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MoreLIP: We already miss Walter Cronkite. The standards he demanded, the demeanor he exhibited, have helped make all of us better communicators.

07/19/2009 — George Lipper, Development Capital Networks

I had just finished reading Andrea Mitchell’s excellent autobiographical 'Talking Back', the story of her journalistic career, most of which covered the years of journalism's fact-checking era. It is a wonderful story of her ascendancy up the news-reporting ladder from Philadelphia City Hall to international prominence. As I mulled her accomplishments, my TV screen suddenly triggered a 'breaking news' alert. Walter Cronkite died. It choked me up. He was everything I aspired to as a reporter. From celebrating Andrea Mitchell's contributions to mourning Cronkite's passing in seconds.

‘That’s the way it is,’ Cronkite would conclude.

We miss that quality of objectivity in today’s reporting. The cycle of news has changed so dramatically into a 24-7 routine. Today, more information is offered in hours then was available in days a generation ago. More material is gathered to meet the insatiable demands of cable and internet competition for audience share. We rarely get to a ‘that’s the way it is’ moment, where we can weigh the quality of what we read, or see, or hear. There is precious little time to even think about how it is, much less than what it means. And much of it is not fact-checked before it is reported.

I doubt that’s good for democracy.


I have a lot of respect for the venture capital industry, but have become a little skeptical of its contradictions. A couple of recent industry claims provide a good example. In one, venture capitalists claim that the industry should be left alone by government; not subjected to the SEC move to bring the industry under its supervisory umbrella. In another, venture capitalists strenuously argue that VC-supported companies should be given the opportunity to be eligible to compete for SBIR/STTR grants. Taken together, it suggests venture capitalists want governmental consideration for funding of their funded companies, but want no part of government when it comes to SEC oversight.

Speaking of venture capital, second quarter statistics are being unveiled this week by both the NVCA/ PricewaterhouseCoopers Money Tree and Dow Jones VentureOne. While there appears to be slightly more funding parceled out in Q2 than Q1, it is hardly enough to write home about. Dow Jones VentureOne is no longer making state-by-state figures available to the public. I don't know yet if the same is true of Money Tree. Perhaps it's a bit uncomfortable to have us reporting, quarter after quarter, that a third of the states don't see a dime.