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Since 1996, Bloomberg Press has published books for financial professionals, as well as books of general interest in investing, economics, current affairs, and policy affecting investors and business people. Titles are written by well-known practitioners, Bloomberg reporters and columnists, and other leading authorities and journalists. Bloomberg Press books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

For a list of available titles, please visit our website at www.wiley.com/go/bloombergpress.

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Introduction

EVERY ARMY OF journalists needs its marching orders and rules of engagement. Ever since its founding in 1990, Bloomberg News has followed The Bloomberg Way. Written by Matt Winkler, our founder and editor-in-chief until 2015, it has been one of the most successful journalistic bibles of modern time. The Bloomberg Way has played a huge role in turning a tiny upstart, which began with just a dozen reporters crammed into two offices in New York and London, into the leading provider of financial and business news around the globe. Its first version, a guide to reporting and editing the story of money in all its forms, was a 30-page manifesto, inspired by The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White; its last edition was almost 10 times that length, encompassing far more than just financial markets and making it a resource for the world’s leading journalism schools.

Looking back, Matt’s starting point was a simple one: Bloomberg would follow standards that were at least as strict as its more established rivals—and often far stricter. This partly reflected the reality of competition. Bloomberg’s journalism is aimed at possibly the most sophisticated audience in the world, for whom accuracy is essential: Billions of dollars can move within seconds of a story being published. From the beginning, Matt made sure that there would never be an opportunity for any of our competitors to claim that we cut corners. Bloomberg News might have started as a guerilla army, but the Bloomberg Way meant that it was a highly trained and disciplined army, one that relied on facts, numbers and credible sources to break news.

The Bloomberg Way was always about more than just beating the competition. Its tough standards, and especially its ethical credo, also reflected the values of its author as well as those of the man who employed him. Ever since it first appeared in the then-opaque bond market in 1982, the Bloomberg Terminal has been a force for transparency: It gives customers the data they need to make decisions. When Mike Bloomberg rang the self-described “happiest reporter at the Wall Street Journal” on the second Wednesday in November 1989 to ask what it would take to get into the news business, Matt replied with a question of his own.

“All right,” I said. “You have just published a story that says the chairman—and I mean chairman—of your biggest customer has taken $5 million from the corporate till. He is with his secretary at a Rio de Janeiro resort, and the secretary’s spurned boyfriend calls to tip you off. You get an independent verification that the story is true. Then the phone rings. The customer’s public relations person says, ‘Kill the story or we will return all the terminals we rent from you.’ What would you do?” “Go with the story,” Mike said. “Our lawyers will love the fees you generate.”

It is not unusual for journalists to write about their customers, especially advertisers. But Bloomberg occupies a unique role in finance: We are in a way both its parish newsletter and its journal of record. By putting transparency and independence at the heart of Bloomberg’s journalism from the very beginning, Matt and Mike established something that could last. We will make mistakes—all journalists do—but they will not be ones that spring from bias or commercial interest. Indeed, our only interest is maintaining the value of what we do for the community that we serve—and that comes from telling the story as honestly as we can. Capitalism needs its chronicle—that is our job.

Given the success of the Bloomberg Way over the past quarter century, why have we decided to update it? Well, in one way, it is not changing at all. The basic principles are the same: Indeed, the very start of this book’s first chapter sets out Matt’s vision of the Bloomberg Way. It remains our credo, especially when it comes to questions of transparency and independence. The main aim of this edition is to apply those principles across all the platforms where Bloomberg journalism appears—and in many cases to tighten them. When an anchor on Bloomberg TV discusses the profitability of a company, we want him or her to highlight the same numbers as the reporter who covers the company. Bloomberg Businessweek has used shortened versions of company names; now it will use the same full names as the rest of the group. We are one newsroom. Henceforth, there will be one Bloomberg Way for names, numbers and standards.

Those examples also hint at the first reason for updating the Way. Bloomberg has changed. The scrappy upstart is now the market leader in business and financial journalism: We can afford to be more self-confident. We have also become far broader. The old Bloomberg Way targeted the written news story on the terminal, the core of the original Bloomberg News. Now (as Chapter 1, What We Do, lays out) Bloomberg Editorial & Research is spread out across many different platforms: the terminal, the internet, magazines, television, radio and events. It also uses multiple formats. A “story” can be as short as a First Word item or as long as a 35,000-word essay on computer coding. A successful digital video demands a different vernacular from a headline or a tweet.

