The Business Press Maven caught some reporters committing some good basic journalism on General Motors' ( GM) layoffs this week. Instead of setting up investors to be blindsided by future write-offs, the media showed some of their finer instincts, setting the table for investors with enough information to make some well-reasoned guesses about what may be coming. For this I want to say, what took you so long? We'll get to the answer. But first, a quiz: Name the one-two punch of poor coverage that might lead to more standing eight-counts for investors than anything else. Give up? Here it is: say, Company A, or, uh, Company GM, announces layoffs. The way it usually works is that on the announcement, the media simply report the number of workers to be kneecapped. The market, no moral steward, reacts with glad tidings to the sad news, and two things are reported: How many people the company plans to lay off and how the stock price popped as a result. The headline, in this endless cycle of affirmation we see so often, then becomes "Market Hot for Cold-Blooded Job Cuts," as if all the people the company cited for an axing had already gone home to clip coupons until they are lucky enough to be carted off to assisted living. It's the singular view of that form of coverage: the number of job cuts announced equated to the number of job cuts achieved. To which the Business Press Maven says: These reporters must be taking their minimum daily requirement of dopey pills. Bad, stenographers, bad! The reality, of course, is that what the company is almost always announcing are planned job cuts, so don't break your ankle tripping over your own foot to buy the stock. As for those responsible for reporting the news -- news not set in stone -- reporters have to realize that these announced numbers are usually a whole lot different from jobs already cut. Cutting jobs often involves buyout packages that may be accepted at hoped-for levels ... and may not. Cost savings might materialize ... or they might not.