Media Influencer

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Bloomberg’s headline economy

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And I don’t mean economical headlines! Bloomberg uses a company name in a headline for an article that has nothing to do with the company. The company in question is large and with a recognisable brand – Johnson & Johnson.

We’ve questioned Bloomberg in the past about their indiscriminate use of the Johnson & Johnson name, and we’ve always been told that it is “Bloomberg style” to put company names in their headlines – and the bigger the company, the wider the readership.

So, here we have a professional news organisation being shameless about its audience-grabbing motives. And commercially ‘justified’ behaviour. How on earth is that more credible than a random blogger?!

These days I get rather impatient with people who complain that blogs are not authoritative because they are written by people. The point is that they do not pretend to be anything but opinions of individuals. Often those opinions are far more authoritative than journalists can muster and even when they are mistaken or misleading, it can be easily discovered and disputed. Bloggers’ credibility comes from the filters they provide to their readers. When I am criticising or praising something on my blog I’ll always link to the source of my opinions. You, dear reader, can make up your mind about them and over time get an idea of where I am coming from and whether I am credible. It is the same as with one’s favourite film or food critic. Reviews are based on the individuals opinions that are transparent and testable. So, here we have my equation coined a while ago, when I first realised this:

bias + transparency = credibility

Back to matters at hand. Thanks to JNJ BTW blog, the J&J people can point out Bloomberg’s dishonesty headline economy.

It’s ultimately a case of Market Value – not News Value – that factors heavily in Bloomberg’s editorial equation. Johnson & Johnson has a market capitalization of nearly $190 billion. Abbott Laboratories’ market capitalization is about $83 billion and Boston Scientific’s is about $20 billion. You can do the math.

There we have it. Corporate comms guys who have had yeeears of experience dealing with the journos and have been journalists themselves, can talk about it on their own blog.

Anyway, next time you see Johnson & Johnson or other companies referenced in a Bloomberg headline, be mindful that there may be other “market” factors at work in the editing.

Rock on! as they say…

Disclosure: Yes, yes, I have had my fingers in the blog. :)

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