OLD Media Moves

Bloomberg editor in chief critiques sourcing, attribution

January 7, 2010

Bloomberg editor in chief Matthew Winkler sent out a memo to the staff showing examples of improper — and proper sourcing and reminded reporters to be more vigilent in getting more precise comments from sources, according to the memo obtained by Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan.

The memo states, “‘Abu Dhabi may go after some pieces in exchange for bailout money, say analysts. While many analysts fear that Citi in particular isn’t ready to fly solo, the White House gave its blessing.’

“((Not all analysts are created equal. Some are more insightful or accurate. Providing names and credentials would make their points more credible.))

“‘More broadly, governance experts worry the new board is overreaching.’

“((While this sentence sets up the story, no governance experts are quoted as worrying.))

“‘Pandit’s hoping to hash out a plan in the next week or so, say people familiar with the situation.’

“((Adding the number of people and how they are aware of the plans would make this more credible. The most accurate people are those taking part in the action.))

“These quotes add little that would require anonymity and would gain credibility by adding the person’s name and credentials:

“‘We were dark for a very long time,’ says a senior executive who is helping find a new CMO.

“‘Why would I buy AOL?’ asks a large media investor. ‘It would largely be a bet on Tim, given what he was able to do at Google.’

“These attributions meet our standards:

“The board batted the proposal back, say three people familiar with the meeting.

“One of the three private equity directors asked if GM could buy an engine from someone else, say two people with knowledge of the meeting.”

Read more here.

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