So this guide tries to say how we present journalism on different platforms—as well as where we need to be the same. The four-paragraph lead—Matt’s way of presenting the reader with a compelling who, what, when, where, why and how—is still a very effective way to begin a 600-word news story, but a magazine piece that is five times that length needs to entice a reader more subtly. This edition lays down some rules but also makes clear where they can be broken. Its guiding principle is the audience: What is the clearest, quickest way to communicate the story in the most convenient format? Our readers and viewers tend to be intelligent people who have more money than time.

A second prompt for change is technology. Journalism is an evolving craft. At one time a news story had to be the whole story, with a lot of background explanation, because it had to treat all readers the same. The story needed to include a lot of boilerplate information, because even if the head of Pimco knew exactly how a U.S. Treasury auction worked, Aunt Agatha might not. But now we live in a world of clickable links and background explainers, like QuickTakes. The head of Pimco doesn’t have to be slowed down, but Aunt Agatha can click through to find out exactly what a repo is. Another technological prompt is automation as computers can help deliver information very quickly and increasingly spot links before human brains do. Again, this is something that should help us do our job better. But this must not become a Wild West: People need to be made aware when they are listening to a machine’s voice, as opposed to one mediated by a human being. Machines are only as objective as the people who set their controls.

A third immodest reason to update the Bloomberg Way is me. Every editor-in-chief has his or her peculiar preferences, and they are reflected in the style books of the organizations that they lead. My preferences are sometimes different from Matt’s, just as my successor’s will be different from mine. But—and yes, I just used that word—we still agree on the big things, the eternal verities. The army is still marching in the same direction, toward the sound of gunfire.

John Micklethwait

1
What We Do

OUR MANDATE AT Bloomberg Editorial & Research is to be the chronicle of capitalism, meaning we provide definitive coverage of everything that matters in business, finance, markets, economics, technology, and politics and government. This requires focusing our firepower so that terminal users, television viewers, radio listeners and magazine readers get what they want, when they want it.

Sometimes, our most important story of the day is a scoop that moves markets and beats the competition by seconds. At other times, our biggest story is an astonishing, richly reported investigative piece, an exclusive television interview or an interactive graphic that guides the user through a complex topic. No matter the vehicle, meaningful reporting on money and power—and the people who have them—is at the heart of our mission.

To quote Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Matt Winkler:

Following the Bloomberg Way requires precision in language, attention to detail, a hunger for knowledge, persistence in getting any task accomplished no matter how daunting, the humility to recognize that none of us is infallible and the decency to address anyone and everyone with concern and kindness.

These goals bridge the gulf between the pressure to “just get the news out” and the responsibility to get it right the first time. We can and should do both.

The Bloomberg Way

Guiding Principles

Ethics & Standards

(For more, please see Ethics & Standards, Chapter 5.)

Bloomberg Editorial & Research

Few news organizations in the world have more reach or depth than Bloomberg Editorial & Research. With more than 2,700 journalists and analysts in about 120 countries, we can cover just about anything. If a finance minister holds a press conference in Accra, Ghana, we’re there. If workers threaten to strike at a Chilean copper mine, we’re there. If a tech company introduces a major new product in Silicon Valley, we’re there, too.

We use the Bloomberg Terminal to make connections that our competitors can’t replicate. Our journalists can leverage data to show that Kenya had the most stable currency in Africa in 2016, that the state of California is the world’s sixth-biggest economy, or that the stock sold in Facebook’s IPO was more costly on a price-to-earnings basis than almost every company in the S&P 500 Index. Showing this relative value makes our journalism unique.

Our team includes not just reporters and editors, but also photographers, TV anchors, analysts, social-media managers, economists, opinion writers and podcast producers. We expect our journalists to wear many hats—it’s not uncommon for a reporter to file headlines from an event, write a story featuring charts he or she designed, and then appear on Bloomberg Television. This kind of talent enables us to produce journalism in the following forms:

Once we’ve produced the content, here are the main channels we use to convey that information to our audience:

The Terminal

The terminal is the heart and soul of Bloomberg, and it is where our stories start. The “front page” of the terminal is TOP, with a constantly updated mix of breaking news, scoops, analysis, commentary, charts and graphics, along with feature stories and videos. All of Editorial & Research contributes.

Many terminal customers also get their news from alerts pegged to companies, securities, people or keywords. Our news is indexed on hundreds of pages, so readers can find what they need, as soon as it’s available. Some readers also come to the terminal via customized news alert emails on topics ranging from cotton to interest-rate swaps.

Terminal stories appear in many languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, German, Turkish, Portuguese and Korean. Our teams produce original articles in those languages as well as translations of published stories.

