I was recently provided with an internal Bloomberg communication from Cesca Antonelli, Editor-in-Chief at Bloomberg Industry Group*. Antonelli scoped out Bloomberg’s plans: “ … as we move into 2023, we will substantially grow the size of our newsroom. You read that right. At a time when it seems like our entire industry is shrinking and doing more with less, Bloomberg Industry Group is making a big bet on robust journalism.” Leadership is committed to marrying the best content to the best AI.
Legal News Focus Bloomberg Law is going to focus on “the part of our market that is growing the most: news for Big Law litigators. Our goal is to become No. 1 in litigation news, and that’s where most of these new jobs will be.” Although no specific hiring target is mentioned, the new positions will include team leaders, deputies, content editors and reporters. The positions will be filled with both internal candidates and external recruits.
The strategy will be to “stand up a team of writers inside courthouses in key locations. There will be “a new SWAT team of general assignment reporters to write stories about the decisions our legal intelligence teams don’t currently have time to get done. New reporters will focus on issues that require deeper coverage. They recently created a cross-platform team to provide deep coverage of ESG. They also expanded coverage of government contracting and crypto.
Antonelli, provided additional details about the enhanced legal coverage. “We will have reporters in the courtroom for major cases across the country. Think circuit courts, big state supreme courts, Delaware Chancery, Waco.” The new reporters will report on breaking news and expand the team of experts in practice areas like M&A and securities law.
Bloomberg Law has recently launched special coverage of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. According to Antonelli, Bloomberg Law has built out a suite of news and analysis products on the Bloomberg Law platform and paired it with a daily ESG newsletter. The ESG content is targeting both the legal and tax markets. According to Antonelli, “ESG is on its way to becoming a billion-dollar business for some of our customers, so it is a big bet for us. We’re unpacking the reporting rules, adding a lot more articles about the “S” and the “G” here, and then making sure we also have practitioner voices that we call Insights that help people think through what the next five years could bring in this space.”
I asked Antonelli how Bloomberg is positioned in the competitive legal news market. She outlined several ways that Bloomberg is different from the rivals including American Lawyer Media and Law360.
“We tend to write and deliver stories faster, within minutes after big news breaks. More and more, speed matters in the legal market. Partners want to be the first to phone their own clients or to give their own takes on social media and build their brands. We help them do that.”
”We provide a lot of analysis and trend stories as news develops over time. Our expertise helps our clients see around corners and get a sense of what is coming next that they need to think about in coming days or weeks.”
Some of the legal news platforms have a reputation for relying on new journalism graduates instead of hiring experienced reporters. According to Antonelli, Bloomberg Law , mostly hires “seasoned reporters who have demonstrated an ability to break news that people care about and who understand the law or how the regulatory process works. We believe that having a reporter who is an expert on their beat makes a big difference in the depth of the coverage and the speed and quality of their work. We also hire junior reporters in some areas where we think a seasoned legal editor can quickly train a smart and curious person to go on to big things. For these new jobs, we’re going to do a bit of both.”
Legal News is Hot
I agree with Antonelli’s assessment that partners value breaking news that they can pass on to a client. Bloomberg Law is not alone. In recent years there has been a renewed focus on legal news. ALM launched Radar 2020, Law 360 continues to expand their franchise with niche offerings with the “Authority” brand. Thomson Reuters launched Reuters Legal News in February 2022. Can Bloomberg Law’s gambit disrupt the legal news market? Stay tuned….
*Correction – an earlier version of this post attributed the memo to Josh Eastright CEO, Bloomberg Industry Group.