Tag Archives: Bloomberg


Journalists chortle as Bloomberg CEO preaches press freedom


Andrew Kirell of Mediaite writes that many journalists in attendance made snide remarks Tuesday night when Bloomberg CEO Daniel Doctoroff chaired the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) annual International Press Freedom Awards dinner.

Kirell writes, “The irony was not lost on the journalists in the room, many of whom laughed and pointed out the bizarre situation.

“Bloomberg News has come under fire recently for suspending its Hong Kong-based reporter Michael Forsythe several weeks ago. According to The New York Times, employees claim that Bloomberg EIC Matthew Winkler refused to publish Forsythe’s long-form investigations into collusion between the Chinese government and powerful businessmen there.

“The same sources characterized the move as ‘self-censorship’ to protect the news organization from angering Chinese leaders and losing access. ‘If we run the story, we’ll be kicked out of China,’ Winkler allegedly told other staffers.

“Bloomberg’s top execs, including outgoing NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, denied such accusations.

“And yet, throughout Doctoroff’s speech, tables full of journalists were noticeably making comments and laughing at the irony of the situation. According to several attendees, there was an almost collective grumbling while Doctoroff spoke at length about the importance of press freedom during an event advocating for greater protections for international journalists.”

Read more here.

Dan Doctoroff

Media figures support Bloomberg regarding China


Leading figures at old and new American news outlets defended Bloomberg LP CEO Dan Doctoroff’s role at a celebration of press freedom on a day when Bloomberg faced intense criticism over reports that it bowed to the Chinese government.

Rosie Gray and Ben Smith of BuzzFeed write, “Doctoroff chaired the annual Press Freedom Awards dinner of the Committee to Protect Journalists at Manhattan’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, where host Scott Pelley denounced ‘those who censor, those who harm, and those who silence journalists’ before introducing Doctoroff, who called on the press to ‘stand together.’

“Bloomberg is ‘innocent until proven guilty in my book,’ said CNBC host Jim Cramer. ‘Dan Doctoroff is a great guy.’

“‘I absolutely think it’s appropriate for Bloomberg to chair this event,’ said the writer Kati Marton, a member of the group’s board of directors and the widow of the diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who said of the reports Bloomberg had killed a story about a top Chinese figure: ‘I wouldn’t call it a scandal.’

“A founder of Vice, Suroosh Alvi, also defended Bloomberg. ‘I don’t have a problem with it,’ he said.”

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China journalist calls for Bloomberg CEO to resign from CPJ freedom award


A prominent Hong Kong-based journalist has called on Daniel Doctoroff, chief executive officer of Bloomberg L.P., to step down from his role as chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual International Press Freedom Awards dinner on Tuesday.

Emily Brill of ChinaFile.com writes, “Ying Chan, who was an honoree at the same dinner fifteen years ago, called on Doctoroff to relinquish CPJ’s podium in the wake of the suspension of Hong Kong-based Bloomberg reporter Michael Forsythe on November 13. Forsythe was a leading member of the company’s respected China news team. Bloomberg employees told The New York Times that Bloomberg’s Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler said the company would not publish the China team’s latest long-term investigations on the financial ties of China’s top leaders to powerful buinsess interests. The employees characterized Winkler’s moves as self-censorship to protect the company’s interests in China, the world’s second-largest economy, which lacks a free press.

“Winkler and Michael Bloomberg, the outgoing New York City Mayor who owns the company, have aggressively denied the self-censorship allegations, saying instead that the contested stories are not ready for publication.

“‘As a former recipient of the [CPJ’s] Press Freedom Award, I think Doctoroff should withdraw from the dinner or he should be disinvited,’ Chan, now a Professor of Journalism at Hong Kong University and the founder of its Journalism and Media Studies Center, said in an email.

“The CPJ Awards dinner on Tuesday is set to honor four journalists from Ecuador, Egypt, Turkey, and Vietnam who, the New York-based organization’s website says, ‘face imprisonment or other persecution for exposing realities.’ The CPJ 2013 International Press Freedom Awards, is, the site says, ‘an annual recognition of the courageous reporting that defines free media.’”

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Susan Li

CNBC hires Susan Li from Bloomberg Television


CNBC announced Tuesday that it has hired Bloomberg Television anchor Susan Li to work in its Asia operations.

Li’s new assignment will include coverage during CNBC’s core business day programming in Asia-Pacific. She will debut on the network shortly after the new year.

Li has been based in Hong Kong with Bloomberg television for the past several years, becoming the network’s main anchor in Asia as host of “First Up with Susan Li”. She has been at the center of its daily business coverage, interviewing world leaders and top business personalities, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Robin Li of Baidu, Credit Suisse’s Brady Dougan and Blackrock’s Larry Fink.

‪”Susan is a tremendous addition to our team,” said John Casey, CNBC’s senior vice president of international news and programming, in a statement. “We always promise to bring our viewers the best possible business news content, and one way we do that is by having the strongest on-air team, bar none. Having Susan on our team strengthens that commitment to our audience.”

