Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait on Sunday sent a note to staffers addressing how the news organization will cover the 2020 presidential race, given that its owner Michael Bloomberg has announced his candidacy.
“So Mike is running,” Micklethwait wrote. “There is no point in trying to claim that covering this presidential campaign will be easy for a newsroom that has built up its reputation for independence in part by not writing about ourselves (and very rarely about our direct competitors). No previous presidential candidate has owned a journalistic organization of this size.”
Micklethwait said that Bloomberg had the most contact with the outlet through its opinion section, and its editorials have “reflected his views.” To that end, Micklethwait said the outlet will suspend its editorial board, “so there will be no unsigned editorials.”
“Our columnists, who produce the majority of Bloomberg Opinion’s content, will continue to speak for themselves,” Micklethwait said, “and we will continue to take some op-ed articles from outsiders (although not op-eds on the election).”
Micklethwait also announced that David Shipley and Tim O’Brien, executive editors of Bloomberg Opinion, will take a leave of absence to join the campaign.
Micklethwait said the Bloomberg newsroom “will write about virtually all aspects of this presidential contest in much the same way as we have done so far.”
“We will describe who is winning and who is losing. We will look at policies and their consequences. We will carry polls, we will interview candidates and we will track their campaigns, including Mike’s,” Micklethwait said.
“We have already assigned a reporter to follow his campaign (just as we did when Mike was in City Hall),” Micklethwait added. “And in the stories we write on the presidential contest, we will make clear that our owner is now a candidate.”
Bloomberg is a massive news organization, employing 2,700 journalists and analysts in more than 120 countries. According to its website, Bloomberg News generates approximately 5,000 stories a day. The organization boasts that it is “the world’s biggest business and financial news team.”
Micklethwait added that Bloomberg will “continue our tradition of not investigating Mike (and his family and foundation) and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries.”
“We cannot treat Mike’s Democratic competitors differently from him,” Micklethwait wrote. “If other credible journalistic institutions publish investigative work on Mike or the other Democratic candidates, we will either publish those articles in full or summarize them for our readers – and we will not hide them.”