OLD Media Moves

Pearlstine: I believe Winkler on China stories

November 14, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Norman Pearlstine, who recently left Bloomberg LP to return to Time Inc. as its chief content officer, said Thursday he believes Bloomberg editor in chief Matthew Winkler when he stated that the controversial stories about some of China’s elite were not ready to be published, reports Lucia Moses of Adweek.

Moses writes, “As it often does when native advertising is the topic, the conversation turned to Forbes, which has been one of the more aggressive users of the format. Forbes’ BrandVoice ads aren’t explicitly labeled as sponsored or advertising content, a distinction that some have criticized. With Forbes CEO Mike Perlis in the audience a few tables away, Pearlstine said that ‘some parts of [Forbes’ model] I wouldn’t be comfortable with,’ adding that ‘I do see labeling as critical.’

“The Q&A took place as Time Inc. prepares to spin off from Time Warner next year and is challenged to drum up new sources of revenue to fund investments as its core magazine business is shrinking. Pearlstine acknowledged the need to look at possible efficiencies and growth opportunities, but said he that felt Time Inc. could move faster as an independent company. Video and mobile are obvious areas of interest, but Time Inc. also has the opportunity to create new products for its audiences that cut across, say, its women’s brands, he said.

“Pearlstine came from the same position at Bloomberg LP, which has been expanding beyond its financial and data roots into the news business. Moving beyond Time Inc., he expressed concern about the news media’s ability to support quality reporting. ‘We’ve not yet come up with a business model to support the journalism needed for a free society,’ he said.

“He also was questioned about a recent front-page story by The New York Times alleging Bloomberg censored its China coverage. Pearlstine, who once led The Wall Street Journal’s Asia expansion, said any news outlet that goes to China runs the risk of government censorship. Taking the high ground with his old employer, he said he ‘take[s]’ Bloomberg News editor in chief Matt Winkler ‘at his word’ when he told him that the story in question wasn’t ready for publication. Bloomberg’s business in China—which he estimated at 2,000 to 2,500 terminals, a tiny fraction of the total—wasn’t big enough to put its journalistic integrity at risk anyway, he said.”

Read more here.

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