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.


Royal runaways’ media war follows them to Canada

Updated 23 January 2020

Royal runaways’ media war follows them to Canada

LONDON: Prince Harry and his wife Meghan may have quit Britain for a quieter life in Canada but their battle with the media has followed them to the new front line.
Harry believes “powerful forces” in Britain’s tabloids are waging a ruthless propaganda war to vilify his US former actress wife — and he is hitting back through the lawyers.
Having struggled with media scrutiny since their May 2018 wedding, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex abandoned their royal roles this month in a bid for a calmer and more independent life.
But their bombshell departure has made them even more of a story — and media, including paparazzi photographers, have now flocked to their Vancouver Island getaway.
Their lawyers have already issued warnings to the press over pictures of Meghan out walking the dogs near their luxury seafront home.
After a slew of negative stories in the British press, the couple are trying to seize greater control of the narrative.
But they are not shunning all publicity — far from it.
The Sussexes will keep working with their non-royal patronages, but now intend to work with hand-picked media only.
Meghan has already made a couple of visits to women’s charities in nearby Vancouver, while they continue posting content on Instagram, where they have 11 million followers.
Their success in becoming financially independent from the monarchy through creating their own commercial income will largely depend on them remaining hot property.
Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, which campaigns for press freedom, said the couple could not control media scrutiny.
“If Harry and Meghan had said: ‘we want to withdraw completely from public life and occasionally appear for good causes’, I think they would have achieved their aim but they seem to want to have their cake and eat it,” he told AFP.
Harry is “living in cloud cuckoo land” if he thought press relations would magically improve by him stepping away from representing his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and moving to Canada, said royal biographer Penny Junor.
She said the situation could become worse now they are no longer in the royal fold, where pooled media access to engagements is facilitated through a long-agreed system.
Without that stream of content, news and picture desks might look elsewhere.
“The press might be less respectful than they were before,” Junor, the author of “Prince Harry: Brother. Soldier. Son. Husband.,” told AFP.
The 35-year-old prince, who is sixth in line to the throne, has always had a tumultuous relationship with the press, which he blames for the death of his mother.
Diana, princess of Wales died in 1997 in a car crash. Harry was 12 at the time.
A truce between the papers and the palace meant Harry and his brother Prince William were left alone while they were still in education, in return for a handful of pooled photo opportunities.
But afterwards, Harry quickly turned into a tabloid favorite with his party lifestyle and repeated misdemeanours.
He served 10 years in the British army, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan, and afterwards founded the Invictus Games for wounded veterans.
Harry was praised as a changed man who had found his calling.
“He recognized not only that he could do good things with his title — but also that he needed publicity to do those good things and that a good relationship with the press was very important,” said Junor.
The prince’s relationship with Meghan was welcomed across the board by the press, but media relations soon began to deteriorate.
Reports appeared of staff being unable to work with the “duchess of difficult.”
When their son Archie arrived in May 2019, they announced that Meghan had gone into labor hours after the baby had actually been born, infuriating newsdesks.
The couple’s animosity toward the press spilled over into legal action in October last year, with Harry suing over alleged voicemail interception and Meghan filing a claim over a private letter to her father Thomas Markle appearing in The Mail on Sunday (him having shown it to the tabloid).
“They are going to have to accept that their lifestyle will continue to go under scrutiny,” said Murray, adding that they were living close to the US border.
“The American media are different; they have a vigorous magazine market,” he said.
“There will be an appetite there and around the world for pictures and stories about them.”