The editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, Matthew Winkler, has posted a letter apologizing for allowing journalists at the company to access some information about individual subscribers to the Bloomberg Terminal. Journalists at the company were able to access some personal information and login activity at executives at major Wall Street firms and even potentially government agencies, in an effort to get scoops on big stories.
As I wrote in “The Bloomberg Way,” our guide for reporters and editors, “The appearance of impropriety can be as damaging to a reputation as doing something improper. Because we hold others accountable for disclosure, we expect the same of ourselves. While disclosing errors of judgment may be embarrassing, the sooner the lapses are reported, the sooner there is nothing more to say….”
Our reporters should not have access to any data considered proprietary. I am sorry they did. The error is inexcusable. Last month, we immediately changed our policy so that reporters now have no greater access to information than our customers have. Removing this access will have no effect on Bloomberg news-gathering.
While the news is breaking now, it is clear that it was widely known inside the company. In 2011 an anchor at Bloomberg TV, Erik Schatzker, made a comment on-air about using the terminals to review some information about clients. BuzzFeed’s Peter Lauria has the scoop.