The state of business journalism
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Business journalism needs to move past simply producing market-moving news and provide analysis and a better understanding of what’s going on in the business and economic world, according to a panel of top business journalists in the country.
“We have the highest possible aspirations for journalism across the world,” said Stephen Adler, the editor in chief of Reuters, on Thursday. “It’s important to the organization to do absolutely the best possible journalism.”
Adler, as well as Bloomberg News chief content officer Norm Pearlstine and Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson, spoke at the opening session of the fall Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in New York. The conference is being held at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and about 100 people attending the opening session.
“In the past few years, we have taken the consumer market more seriously,” said Pearlstine, noting Bloomberg acquisition of BusinessWeek and the expansion of Bloomberg Television, as well as the launch of Bloomberg Government.
“That intersection of business and government is where we’re going to find a lot of stories,” said Pearlstine. He said that Bloomberg was making money with Bloomberg.com and BusinessWeek.com. The print magazine, now called Bloomberg Businessweek, is still losing money, added Pearlstine, but “it’s a lot less.”
Thomson noted that the Journal is providing more international content and printing more pages of news than it did before it was acquired by News Corp. in 2007. “Circulation revenue has been increasing,” said Thomson, who later noted that the Wall Street Journal online network, which includes Marketwatch.com and Barrons.com, gets 500 million page views a month.
“We’re trying to anticipate how people will read you and when people will read you,” said Thomson.
When asked why the Journal has become more of a mainstream newspaper, Thomson replied that it’s seeking more high-demographic readers that advertisers like, and it produces more content for its Internet operations.
Pearlstine, who was managing editor of the Journal in the 1980s, noted that the paper is significantly larger today than it was when he edited the paper.
Adler said that the Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer has the highest regard for quality journalism, which makes it easier for him to push the news team to produce quality journalism. And Pearlstine noted that being consistent in producing its content is the biggest challenge.
When asked whether Reuters would ever launch a print product to compete against the Journal and Bloomberg’s print products, Adler wouldn’t count it out.
But he also replied, “There are a lot of ways readers consume news. My view of it is you end up wanting to provide people opportunities to consume news the way they want to. Maybe the tablet becomes the way we have a very rich platform that takes care of our extraordinary photography and videos.”
Adler also had good news for the business journalists in the audience, noting that Reuters and Bloomberg had hired hundreds of new journalists in the past few years.
“We’re hiring,” said Adler. “That’s a good way to soften up a crowd.”
Check out the Talking Biz News Twitter feed at #talkingbiznews for more comments and statements from Adler, Pearlstine and Thomson.