November 2nd, 2007

Say What, Bloomberg?

Did you see this headline on Bloomberg this week? Abbott Suffers as J&J Clot Woes, Stent Review Nears.

Tough news for Johnson & Johnson, right? Wrong. The story actually has little to do with Johnson & Johnson.

When you read the article, you quickly discover that the 22-paragraph story is all about Abbott Laboratories’ Xience stent, favorable results of its comparison to Boston Scientific’s Taxus stent, and the desire for more data on its safety profile.

So, why is Johnson & Johnson referenced in the headline?

It comes down to two words. Name Recognition.

We’ve questioned Bloomberg in the past about their indiscriminate use of the Johnson & Johnson name, and we’ve always been told that it is “Bloomberg style” to put company names in their headlines – and the bigger the company, the wider the readership.

It’s ultimately a case of Market Value – not News Value – that factors heavily in Bloomberg’s editorial equation. Johnson & Johnson has a market capitalization of nearly $190 billion. Abbott Laboratories’ market capitalization is about $83 billion and Boston Scientific’s is about $20 billion. You can do the math.

In fairness, Cypher, which is actually made and sold by a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Cordis Corporation, was a passing reference in the story (two of the 995 words), but does that merit a headline? And why should an industry issue about potential clotting complications be laid solely at our feet? I guess Bloomberg had to pick someone, but what happened to Rock, Paper, Scissors for such choices?

Anyway, next time you see Johnson & Johnson or other companies referenced in a Bloomberg headline, be mindful that there may be other “market” factors at work in the editing.

One Response to “Say What, Bloomberg?”

  1. Dsi Downloads says

    Is there anymore information you can give on this subject. It answers a lot of my questions but there is still more info I need. I will drop you an email if I can find it. Never mind I will just email you using the contact form. Hopefully you can help me further.

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