Bloomberg helps train new generation of Saudi journalists

The course is being taken by 22 Saudi women and eight men. (Bloomberg)
Updated 15 January 2018

Bloomberg helps train new generation of Saudi journalists

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.


Hong Kong journalists protest new accreditation rules

Updated 24 September 2020

Hong Kong journalists protest new accreditation rules

  • The rules outlined in a Tuesday letter from police have been criticized as a further erosion of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s once robust press freedoms
  • Only journalists registered with the Government News and Media Information Service or members of ‘internationally recognized and reputable’ foreign media will be recognized

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s professional journalism association on Thursday protested new rules restricting who can provide press coverage during demonstrations, saying the government has no right to determine who is or isn’t a reporter.
The rules outlined in a Tuesday letter from police have been criticized as a further erosion of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s once robust press freedoms since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in June that has had a chilling effect on political speech.
Only journalists registered with the Government News and Media Information Service or members of “internationally recognized and reputable” foreign media outlets will be recognized as journalists during protests, according to the police letter.
That appears to undercut the authority of the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Hong Kong Press Photographers Association to vet candidates for membership and issue press cards, placing that right solely in the hands of government officials, as is the case in mainland China.
“Police cannot be permitted to use administrative means to screen only officially recognized media, thus undermining the fundamental rights of the people of Hong Kong,” the Hong Kong Journalists Association said in a statement.
In their letter, the police said their goal is to weed out troublemakers posing as journalists who they say disrupted police action against protesters over several months of sometimes violent anti-government demonstrations.
“Following the amendment, the definition of ‘media representatives’ will become clearer and unequivocal, allowing front-line officers to efficiently and swiftly verify the identity of media representatives so that facilitation can be provided without compromising police operational efficiency,” the police letter said.
The regulations leave it to the police to determine what media outlets are “internationally recognized and reputable” and could discriminate against freelancers and independent and student journalists, who often work alone with minimal equipment and infrastructure.
Hong Kong has dropped steadily in Reporters Without Borders annual World Press Freedom Index, falling seven places this year to 80.
Hong Kong’s press freedom “is already in retreat as a result of pressure from Beijing,” the group said, citing among cases the expulsion of Financial Times Asia editor Victor Mallet in October 2018 after he chaired an even at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong that was condemned by Beijing.