Chasing the biggest story of his life

Chasing the biggest story of his life

IN A career spanning the dawn of the famous news show 60 Minutes to the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, veteran American newsman Andy Lack has made a lifelong friend of hard-to-please Jack Welch, won 16 Emmys and had Apple Inc's Mr Steve Jobs cursing him because he wanted Mr Jobs to pay the music industry more than his offer of US$0.99 (S$1.25) a song for usage rights.

But Mr Lack, 65, a legendary TV news producer who was also chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment in the mid-Noughties, reckoned that his current job as chief of Bloomberg Media Group is his hardest yet.

So why did he return to the news business at a time when it was bleeding from the loss of advertisers and the burgeoning of cheaper-to-run news sites?

"That crisis was exactly why I wanted to come back," he said in an interview at Bloomberg's South-east Asia headquarters here last week, ahead of his talk at the Festival of Media Asia 2013.

"I joined Bloomberg officially on Nov 1, 2008, when the financial crisis was already spiralling. I said this is the biggest story of my lifetime."

Tell him that that is quite a statement, given that he oversaw such breaking news as the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, and he stressed: "The greatest recession since the Great Depression is far and away the most compelling and complicated to report, and what's exciting for me now is to be in the intersection between politics, culture and the economy, in a time when CEOs are rock stars."

Plus, he was quick to add, it was fun to rethink how to present the news while gadgets were changing how everyone behaved.

He is onto such changes like a hawk because his job today is to figure out how to edit, package and present everything that Bloomberg's newsrooms produce on all its media platforms, whether on its legendary computer system, the Bloomberg Terminal, which dispenses financial data, on TV or online.

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