– Editor Leaves Bloomberg, Citing China Coverage (New York Times, March 24, 2014):
Ben Richardson, an editor at large in Asia at Bloomberg News, announced his resignation on Monday, citing the company’s handling of an investigative report in China late last year.
He is the third reporter or editor to leave the organization since several news organizations reported last November that Bloomberg had declined to publish an investigative article that explored financial ties between one of the wealthiest men in China and the families of top Chinese leaders.
“I left Bloomberg because of the way the story was mishandled, and because of how the company made misleading statements in the global press” afterward, he said in an email to the media news site Romenesko. He also wrote that Bloomberg employees faced legal action if they spoke out publicly.
The company confirmed that Mr. Richardson, who joined Bloomberg in 2008, according to his LinkedIn profile, departed on March 3, but declined to comment further. Mr. Richardson was not immediately reachable on Monday.
In articles last fall, several news organizations, including The New York Times and The Financial Times, quoted unidentified Bloomberg employees as saying that top editors decided not to publish the article about Chinese wealth because of fears the company would be expelled from China. Matthew Winkler, the editor in chief, has denied that the article was killed.
Last week Peter T. Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg L.P., said in Hong Kong that the company should have reconsidered articles outside of business news, because they jeopardized the huge sales potential for Bloomberg’s financial data terminals in the Chinese market. He did not specify any articles in particular. Mr. Grauer’s comments “illustrate the frame of mind of senior management from the business side,” Mr. Richardson said in his email.
Senior editors at Bloomberg have also said that angering China can cut off timely access to financial data from the world’s second-largest economy, data that is crucial for many terminal clients worldwide.
“Clearly, there needs to be a robust debate about how the media engages with China,” Mr. Richardson wrote. “That debate isn’t happening at Bloomberg.”