Bloomberg’s Joanna Ossinger visits Grady

By Kinsey Lee Clark, Ryan Kor and Eli Watkins

ossingerAn editor with Bloomberg News spoke with students at the Grady College April 10 about techniques and practices for individuals and news organizations to succeed in business journalism.

Joanna Ossinger said the growing trend of specialization favors business journalism in that it targets niche audiences with specific content.  As an example, she discussed her work with “Bloomberg First Word,” a service that provides condensed stories about breaking business news. First Word is aimed at clients who want news in real-time, and it is written in styles that make for quick reading, she said.

“It is for people who know what they are talking about,” said Ossinger.

Ossinger has an extensive background in business journalism including previous jobs at The Wall Street Journal and Fox Business. She recently became the president-elect of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), a first for Bloomberg, and will take over the national leadership post following the group’s annual conference at the end of April.

Ossinger began her day at Grady addressing students in the mobile news lab about mobile journalism technology. She spoke about challenges specific to Bloomberg, navigating the company’s many platforms and its specialized business audience. She emphasized the importance of quality reporting in addition to strategic use of social media and mobile oriented content.

“If you tweet, you’re buzzy and people love that, but then you still have to do the work,” said Ossinger.

The day’s main event was Ossinger’s presentation as part of the Cox Institute Presents lecture series. Ossinger advised aspiring journalists to be nice, network, work hard, seek out the right boss and generally do the right thing. She encouraged students to remain open to all sorts of career opportunities, noting that is difficult as a college student to understand where opportunities will arise.

She explained that she started out as a chemistry student at Cornell, turned to public policy as a graduate student at Georgetown and eventually found her calling in a part-time copy editor job with a business news organization. She said her education and career path demonstrates the importance of adapting and seizing opportunities as they come available, which is something she thinks Bloomberg has done successfully as a news organization.

“We are lucky in that we pretty much found a way to make news a financially viable thing,” said Ossinger.

During her remarks in a magazine writing class, Ossinger also stressed the power of long form journalism, and encouraged students to work hard to make a long form reporting opportunity happen. She told them to embrace the volatility in the news industry, making the case that opportunities for advancement and quality reporting will emerge from changes in the digital age.

“If you have a good story, people will make time for it. Even in the mobile and digital age, all long form is not lost. There is still a place for it in journalism and in society,” said Ossinger.