The first Bloomberg News story—a piece about a personnel change at Goldman Sachs—ran on June 14, 1990, when the company had about 9,500 terminal customers. Today, we produce thousands of stories and headlines a day for about 325,000 subscribers.

Radio & Television

Bloomberg’s radio roots go back to 1992, when the company purchased the WNEW station in New York. Today, Bloomberg Radio is broadcast around the world. In the U.S., Bloomberg Radio reports and programs are syndicated to more than 300 affiliates. We also broadcast on WBBR in New York, WXKS in Boston, KNEW in San Francisco and WDCH in Washington.

Almost two years after Bloomberg Radio got its start, Bloomberg Television began. Now anchored from studios in Dubai, Hong Kong, London, New York, San Francisco and Sydney, its reach is also global, with broadcast affiliates from India to Mexico and a network available in more than 470 million homes.

Magazines

Bloomberg publishes two magazines: Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Markets.

Businessweek, which Bloomberg acquired in 2009, offers a global perspective, timely insights and unique stories to more than 600,000 subscribers.

Markets began publishing in July 1992 and was relaunched in 2016 as a bimonthly publication. The magazine caters to financial professionals—mainly Bloomberg Terminal clients, who get it as part of their subscription.

Digital

Bloomberg Digital is our gateway to a global audience and reaches more than 80 million unique users monthly. Our website is organized into sections dedicated to Markets, Technology, Politics, Pursuits, Opinion and Businessweek.

Bloomberg.com runs a selection of stories from Bloomberg News but does not generally publish content from First Word, Bloomberg Intelligence or other specialized platforms. Our digital team produces original reporting, graphics, videos and podcasts. It also runs our social-media feeds on Facebook and Twitter via our @business account, among others.

Bloomberg Intelligence

BI is our research arm, providing in-depth analysis and data on industries, companies, credit, government, economics and litigation. BI has almost 300 research professionals who together write about 500 short reports a day.

BI has been part of the Editorial & Research group since early 2015, and the relationship is unique, given BI’s mission. Editorial and BI may talk to each other in general terms about topics, but each team should protect its own information and sources, including unpublished stories and research. Reporters are free to quote from published BI reports in their stories and to interview analysts and economists who have been approved to speak with the media. (You can read more about this relationship in Ethics & Standards, Chapter 5.)

Bloomberg New Energy Finance

BNEF offers tools and data to track changes in the global energy system. The group provides independent analysis about the entire spectrum of technologies and industries, from renewables and storage to fuel cells, electric vehicle batteries, grid integration, liquefied natural gas, carbon markets and climate negotiations. BNEF also hosts annual summits in London, New York and Shanghai for energy leaders.

Bloomberg Briefs

Briefs are a stable of newsletters that provide curated news on topics such as hedge funds, municipal bonds and economics.

Daybreak

Our customizable morning news service started in 2016 as a one-stop mobile product that takes less than 10 minutes to read and gives users everything they need to be ready for work.

Delivered at 5:30 a.m. Monday through Friday from cities including New York, London and Hong Kong, each edition is divided into four sections: “Need to Know” summarizes the biggest news of the day; “My Topics” allows readers to select news from industries and regions; “My Tickers” provides headlines on companies in users’ portfolios; and “Nice to Know” touches on lighter fare, from sports and entertainment to science.

Bloomberg LIVE

Our events group convenes newsmakers, influencers and up-and-comers for invitation-only gatherings that range from small roundtable discussions to multiday conferences attended by hundreds. Bloomberg journalists conduct the onstage interviews and moderate panel discussions designed to generate editorial content across platforms. Major summits include Breakaway for chief executive officers, Invest for institutional investors and The Year Ahead, which examines the most urgent topics facing business leaders.

QuickTake

Bloomberg began publishing QuickTake explainers in 2013, providing concise guides to topics in the news. There are now hundreds of these authoritative, easy-to-read primers on the most important and complex issues of the day, from El Niño and tax inversions to sustainable investment and driverless cars.

Each QuickTake links to news stories, videos and View commentaries, providing the best of Bloomberg in one place. They are living articles, revised and updated in response to news. They are accessible by typing QUICK or NI QUICK on the Bloomberg Terminal.

Bloomberg BNA

Bloomberg BNA, based in Arlington, Virginia, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg Inc. that covers legal, tax and regulatory issues. In 2017, Bloomberg Government, also known as BGOV, became part of BNA. The group is managed separately from Editorial.

