It's annoying to interview a source for an hour just to get one stupid quote. So, Bloomberg reporter Dan Golden thought he'd go ahead and write a quote for his source. One critical of a Bloomberg competitor, no less.
AmericaBlog's John Aravosis received the tip from someone at the University of Phoenix, which Aravosis says will be Bloomberg's competitor once they launch a planned for-profit education project. Golden (who Talking Biz News says is a Pulitzer Prize Winner and former Wall Street Journal reporter) sent this email to investment banker Mark DeFusco during the editing phase of a piece he was working on about for-profit education which focused on the decline of the University of Phoenix (which is owned by the Apollo Group):
How are you? My story's going through editing and my editor had a couple questions. One is — I identified you as an education investment banker — and he was wondering what deals you've done, and if perhaps there's one that's particularly noteworthy that we might mention.
Also, the theme of my story seems to be along the lines of — apollo has done well as a stock and had rapid growth, but now it's facing some potential vulnerabilities — a less sympathetic federal administration, plus possibly the limits to its growth (meaning that its shift to axia college has led to some problems because its growth has come with low-income, less prepared students who are more likely to drop out). I'd love it if you could come up something on the record that might reflect some of this — perhaps along the lines of — Phoenix's original model was magic because XXX — but the current model has some of the same flaws that have dogged other for-profit schools — X and Y.
Perhaps if you have some time this afternoon we could discuss?
We're guessing it was for this story. (Suspiciously, the story does not appear to be in Bloomberg's online archives, and the link you get to the story via Google leads to a different University of Phoenix-related story. We had to use the always-useful Google 'cache' button to find it.) It appears that DeFusco didn't take Golden's suggestions verbatim, but—SHOCKER!—he did offer some helpful support to Golden's overall thesis.
We would dial up the outrage meter, but this actually seems like a pretty good way for journalists to speed up the super tedious process of reporting a story. (Why do you think I became a blogger?) Maybe Golden could teach a seminar at his local J-school: "Interviews 101: How to write them."