What’s Happening: The annual tongue-in-cheek Bloomberg Businessweek Jealousy List for 2018 laid out the articles that Bloomberg editors wish they had thought of first. “Journalism so good it makes us question our career choices,” they write. The collection favors lengthy non-fiction journalism, in a similar way that the Longform and Longreads sites do.
Why it Matters:
The Bloomberg list puts a focus on longform journalism in a lighthearted approach that skewers the “Best of” lists that clutter up social feeds and newsletters. The subject matter in Bloomberg’s picks is diverse, ranging from maternity health and heroin addiction to isolation in Japan and true-crime stories. There’s even a 1970 folk song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in there.
Bloomberg writer Cristina Lindblad’s entry in the most recent Jealousy List sums up the general tone: “My colleagues may gravitate to investigative pieces — those deeply reported, 5,000-plus-word stories that scream ‘prize-winning’ as soon as you’re three paragraphs in.” Lindblad’s own 2018 recommendation, by prize-winning writer Cathy Horyn in New York Magazine, runs a little over 4,000 words.
One pervading pattern on all three lists — Bloomberg, Longform and Longreads — is that of New York mastheads. Out of the 103 entries, 39% were from the same five places : New York Magazine, the New York Times, the New Yorker, ProPublica, and the Washington Post. Outside of those publishers, other American media dominated the lists with 94% of the works belonging to U.S. outlets. There are no Canadian publishers at all on the Bloomberg list, and their only other non-U.S. nod is to the UK.
The Bottom Line:
The Bloomberg Businessweek Jealousy List is an entertaining read and contains excellent long-form journalism; but keep in mind that it’s far from a global representation of quality reporting.