How Bloomberg and Reuters are changing journalism
Osnos writes, “Because Bloomberg is privately owned, it is hard to know just how profitable it is, but every indication is that it has come through the prolonged financial crisis since 2008 without any meaningful loss of momentum. Thomson Reuters is a more complicated situation. According to a recent takeout in the Wall Street Journal, the Thomson family and its investment arm, Woodbridge, which controls the majority of shares in the enterprise, is ‘impatient with the company’s performance.’ Like Bloomberg, Thomson Reuter’s revenue is significantly tied to its sales of sophisticated and extensive material, to Wall Street, and to the international banking community through its markets division. Over the summer, Thomson Reuters restructured the markets division, leading to the departure of six top executives. The division now reports to Tom Glocer, CEO of Thomson Reuters, who led Reuters into the deal with Thomson. The stock price of Thomson Reuters has been lagging, and posted a fifty-two-week low recently, a drop of almost 20 percent this year.
“But assuming the shake-up on the financial side and the strengthening of its already formidable news operation gain the necessary traction, its competition with Bloomberg will be a vitally important aspect of how journalism is adapting to the continuing turbulence in the industry. The Washington Post Company’s stock is down by about a third this year, largely because of pressure on its Kaplan educational division in the aftermath of disclosures about the practices of for-profit educational companies. The Los Angeles Times has just let laid off another group of staffers, including several highly respected reporters. While the New York Times has come through the crisis it seemed to be facing two years ago, most legacy print news organizations are still casting about for the right combination of digital and traditional advertising and circulation revenues.
“With so much uncertainty elsewhere in the news business, the robust competition between Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg looms especially large in the overall future of news gathering. With thousands of reporters and strong leadership teams, both companies are bound to be factors in the news business in the digital age, even if their overwhelming profitability is tied to financial data.”
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