Bloomberg Insists on More Women, Diverse Sourcing
By Laura Zelenko, Senior Executive Editor For Diversity, Talent, Standards and Training, Bloomberg News
Look at almost any conventional media outlet, and you’ll see women underrepresented as sources. Focus just on business and finance stories, and they’re even less visible, an omission of perspective that Bloomberg’s news organization is not willing to tolerate. And so we have rolled out a global plan to boost the number of women and other diverse sources that we quote in stories, invite on Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg radio and feature in our events’ panels.
Bloomberg L.P. Chairman Peter Grauer and I recently launched our New Voices initiative in Hong Kong, following similar launches in New York, London and Toronto. The program provides one-on-one media training for 12 top women executives in finance and business in all four cities — for a total of 48 — assisted by local trainers from Burson Cohn & Wolfe, with the goal of getting them TV-ready for interviews on Bloomberg TV and other outside TV outlets. Our pilot program for 12 financial services industry executives in New York earlier this year was so successful that several have already appeared for the first time on our air, some more than once.
The media training focuses on the supply side of this challenge, but there’s much that our newsroom can do on its own to help make our coverage better and more competitive through more diverse sourcing. Globally, media cite women as sources on front pages about 20% of the time; those we cite in stories often determines whom we call for on-air interviews. The BBC has started the 50-50 initiative to push for gender equality among on-air guests on every one of its programs. The Financial Times has an initiative to engage with more women readers.
Metrics are also a critical part of our effort. We have parsed the data, created tracking methods, set goals and are holding managers accountable. And we are seeing progress.
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