Au revoir, not adieu
Breakingviews is reaching the end of a chapter: my editorship is about to finish. It is now 13 years since we founded Breakingviews and over 12 since we started publishing. During the entire period, I have been its editor and, for most of it, I was chairman too. From the beginning of next year, there will be a new editor: Rob Cox, a brilliant journalist who has been with us since the earliest days.
The journey from start-up to global brand has taught us all a lot about building and running a business. We raised capital, developed a product, marketed the business, sold subscriptions, opened offices around the world and then sold the company to Thomson Reuters three years ago. Such skills aren’t just essential for entrepreneurs; the experience has been invaluable for us as financial journalists. When people talk about shareholder agreements or mergers, we know what they are like from the inside.
From its start, Breakingviews was unusual in the journalistic world in that we were in favour of wealth creation and free markets – but not uncritically so. We didn’t think that real-world markets are always efficient: indeed, for many years, we ran a feature called Inefficient Market. Nor did we think markets were fair. Much of our journalism has involved exposing and criticising distortions in the market – and making suggestions about how to improve things.
Sometimes, distortions have been at a micro level. So we have campaigned for good corporate governance and fair treatment of minority shareholders. We have criticised foul play by the financial services industry – before it became fashionable to do so after the credit crunch.
Market distortions have been even more damaging at a macro level. Bubbles, crashes and crises made the past 13 years a fascinating period in financial journalism. Breakingviews itself was a creature of the dotcom bubble. By the time we started publishing, that bubble had already popped. But the rest of the TMT sector was still booming. We realised it couldn’t last – and said so.
We also wrote with mounting anxiety, from 2006, about the leverage building up in the economy. Since that bubble burst and the euro crisis erupted, we have spent much of our time suggesting how to prevent immediate disaster as well as how to make the economic system healthier in the long run.
Whatever the next 13 years have in store, Breakingviews will be there analysing, commenting and offering constructive criticism. Rob Cox and his team are a formidable group of financial journalists. Meanwhile, I haven’t vanished. I will have a new role as Editor-at-Large, Reuters News – in which I will continue to write a weekly column.
Many thanks for all your support over the years.