“I have long admired CNBC’s dedication to excellence,” said Li in a statement. “I am excited to be joining its team of talented and knowledgeable journalists, and look forward to working with them to deliver the kind of business news coverage that can only be found on CNBC.”

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Change in news mission at Bloomberg LP


Interviews with current and former Bloomberg employees show that the business and news operations exist in uneasy tension, and occasionally collide, reports the New York Times in an article for Monday’s paper.

Amy Chozick, Nathaniel Popper, Edward Wong and David Carr write, “Against this backdrop, some top executives have begun to question the role of the company’s news operation. Executives on the business side insist that short bursts of market-moving news, not prize-winning investigative journalism, are what Bloomberg’s paying customers want. Editors are increasingly asked to send only brief, bullet-point news reports to terminals — easily digestible facts for traders and hedge fund managers.

“‘To the bankers that run the place, you have a redheaded stepchild that is a rounding error in the scheme of things that is managing to create a lot of trouble,’ one news employee said.

“This person, like the more than two dozen current and former business and news executives interviewed for this article, agreed to discuss the company’s operations but insisted on anonymity, citing strict nondisclosure agreements.

“In an interview last week, Mr. Doctoroff said the backlash this spring over reporters’ monitoring of clients ‘did prompt self-reflection,’ and one senior executive said the mayor’s return would be a ‘reset’ moment for the company.”

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Bloomberg News announces promotions of editors


Bloomberg News editor in chief Matt Winkler sent out the following promotions to the staff on Friday:

We are pleased to announce promotions in Laurie Hays‘ Beat Reporting group that will further our ambitions to break important stories and follow them up with first-rate depth reporting. These positions are, for the most part, new and an exciting step to advance the enterprise produced by Bloomberg News.

Katherine Snyder, who built Bloomberg’s global deals team, will become executive editor for breaking news. John Brecher, one of our most experienced editors who has handled columns and series, will work with executive editors and their teams on enterprise across all beat reporting groups also as an executive editor. Both Katherine and John will report to Laurie.

Dan Golden, a Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter who has been a cornerstone of our education coverage, will succeed Jonathan Kaufman as managing editor for education and enterprise in company news. He will report to Jonathan.

Winnie O’Kelley, who joined us from the New York Times nine months ago as an editor at large, becomes managing editor of a newly-formed global financial crimes group that will report to Finance Executive Editor Otis Bilodeau. Sara Forden, our antitrust reporter in D.C., will report to Winnie as team leader of the reporters based in Washington and New York. Heather Smith, a deputy team leader for the Europe tech group in London, will run the European arm of the team.

Jeff McCracken, team leader for M&A in the U.S. and a key to the team’s success in the last few years, takes over from Katherine as managing editor of the global M&A team. He will report to Jonathan Kaufman. Jeff is succeeded as team leader by Mohammed Hadi, who recently moved to New York from Hong Kong where he helped oversee Asian deals coverage and edited the Real M&A columns.

Edward Evans, the finance team leader in London who has most recently managed our groundbreaking coverage of FX manipulation and Monte dei Paschi, is now deputy Managing Editor for finance globally, reporting to Finance Managing Editor Christine Harper. Simone Meier, who covered economic and political news in Switzerland, France, Germany and Ireland before joining the UK finance team last year, succeeds Edward as team leader.

Michael Forsythe

Where will China reporter Mike Forsythe land?


Michael Forsythe, the former Bloomberg News reporter who left the organization earlier this week after he was suspended for allegedly leaking that the company wasn’t publishing sensitive stories in China, is now looking for another job.

And it appears that the New York Times is the frontrunner for his services.

Editors at the Times would not comment, and all Forsythe would say when contacted by Talking Biz News is “I am unemployed. I am looking for a job and talking to lots of people.”

But the Times makes sense. It is the only news organization left in China that has been doing the hard-hitting journalism investigating the financial connections and business dealings of the country’s leaders that Bloomberg had been publishing until recently. For example, the Times recently published this story about JP Morgan’s relationship with the daughter of a former Chinese prime minister.

Chinese media organizations such as Caixin, a hard-hitting business magazine, would be unlikely to hire Forsythe because the stories he would write would likely be censored, and the Chinese government would likely prevent his hiring.

But foreign-based media organizations, such as the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal, could be a fit for Forsythe, currently based in Hong Kong, because they often produce hard-hitting stories about China. Reuters might be an option, but the financial wire recently announced that it was cutting 5 percent of its editorial jobs.

Forsythe, who is proficient in Mandarin, was the lead writer when Bloomberg won the Polk Award (among many other awards) for documenting the wealth of relatives of Xi Jinping, the current president of China.

Some expressed concerns that Forsythe might have legal trouble being hired by another news organization, but a person familiar with media and human resources law told Talking Biz News there should be no issues with anyone wanting to hire the journalist.


The fallout for Bloomberg in China, and in its newsroom


Matt Schiavenza of The Atlantic writes about the implications surrounding Bloomberg News and reports that it has held up publishing articles in China deemed sensitive to the government.

