BethMellor’s Weblog

Postgraduate journalism, news and views.

The Bloomberg Way: Journalism in its Purest Form

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Bloomberg Offices

Bloomberg Offices

My journalism class recently visited the Bloomberg offices in London to find out about Bloomberg’s approach to news reporting and the career opportunities they offer. Whilst it seems as if all of us were impressed by the spectacular Norman Foster architecture, the free food available all day in the huge ‘office pantry’ and the AmEx cards dished out to journalists to cover work-related expenses, several of my classmates later expressed criticism about the corporate atmosphere and lack of journalistic creativity in the offices. Others expressed concern that Bloomberg reporters are perhaps unable to take a genuinely critical look at the businesses they write about because their revenue, after all, comes from those very same businesses – through their subscriptions for the pricey Bloomberg terminals.

I disagree with these criticisms. Whilst reporting on financial and business news is of course not of interest to everyone, these types of criticism seem to place expectations upon Bloomberg that are beyond its remit – to provide the fastest and most accurate business news to investors and traders to enable them to do their jobs. More creative, analytical or investigative journalism is of no interest to Bloomberg’s clients, who simply need to know what is going on as quickly as possible. This, dare I say, represents journalism in its purest form – the simple provision of information – albeit for a corporate audience.

As for the charge that Bloomberg reporters cannot criticise businesses and business practices, this too is outside of their remit. Journalists at Bloomberg are not there to act as a business watchdog but to act as an information provider, as unromantic an interpretation of journalism as this may be.

Finally, part of Bloomberg’s philosophy is, they say, to make their stories easy enough “for your great-aunt to understand”. Translating financial concepts and business jargon into clear and concise stories accessible to the general public takes intelligence, talent and creativity – though of a different sort than the traditional, literary (and perhaps short-sighted) sense of the word.

Written by bethmellor

October 19, 2008 at 5:46 pm

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