Collaboration in Action

Having multiple platforms gives us a great advantage over the competition, but it also raises the stakes. Success relies on communication between our teams and regions, beginning with detailed preparation and concluding with stories and other content that break news, move markets or have far-reaching impact. Collaboration is the cornerstone of this organization, and one of the most important ways by which we will judge our performance in the years ahead.

The first step is to focus on the mission—what are we trying to achieve? The next is to consider what other parts of Bloomberg Editorial & Research benefit from knowing about and participating in a specific event. This could be as relatively uncomplicated as a company’s earnings release or a central bank press conference. It could also be an event that takes months of planning and coordination, such as the Davos World Economic Forum, a country’s election coverage or an interview with a corporate or political leader.

Take, for example, Bloomberg’s exclusive interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok in September 2016. Our pursuit of Putin began with a reporter in Moscow lobbying the Kremlin for more than a year to show his advisers the breadth and depth of Bloomberg’s global reach, including our multiple media formats and languages. That was just the beginning. After we landed the two-hour interview, scores of print, TV, radio, web, visual media, social media and local-language journalists collaborated to publish content on more than 15 Bloomberg platforms and wires in seven languages.

Here’s how it happened:

Immediately after the interview, we published a raft of flash headlines for terminal customers, including:

PUTIN SAYS DNC HACK WAS A PUBLIC SERVICE, RUSSIA DIDN’T DO IT

PUTIN SEES ROSNEFT SALE AS SOON AS THIS YR TO EASE BUDGET PAIN

PUTIN SAYS NO NEED TO TAP FOREIGN DEBT MARKETS FOR NOW

PUTIN PUSHES FOR OIL FREEZE DEAL WITH OPEC, EXEMPTION FOR IRAN

U.S., RUSSIA NEAR COOPERATION ACCORD ON SYRIA, PUTIN SAYS

The response was almost instantaneous. Putin’s comments about Syria, OPEC and privatization prompted a rise in the ruble and oil, while Russian bond yields fell. Shares of Rosneft PJSC, the country’s largest listed oil producer, reached an intraday record (Figure 1.1)

Graph shows Rosneft’s two-day stock movement on share price in Rubles for two specific dates 02 September 2016 and 05 September 2016, where frequency on 2nd has less frequency than 5th.

Figure 1.1 Rosneft reaches intraday record

At the same time, First Word was filling out the headlines with short stories written in its traditional bullet-point format, and beat reporters were publishing longer narratives for rotation in the TOP page. Those included three exclusives: Putin’s views on the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails; comments on how he’d like Russia and OPEC to reach a deal on freezing oil supply; and his plans to sell a stake in Rosneft.

A Briefs newsletter seized on the OPEC story to add perspective on the energy angle. Meanwhile, the Daybreak team led its daily morning digest with Putin’s comments, and the QuickTake team updated its succinct explainer on Putin (“Russia’s Most Popular Man”) to include items from the interview. We also published transcripts in English and Russian with the full text of the interview.

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Bloomberg Television, Radio and our Podcast team highlighted different parts of the interview throughout the day as viewers and listeners awoke in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Bloomberg TV later produced a one-hour program featuring highlights (Figure 1.2).

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Figure 1.2 Bloomberg TV previews the Putin interview

On the web, Bloomberg.com released a special section featuring 17 stories (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/special-reports/vladimir-putin). The Social Media team tweeted highlights from the interview, generating more than a million views, and posted items on Facebook and Instagram. Bloomberg View weighed in with an editorial and several columns.

Then came the high-level political reaction. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded to Putin’s comments about a territorial dispute. And Putin’s observations on the U.S. election led to a retort from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign. We reported on that, too:

Putin Sees Opening With Japan on World War II Island Dispute

Putin Blasts Both Trump and Clinton for ‘Shock’ Tactics

Clinton Camp Says Putin Remarks Show Aim to Disrupt Election

Our coverage didn’t end there. Bloomberg Businessweek showcased Putin on its cover the following week and ran part of the interview in a question-and-answer format (Figure 1.3).

Photograph shows cover of book Bloomberg Businessweek where person named ‘Vladimir Putin’ stands and poses for photograph which reads ‘Vladimir Putin just wants to be friends’.

Figure 1.3 Bloomberg Businessweek's Vladimir Putin cover

The content was published or followed by major media around the world, from the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and Reuters to Russia’s Interfax, TASS, RIA Novosti and dozens of websites in China. It’s clear that collaboration before and after the event helped magnify the interview’s impact. To borrow from Aristotle, at Bloomberg the whole is always greater than the sum of our parts. Working together makes that possible.