professionals need to tackle math tools like electronic spreadsheets to keep with younger generation. Dead week begins at Businessweek and Baker tackles Microsoft Excel.
Stephen Baker

Dead week begins today at BusinessWeek. A double issue went to press last night, and we have no issue next week. Lots of people take a week off. But a few of us are gathering today for a class on electronic spreadsheets.

There's a generation gap in journalism, and I'm betting it exists in lots of word-based professions. Young people master tools like Microsoft Excel. The older gang, more often than not, doesn't. These tools are necessary, not just to do analysis of companies and trends, but also to create editorial products: charts, graphs, reports. To date, those of us in big companies have relied on graphics staffs to handle that work. But increasingly, we'll be called upon to create the content ourselves, especially as we put more of our work online.

As I've written before, all of us in lots of professions will have to come up with the skills to run our own show--whether we keep it in house or not. So off I go to learn Excel.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.