Joe Weisenthal, the executive editor of news for Bloomberg Digital and the co-host of Bloomberg Televison’s “What’d You Miss?” and the podcast “Odd Lots,” spoke with the Longform podcast about his career.
On leaving Business Insider to join Bloomberg to host a television show, Weisenthal said, “If I don’t say yes to this, then I can never say yes to anything again because when else am I going to get a chance in life to co-host a TV show?
“Even if it’s terrible, and I’m terrible at it, and it’s cancelled after three months, and everyone thinks it’s awful, for the rest of my life, I’ll be able to say I co-hosted a cable TV show. And so I was like, you know what, I have to say yes to this.”
Weisenthal said he never thought he would get into journalism while in high school but was always interested in markets. He graduated from the University of Texas in 2002 in international relations but didn’t start writing about finance until 2008.
He moved to New York in 2004 to work for a small market research firm. A year later, he started writing a blog about markets and economics topics as a way to keep on top of the news.
“I would dread going back and looking at those early posts,” said Weisenthal about the blog, which was called TheStalwart.com.
He joined Business Insider in 2008 and started reading tons of sell-side research from Wall Street firms on various economics and markets topics. They were important to Weisenthal to get a feel for the story lines about the economy and began to emulate the tone and pace of the reports, which were aimed at traders.
“They’re media creators,” said Weisenthal. “They’re in the same business that we are.”
Weisenthal, however, wanted to be more enthusiastic in his writing, getting excited about the upcoming jobs report or a Bank of Japan decision.
In late 2009 or early 2010, Weisenthal realized that the economic crisis was coming to an end, and the basic Business Insider stories weren’t working anymore. So he started to write more about his own opinions, and Business Insider tried to hire more reporters like Weisenthal.
“We were all beginners at it, and it was really hard to manufacture it,” said Weisenthal. He said Business Insider had a “brutal culture” of eliminating content that wasn’t getting readership.
Weisenthal left Business Insider, where he rarely wore anything more than a T-shirt, for Bloomberg in 2014.
“It’s weird every day putting on a suit,” said Weisenthal.