Media World: Does Reuters provide more analysis than Bloomberg?

Thomson Reuters Corp. (TRI) "generally focuses more on analysis" than rival Bloomberg News (where I used to work), which publishes a higher volume of stories, according to a study cited in the trade publication Inside Market Data by Burton-Taylor International Consulting LLC.

Burton-Taylor found that Bloomberg carried just under 32,000 news items per day, compared with 14,000 per day by Thomson Reuters. This included news from third-party vendors but excludes news items scraped by Bloomberg from the items, such as corrections or service alerts, the trade publication said. Bloomberg distributes roughly 11,000 items per day, while Thomson Reuters carries around 7,600 items, when third party sources are excluded.

About 55 percent of the stories published Bloomberg, part of the media conglomerate founded by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, are headline-only alerts, compared with 45 percent for Reuters, according to Burton-Taylor, which is run by an ex-Reuters executive Douglas B. Taylor. He told the DailyFinance that he was surprised by the findings of the study, which is designed to assist clients in deciding which service to buy.

"I did not know what to expect," Taylor said, adding that this was the first time that he had studied the Bloomberg service in depth. He likened the approach of Bloomberg to a fire hose and Reuters to a "sippable stream." Both approaches have their merits, he said.

A Bloomberg spokeswoman denounced the report as inaccurate.

"Mr. Taylor, a consultant to Thomson-Reuters and an ex-employee of Thomson and Reuters, who does not have access to a Bloomberg subscription, issued a press release promoting a study of our news services," said Judith Czelusniak, a company spokeswoman, in an e-mail. "We examined Mr. Taylor's methodology. This isn't a valid study."

Thomson Reuters denies it hired Taylor. The company paid for the report to see the results but did not pay for the study to be done, according to a company spokeswoman.

Regardless of who is right, there is more at stake here than just journalistic bragging rights. Reuters and Bloomberg are fighting to maintain their footholds in financial services companies that have been cutting expenses as they weather the economic recession. Both companies are waging high-profile campaigns to convince readers of their relevance. Think of them like puppies hoping to be adopted at the animal shelter.

Reuters and Bloomberg have been among the few news organizations hiring journalists. Over the past few months, Reuters created a commentary team.Former Portfolio magazine writer Felix Salmon was hired to write a blog. The company also hired David Gaffen as editor in charge of markets from the Wall Street Journal. It also adding new bureaus in the Middle East and plans to launch a global video service. About 200 journalists are expected to be hired for these jobs.

Bloomberg, which recently had its first-ever layoffs, continues to expand as well, adding new bureaus in Doha, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Angola, Belgrade, and Tallinn this year. It also plans to hire 30 100 reporters and editors to bolster its coverage of markets.

For his part, Taylor denies that his report was unfair to Bloomberg. He argues that the two services take different approaches to the news, that clients need to decide whether to shell out big bucks for them.

"It's not that one is bad and one is good," he said. "Bloomberg comes out of this looking fantastic."


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