Schiavenza writes, “The story, in many ways, is just beginning, and there are many unanswered questions. Will Bloomberg ultimately decide to publish a version of the story? And, if so, how will Beijing react? And, when Forsythe lands on his feet, what will he say?

“But these details obscure the larger point about the story. If Edward Wong’s reporting is true, and there’s still little reason to suspect that it isn’t, then the Chinese government has successfully intimidated a major American news organization into killing a story that the government deemed offensive. And not just any story, either—a major investigative report on a subject central to any understanding of contemporary China, a subject on which a similar report last year won The New York Times a Pulitzer Prize.

“The cynical explanation for Bloomberg’s decision to spike the story is that the parent company wanted to protect its lucrative terminal business, which helps sponsor Bloomberg operations worldwide. But the other explanation—that the company didn’t want to forfeit its access to China—is no less comforting. After all, what is the purpose of having access if a news organization refuses to run stories that displeasure the Chinese Communist Party? George Orwell’s famous quote on the purpose of journalism—that it consists of printing what someone else does not want printed—is especially vital in China, a country where the domestic media lack the wherewithal to do the investigations themselves.

“In agreeing to report on Wang Jianlin’s wealth, Mike Forsythe and Shai Oster understood that they were risking their safety to write the truth. Whether they knew that the greater risk would come from their own employer is another question.”

Read more here.


Bloomberg TV online

Fear and anxiety at Bloomberg Television


Peter Lauria of BuzzFeed writes Tuesday about the review currently being undertaken at Bloomberg Television by top executives.

Lauria writes, “According to sources, Smith, who last month embarked on a 100-day strategic review of Bloomberg’s operations, has had little direct communication with the TV staff as a whole. While Smith set up his office across from Lack’s among the TV staff — allowing for frequent ‘floor walks’ — sources said that aside from a weekly staff note and a lone appearance on a recent daily TV editorial meeting a few weeks ago where he talked up the importance of linear television to Bloomberg’s future, Smith has not addressed the staff en masse. Sources said about 30 executives from the TV group have been enlisted to advise Smith during his strategic review.

“‘To me that indicates that layoffs are coming,’ said a second Bloomberg source. ‘He doesn’t want to rub elbows with any of us too quickly.’

“Already, rumors are swirling among producers and booking agents of a ‘massive round of layoffs’ before the end of the year. Some evidence has already emerged to suggest the rumor isn’t crazy — in addition to the 34 layoffs announced Monday, just last week the company said it would close the unit that produced 60-second market reports for 200 TV stations across the country, though it is looking to reassign rather than lay off its 10 employees.

“‘We are communicating incrementally and trying to be as transparent as possible. When thinking about something anew, it will inevitably cause some anxiety and concern,’ Smith said in an interview with Buzzfeed. He declined to comment directly on the possibility of layoffs, however.”

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Bloomberg terminal 2

The evolution of Bloomberg News


Felix Salmon of Reuters writes about how Bloomberg News is changing in the wake of layoffs this week and a disclosure earlier this month that it was not publishing sensitive stories in China.

Salmon writes, “I got a phone call this afternoon from one Bloomberg employee of very long standing, who used terms like ‘Lord of the Flies’ and ‘culture of fear’; he said that he had never seen anything like this during his long career at the company. Employees were even reportedly flocking to the local Starbucks to view the latest NMA video about Bloomberg News on their phones, because they didn’t dare watch it on their work computers.

“If you take a step back from the chaos, however, it’s possible to see the beginnings of a deep change in how the Bloomberg newsroom is run. The message I’m getting from the layoffs is that Bloomberg is finally growing out of Winkler’s insecurities, and is beginning to shape the newsroom into more of a means to an end, and less of an end in itself.

“To understand what’s going on, it’s important to have a vague feel for where the power really lies within Bloomberg LP. Winkler is undoubtedly a powerful man — he oversaw the rise and rise of Bloomberg News, and he is a close confidante of Bloomberg, co-writing Bloomberg’s autobiography along the way. But while Winkler is powerful, he’s no Tom Secunda. Secunda, a co-founder of the company, is the other Bloomberg billionaire, the man in charge of basically everything which makes money at Bloomberg. And Secunda is the opposite of a romantic press baron: all he’s interested in is profitability.

“Winkler’s enormous achievement, of building one of the world’s foremost news organizations from scratch, required an aggressive, underdog spirit. Bloomberg News is a highly competitive organization, and Winkler wanted to beat everybody, on everything, all the time. His goal for Bloomberg News was always that it be faster, broader, deeper, more accurate, more trustworthy — on every story, compared to every competitor.

“That goal, however, put Winkler at odds, to some degree, with Secunda, whose only priority is client service, and giving Bloomberg subscribers whatever they want. And it turns out that Bloomberg subscribers, although they definitely want market-moving news ahead of anybody else, are much less fussed about the broad mass of news stories which don’t move markets.”

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