How Bloomberg is increasing women's voices in its newsroom

The campaign has helped the media organisation add more than 1,300 women globally to its source list.

For the third consecutive International Women’s Day, Bloomberg Media has launched its Women’s Voices campaign.

The campaign which began in Asia in 2016, saw Bloomberg increasing the number of female sources in its news coverage and featured a female lineup of guests in honor of the occasion.

This year, for 24 hours, female executives like BlackRock’s Wei Li, Merrill Lynch’s Michelle Meyer, Asian Development Bank's Sayuri Shirai, Goldman Sach’s Katie Koch, Uber's Megan Joyce and Google's Diane Greene, shared their insights on today’s most pressing issues on Bloomberg’s TV and radio channels.

In addition, Bloomberg has also established a tracking method to ensure it is increasing the diversity of sources in its stories and to track any story that quotes or paraphrases a woman who is interviewed.

When filing a story, editors will click a new "ADD BNSHESAID" button that allows them to add a special code to their stories when a woman is cited so that the company can tracking its progress in quoting women, with the goal of boosting the number it cites and improving its coverage.

There will also be training that is centered around a media training program Bloomberg is funding for high-level women executives from the top financial firms in New York. The pilot program involves 12 women and the goal is to train these female executives to be TV-ready and invite them to appear on Bloomberg TV as guest commentators.

Laura Zelenko, senior executive editor for talent, diversity, training and standards at Bloomberg tells The Drum that the the campaign has helped the media organisation add more than 1,300 women globally to its source list.

The feedback from firms is that they are encouraged that a media organisation is committing to make this a priority, adds Zelenko, as it is a priority for many of these firms as well to raise the visibility of their women executives.

“We have been tracking our progress on TV over the past few months and we are slowly increasing the numbers. We have set very aggressive goals for this year like tripling the percentage of women from outside Bloomberg who are interviewed on our TV and almost double the percentage of women from inside Bloomberg who are on TV,” she explains.

“It will take a lot of work to meet those goals, but at least the needle is moving in the right direction. In terms of quoting women in our stories, we are still working on our benchmark as we just created a publishing tool that will allow us to count stories where women are quoted automatically. Once we have the monthly benchmark, we will also set an aggressive goal to meet this year.”

This year, the theme for IWD 2018 is #PushForProgress, which is a call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

While there has been some progress on this front, there are still the occasional hiccups, like CES organisers announcing a keynote speaker lineup that’s overwhelmingly white and male for its 2018 event that drew a backlash.

Bloomberg wants to avoid going down the same path and has introduced a new policy that journalists can only join panels or moderate panels that include at least one woman and can only break that policy if they can persuade Zelenko and the editor-in-chief that it is still worth doing.

“Our own events team has a mandate to ensure at least one woman on any panel at our own events as well,” explains Zelenko. “Some organisations have gone so far as to recommend gender balance on panels, but we feel like the important, initial step we are taking will allow us to show leadership in this area and help create new standards for events.”

Asked for her wish for IWD 2018, Zelenko says she hopes that women around the world recognise this unique moment in history where there is true momentum to drive change. “We all need to be bolder, more intentional and more urgent in making progress towards gender parity in the workforce and at all levels of management and in our coverage.”

“There's no time like the present!” she adds.

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