OLD Media Moves

No forward spin in BW stories written by Bloomberg staffers

December 5, 2009

Former BusinessWeek staff writer Gary Weiss notes that the content in the first issue of the magazine under Bloomberg ownership has some telling keys as to how the magazine’s journalism will change — particularly the lack of a forward-looking spin in one article written by Bloomberg writers.

Weiss writes, “But the main thing that struck me was the writing style — flat, and lacking in what we used to call ‘forward spin.’ The way BW articles have traditionally been written, a point of view was always present even in the briefest article. By the end, or ‘kicker,’ you knew what the writer (actually the magazine itself, given the group editing) thought about the subject matter. It was formulaic and perhaps hackneyed, but it worked. Here is a good example of what I’m talking about, a Matt Goldstein article from 2007. Note that it has a particular point of view, which the Paulson article lacks.

“The Paulson article begins by raising a question it doesn’t (and really can’t) answer, which is whether Paulson is a ‘one megahit wonder.’ No analysis, no stab at ‘forward spin.’ Instead we have a competent article that, I believe, breaks news by describing Paulson’s latest and not-so-great investment returns.

“By the way, if it is a news beat, why doesn’t the article say so? Why did I have to go to Google News to find out if it is? Why doesn’t it say ‘according to documents obtained by BW’ or something like that? The reader ought to know if he’s reading it in BW first. And the magazine should not be afraid to thump its chest a bit if it has a scoop, even a minor one.

“In all, a nice piece, but basically not dramatically different than what you’d find in Bloomberg.”

Read more here.

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