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Bloomberg helps train new generation of Saudi journalists

The course is being taken by 22 Saudi women and eight men. (Bloomberg)
DUBAI: Aspiring Saudi journalists are learning the ways of financial news via a training scheme set up by the Bloomberg news and information group in partnership with the MiSK Foundation, the Kingdom’s youth education and leadership body.

The training course — designed to advance financial literacy in Saudi Arabia — began at the Bloomberg Middle East headquarters in Dubai on Sunday, where some 30 undergraduates started a week-long intensive course to master Bloomberg’s brand of data-driven journalism.

The course is being run by Matthew Winkler, who cofounded Bloomberg News with Michael Bloomberg in 1990.

The Saudi students are comprised of 22 women and eight men, who major in journalism, English, marketing and finance at universities in the Kingdom, selected by MiSK from a large number of applicants.

Winkler, now editor-in-chief emeritus of the New York based organization, said: “We want to inspire in them an aspiration to pursue a career in financial businesses and news organizations. When Bloomberg began 28 years ago, we had no lineage and no pedigree, but we wanted to be the best, so it was essential we had a method as well as an aspiration,”

The course is based on the “Bloomberg Way,” the guide for interns and journalists at the news organization, drawn up by Winkler, and emphasizing what he calls the “five Fs” of journalism: First word, factual word, fastest word, final word and future word.

“It’s very detailed, specific and rigorous. We are exposing these young bright lights to the same process that our interns at Bloomberg experience anywhere in the world,” he added.

Most of the students were educated in Saudi Arabia, and are in their final years of degree level courses there, with an average age of 23. All are interested in exploring a career in financial journalism, Bloomberg said.

Winkler said that there were “common denominators” in financial and business news in the US, Europe, and the Middle East and elsewhere, in that it sought to provide the most reliable and transparent information to enable stakeholders to make business decisions.

“In the 21st century, Saudi Arabia is an important country that wants to participate in global markets, and Bloomberg can provide access to data points for markets and companies. Very soon, Saudi Aramco will want to be assessed in terms of its relative value to its peers around the world, and that is all about transparency,” he added.

Winkler said that the large number of women on the course was “very consistent with global demography. Women are advancing everywhere.”

Bloomberg has run similar courses in Africa, India and China, but this is the first time it has been run in the Middle East.

Bloomberg has been in partnership with MiSK since 2016, in a series of collaborations designed to “develop and deliver cross-disciplinary education and training programs focused on business, economics, finance and journalism to enhance the skills and knowledge of young finance and media professionals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” a Bloomberg statement said.

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