Bloomberg’s Richardson quits over handling of China story
Ben Richardson has resigned from Bloomberg News after 13 years to protest editors’ handling of an investigative piece reported from China – a story his bosses feared would get them expelled from the country, reports Jim Romenesko.
Romenesko writes, “Richardson, who was an editor at large for Asia news (he edited the enterprise stories and columns), writes in an email: ‘I left Bloomberg because of the way the story was mishandled, and because of how the company made misleading statements in the global press and senior executives disparaged the team that worked so hard to execute an incredibly demanding story.’
“Throughout the process, the threat of legal action has hung over our heads if we talked — and still does. That has meant that senior management have had an open field to spin their own version of events. Suffice to say, what you read in the NYT and FT [both stories linked above] was a fair summation.
Clearly, there needs to be a robust debate about how the media engages with China. That debate isn’t happening at Bloomberg. Clark Hoyt supposedly reviewed the story and declared that it wasn’t ready for publication. But, to my knowledge, he didn’t ring or contact any of the team who worked on the story to discuss it. We don’t even know which version of the story he reviewed. Certainly the final version that I saw had been gutted and narrowed down so much that it could be dismissed as a story about ‘a bankrupt theatre chain’. The reporters who worked on the story for months didn’t get to review the copy before it was unilaterally spiked on a conference call with a ludicrous amount of top brass.”
Read more here.
Richardson has been government and policy editor for North Asia. He ran the company’s financial coverage in Asia, and before that he was responsible for the stock market team. He also had stints on commodities, energy, and corporate finance, and was the training editor for the region for two years. Before Bloomberg, Richardson was a senior editor on the business desk of the South China Morning Post, and had stints on the Irish Times, Hong Kong Standard and Eastern Express.