Since 2015, Bloomberg News reporters have been exchanging jobs with Bloomberg newsroom colleagues in San Francisco, Tokyo, Chicago, Hong Kong and other locations. This job-swap program enables experienced Bloomberg News employees to cover news in a different region while developing new proficiencies and relationships over a three-month period.
Jacqueline Thorpe, the Toronto bureau chief, shares her job swap experience working in Mumbai.
During my job swap in Mumbai, I was able to learn new skills, broaden my network and deepen my understanding of Bloomberg’s incredible reach.
I was an editor on the South Asia economy and government team, led by Ruth Pollard, a former war correspondent who’s worked in hot spots such as Syria and Egypt. I handled stories about India’s tax reform, Hindu nationalism, zombie debt, some of the 23 million cases in the country’s Dickensian court system and a rift between the government and central bank.
India, the land of big dreams
On one reporting trip, I drove under the Indian sun (temperatures reached 43°C/109°F) with my colleague P R Sanjai, a consumer and auto-industries reporter based in Mumbai, to Nagpur – a city in the center of the country. Sanjai had arranged a whirlwind of interviews for a story we were writing on how the city is poised to become a shipping powerhouse once India introduces a goods and services tax, and inter-state trade barriers disappear.
We met the head of a company building a high-tech warehouse for the city’s ancient market, and another who’s leading the construction of a transport hub backed by a big London-based infrastructure fund.
Our last stop was a press conference at a warehouse where India’s transport minister cut the ribbon on a lightning-fast conveyor belt. By then, the bindi that was dabbed on my forehead as I entered the building had almost melted away and even Sanjai was a little giddy from the heat as he joked, “don’t be surprised if the minister tells us he’s planning to connect India’s road system to the moon.”
The day summed up India – the land of big dreams, big dreamers and a pounding, relentless energy. It has a 6 percent growth rate that leaves western economies in the dust, a population of 1.3 billion, a swelling and ambitious middle class and a Prime Minister determined to shake things up.
Collaboration across the global newsroom
Coming from my position of bureau chief in Toronto, where I’m a jack of all trades, to Mumbai for the opportunity to drill down into a beat once again was energizing. I was able to sharpen my skills in new forms of storytelling – whether it be through graphics, Q&As or short data-focused Benchmarks. But the best part of the swap was seeing how my new Bloomberg colleagues worked including Arijit Ghosh, the South Asia managing editor; the Mumbai Bureau Chief Candice Zachariahs; reporters Anirban Nag and Iain Marlow; as well as the breaking news team and editors in Hong Kong.
The fact that I found it relatively easy to slot into an Asia economy desk is a testament to the professionalism these journalists bring to their work – in a region where data can be scarce, officials hard to get to and conditions far more chaotic than in North America. It also underscores the rigorous systems Bloomberg has in place for reporting the news from every corner of the world.
And now that I know them, I’m sure they won’t be too perturbed if they get a phone call at the end of their day asking for some help on a breaking news story in Toronto!