Financial Times breaks big story about Bloomberg News owner

Good morning.

  1. He's got his eyes on the White House
    On the eve of New Hampshire's primary, Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg disclosed he's mulling seriously a presidential run — but not to his own organization. (Financial Times) The restrictions placed on his own newsroom in covering him, or his own company, was underscored again. Yes, it's not easy to cover yourself. But Bloomberg appears to wear a straitjacket of its own design in this instance. The curbs led one top editor to quit recently when she felt restrained in chasing a New York Times story that indicated Bloomberg's initial White House musings. (CNN)

    By last evening Bloomberg's politics website referenced the FT story down the left-hand side. When I checked, it was the 14th story in its "Campaign Tracker" feature, which updates in reverse chronological order, behind such tales as "Jeb Bush Wants to Overturn Citizens United" and "This New Hampshire Woman Has Seen All the Presidential Candidates Speak in 2016 (Except Ben Carson)." (Bloomberg) It was the 11th item as of 7 a.m. Tuesday, and received more prominent play on CNN, The New York Times, RT (Russia Today) and Variety.

    Again: The former New York City mayor allowed another news organization to break this longshot notion (and his apparent dithering at this very late date). That means a stellar organization remains beholden to the goose with the golden egg, namely multi-billionaire Bloomberg, but can't really report when he lays one. Bloomberg's leader has once again left his giant editorial army in a pickle.

  2. Getting canned due to non-compete provision
    Stephanie Russell-Kraft, 28, was fired after Thomson Reuters realized she'd signed a non-compete deal with her previous boss, a legal news site called Law360. Now the New York Attorney General, who is not press shy, is looking into the general subject of non-compete agreements. Russell-Kraft was hired as a general assignment reporter at Law360 and says she was led to believe by a human resources person when she started that the non-compete only involved freelancing while she was at the company. She also says she's clueless what her old company meant in telling Thomson Reuters that she possessed “critical and sensitive confidential and proprietary information.” (Bloomberg BNA)
  3. Times going more global
    The New York Times will start a Spanish-language website with the operation based in Mexico City. It will initially be free, with ads from four sponsors, but the game plan is to try to get a small piece of a giant market and mandate that readers pay. (NiemanLab) About 12 percent of its 1.1 million digital-only subscribers are outside the United States.
  4. Crime beat nerds
    "Criminal justice journalism is suddenly awash in data reporting. The crime beat — sometimes accused of being hidebound — is beginning to catch up with a profound quantitative turn in the news business." (The Crime Report) Investigative reporter David Cay Johnston suggests that this may partly result from cops not being especially helpful to reporters and using social media to spin their version of events. It also may partly result from reporters simply not having much day to day contact with police. An example of a growing genre dissected the demographics of traffic stops in Port Arthur, Texas. (BuzzFeed)
  5. An editor's scary Super Bowl cruise
    Robert Huschka, executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, paid for a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas with his family, including his wife's mother and grandmother to babysit. It left from New Jersey on Saturday and ran into a wicked storm in the Carolinas by Sunday. "I’m not going to lie: I was terrified — although I did my best to hide it from my wife." (Detroit Free Press) It's a 168,666-ton ship and there were 4,529 passengers and 1,616 crew members on board, with a total of four injuries, none apparently serious. But at some points wave heights were 30 feet and winds of 120 miles per hour. There was a lot of smashed furniture and glassware on board. They still got to watch the Super Bowl but headed back Monday to New Jersey and got a refund. (USA TODAY)
  6. The utility of experience
    Washington reporter-columnist Ron Fournier wanted to use the New Hampshire primary, and the Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders race, to make a point about how the Clinton family can very swiftly respond to opposition. So he recalled a press conference he covered in Little Rock, Arkansas 26 years ago as an Associated Press reporter. It was there that a former rival of Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton was "sandbagged" when Hillary Clinton surfaced at his press conference and vocally derided him. (The Atlantic)
  7. AJAM closing quicker than some figured
    Al Jazeera America will shut its digital operations, which had coincidentally voted to go union, later in the month. It appears that the TV network will continue until April 12 before it goes dark. (POLITICO)
  8. Covering the media worldwide
    Imagine if CNN's "Reliable Sources" covered the media worldwide. It might come to slightly resemble an Al Jazeera English show, "The Listening Post," hosted by Canadian Richard Gizbert. It's a very good weekly show on Al Jazeera's English network (which is not the same as what's going down the tubes with Al Jazeera America). It's got a refreshingly anti-corporate bent. Last week assessed not just coverage of the U.S. presidential campaign (I was one pundit) but also how Vladimir Putin has hammered a Russian magazine that investigated the $1.3 billion fortune of his oldest daughter and her husband; Taliban attacks on the Afghan press; the Indian government making life difficult for a news cartoonist; and, in its best segment, how the leftist government of Venezuela now controls the nation's newsprint supply. It was all refreshing precisely because it wasn't so American-centric.
  9. Monica Lewinsky, journalist
    Feb. 9 is World Safer Internet Day, and Vanity Fair offers tips on cyber precautions to take when it comes to bullying. What's more interesting is the identity of the author, especially as we're in the heat of the political campaign process. It's contributing editor Monica Lewinsky, who introduces a new emoji tool to counteract cyberbullying. (Vanity Fair)
  10. Williams and Maddow return
    It's as much a function of internal corporate politics than bloodless news judgment, privately suggest some at NBC News. But, as was true with the Iowa caucuses, MSNBC is pairing Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow tonight as co-anchors of what unavoidably will be fascinating New Hampshire primary coverage.

    It didn't really work last week. It was awkward, with the bonhomie looking forced and resembling the shopworn local TV model of older male and younger female co-anchors. It's a news equivalent of the expensive personnel conundrum faced by the Chicago Bulls by pairing at guard both Derrick Rose, its mellow superstar returning from physical rehab, and ascending and charismatic Jimmy Butler. Let's see if the pairing of the restrained former king of NBC's broadcast hill and its more magnetizing cable star works any better this time.

  11. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin
    Brendan Ripp is now president of technology and telecommunications at Time, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president and publishing director of the Sports Illustrated Group. (Email) | Ian Mader is now a news editor at The Associated Press. Previously, he was China news editor there. (Fishbowl NY) | Job of the day: Metro Media is seeking an entertainment editor. Get your resumes in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

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Editor's note: This story has been updated.

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    James Warren

    New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S. News & World Report. Former managing editor and Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Tribune.


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