Right Here, Right Now

An editor’s dream at any trade publication is to have a breaking story of national importance in its field, particularly if it is a complex one. As editor of Traders Magazine, I have to admit how gratifying it has been this year to see stories covered at major news outlets that had already appeared here first, either in print or online. It is never bad to be first with a story. High-frequency trading, flash orders, co-location and sponsored access are in our sweet spot, and they all got plenty of attention in national publications. Truth be told, I also think we did a better job than the other outlets in explaining the issues when we did go head-to-head with them. But please forgive a proud editor for his moment of basking in the fine work of his staff.

During the flash order brouhaha this summer, one blogger, much to my surprise, gave Traders Magazine credit for being on top of the issue months before it became a national story. For the most part, trade publications like this one work in the shadows, gearing their specific coverage to their audience of knowledgeable professionals. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we did a cover story on high-frequency trading as far back as October 2008. But we are supposed to be ahead of the curve; that’s our job.

Unfortunately, there was plenty of confusion during the flash-order debate, as it often got confused with high-frequency trading. Some of it stemmed from mistakes made by the press, but the news media weren’t alone. There were also people within the trading business who muddied the water with their own inaccurate comments. That’s the price we pay for having an industry that might be more complicated than health care.

Still, it is safe to say that 2009 has been the year of the regulator. You’ll notice in this issue’s coverage of the top stories of the year that the Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress are involved in a number of them. Staffers Peter Chapman and Nina Mehta did a super job this year staying on top of the regulatory issues driving the industry. Chapman also did fine work on two separate cover stories: the March Bernard Madoff piece, "Before the Fall," and the October story on trading speed, "Race to Zero." I’m optimistic that 2010 will be a good year. Enjoy the issue, and of course, the holidays. See you next year.



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