In a disturbing development for the free press, Peter T. Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg L.P., said Bloomberg should have “rethought” some of its news coverage in China in a speech in Hong Kong today. This comment comes as sales of Bloomberg financial news terminals in China have plummeted following a 2012 Bloomberg expose on the family wealth of Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
“We have to be there”
When asked about China in the Q&A after his speech, Grauer replied, “We have to be there. We have about 50 journalists in the market, primarily writing stories about the local business and economic environment. You’re all aware that every once in a while we wander a little bit away from that and write stories that we probably may have kind of rethought — should have rethought.”
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“Being in China is very much a part of our long-term strategy and will continue to be so going forward,” Mr. Grauer continued. “It occupies a lot of our thinking — Dan Doctoroff, our C.E.O.; me; Mike; and other members of our senior team.”
Grauer did not specifically mention which stories he believed should have been rethought.
Bloomberg re-emphasizing financial news
These new comments on future journalistic priorities in China by Bloomberg BoD chairman Grauer in China make even more clear a change in policy noted publicly by a number of Bloomberg employees. The employees say that higher ups have ordered a re-emphasis on financial news at the firm, and the business side of the company is working to minimize investigative journalism as they believe the short-term boost in readership due to a scoop or hot story is not worth the risk of long-term financial consequences.
Bloomberg, a privately held media and entertainment partnership controlled by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, employs approximately 125 people in China, including analysts, writers and support staff hired to provide data and analysis regarding China’s currency and bond futures markets.