An important milestone in Bloomberg’s maturation
David Schlesinger, the former editor in chief of Reuters, writes about the Bloomberg scandal where his former rival has been criticized for allowing its reporters to access information on how Wall Street bankers are using their Bloomberg terminals.
Schlesinger writes, “One is what everyone has been focussing on: the fact that Bloomberg in addition to looking at aggregated usage data like any modern, business-oriented media company should, seems to have crossed the line into looking at companies and individuals. In addition to the privacy concerns, there’s the very real issue that trading strategies could be compromised if ever the usage data got too granular (Has company A stopped reading about China and started reading about Turkey? Does it seem like company B is interested in fixed income instead of equities these days?)
“But the other is about companies that get too big and too arrogant… and about how when they stumble there’s an unmistakable Schadenfreude. There’s a lot of piling on at the moment. Competitors feel glee (and relief); clients sense an opportunity to renegotiate; fellow journalists jump at the chance to take the powerful down a peg.
“My guess is that this will be an important milestone in Bloomberg’s maturation as a company. The necessary lines between commerce and journalism will be reaffirmed (But let’s remember how brave Bloomberg was already in publishing its bravura China series at the risk of considerable financial harm). Ethical boundaries will be rethought and retaught, hopefully throughout the industry.
“And Bloomberg’s news and terminal business will in the end continue to be judged on the one question that Wall Street really cares about: ‘Does it help us make money?'”
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