Bloomberg News struggled to be accepted when it launched in 1990.
Bloomberg was excluded from the White House press corps and the Kisha Clubs in Tokyo. It wasn’t eligible to make submissions for the Pulitzer Prize.
The established media argued that you can’t just add a media arm to an online data company and call yourself a news organization.
Bloomberg’s Editor-in-Chief Matt Winkler overcame the obstacles by hiring experienced reporters and publishing high-quality articles.
That history came to mind last week when I read two articles on LinkedIn:
George Anders, a LinkedIn editor, profiled Discord, the chat app favored by gamers that boasts 150 million users.
Many journalists would not regard LinkedIn as a competing news organization.
And yet, Andy Jassy only has so many hours in the day to give interviews. And readers only have so many hours to scan articles about Discord and other companies.
And what about Devin and George? Well, they both worked at Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal.
LinkedIn Editor-in-Chief Daniel Roth previously wrote for Forbes, Fortune, Wired, and Conde Nast Portfolio.
According to a CNN profile from 2019, LinkedIn has editors in the U.S., Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Australia, India, Japan, China and Singapore.
Roth said in an interview that he was lured to LinkedIn by the promise of leveraging unique data to write original articles.
The “origin stories” Roth and Winkler tell are surprisingly similar:
Roth in a CNN article:
“In 2011, he had plans to create an app called the Fortune 500 Plus that would connect Fortune’s data with LinkedIn’s to help sales people find leads. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner asked Roth if he would instead join his company to build its new content team.”
Winkler in a Cision article:
“Winkler had not yet reached his 35th birthday when Michael R. Bloomberg, a former Salomon Brothers partner, recruited the bow-tie wearing, bond-savvy, Wall Street Journal reporter to develop a news organization to complement his Bloomberg financial data terminals.”
It’s a good reminder that the journalism “establishment” is always in the process of being re-established.