Bloomberg News reaffirms ban on covering itself
Bloomberg News editor-in-chief Matt Winkler has rejected an internal recommendation urging the company to change its policy and start covering itself, reports Peter Elkind of Fortune.
Elkind writes, “Covering yourself, of course, is awkward, but every other major media organization does it anyway. It’s standard journalism practice.
“At Bloomberg News, the ban on self-coverage has remained a formal part of The Bloomberg Way, Winkler’s all-encompassing rulebook, even as both the company and its majority shareholder became more newsworthy. Over time, this required ever-greater journalistic contortions.
“When Mike became New York’s mayor in 2002, for example, Winkler put a reporter in City Hall. But the coverage sometimes conspicuously excluded criticism of the mayor reported by every newspaper in town, as Editor & Publisher noted in a 2011 story discussing coverage of the mayor’s absence during a paralyzing blizzard.
“In 2012, Bloomberg News launched a global billionaires’ list, to rival the annual Forbes ranking. Although Forbes’ most recent version places Michael Bloomberg as the tenth-wealthiest American, with a $31 billion fortune, the mayor doesn’t appear in Bloomberg News’ tally. A special note explains that he ‘won’t be considered for this ranking’ because ‘Bloomberg News editorial policy is to not cover Bloomberg LP.’ Similarly, the company’s coverage of the financial data industry doesn’t include Bloomberg, even though it has the single biggest share of that market.
“In August, as part of a formal review of Bloomberg News practices triggered by a scandal in which company journalists were revealed to have special access to certain customer data, Bloomberg editor-at-large Clark Hoyt, a former New York Times ombudsman, advised ending the ‘no-cover’ practice.”
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