Gorkana meets...Florian Bamberg, Reporter covering private equity and corporate finance for the German magazine FINANCE.
Can you tell us a little bit about FINANCE? What is the magazine’s target audience?
FINANCE and FINANCE Online are aimed at CFOs, as well as the capital market community: M&A consultants, bankers, business lawyers. We are also strongly represented in the private equity sector.
Please describe your team and your role.
We are an integrated print and online editorial team, which means that everyone writes for both platforms. I myself cover the topic private equity. In addition to this, alongside coverage of deals and industry trends, we chair events at which investors can inform themselves and one another about current investments and movements in the sector.
What interests you most about the world of finance? Why did you choose this branch of journalism?
Finance, and in particular private equity, are very analytical topics - I like that. The discussion partners are also among the most interesting - investment managers are mostly quite intelligent people who are involved in all possible topics as they own businesses from all types of sectors.
You are a journalist, but also used to work in the PR industry. How do the two worlds differ?
An important point is that, as a PR professional, you need to integrate yourself considerably more in processes, while journalism is more individual. The second point is that, as a journalist, I form an opinion and then present arguments for it. In PR, however, the message is the result of the employer or client’s interests - the achievement in this case is finding a way to deliver it.
Are you in touch with PRs?
Yes. Investors on the whole mandate PR consultants as spokespersons. What is interesting is how differently external speakers understand their roles. Some see themselves as a mediator between journalist and investor. Others spend most of the time acting as a screen until the investor announces a deal, and then all at once start calling up journalists on the phone.
Does your experience in the communications industry help with interaction with PRs? And in your role as a journalist?
Yes. When I, for example, conduct an interview, I have a general idea about what the interview partner and their spokesperson probably want to achieve out of it, and which processes on the PR side preceded the meeting and which will follow. To know that can help and, after all, you work together, even if both sides have their own interests.
Apart from that, the experience has helped me to learn what I don’t want to do. In other words - these six months have confirmed to me that journalism is simply the best profession ever.
What makes a good press release stand out? How should PRs approach you? Is there anything that they shouldn’t do?
For us, figures in press releases are important. If no details are given about a deal, just so-called ‘strategic goals’, then we can’t do anything with it.
In terms of approaching journalists - when the company or investor interests me in general, I find it good when PRs help to make contact. It’s also good if they provide background information.
What I find annoying - see question 5.
Do you have a social media strategy? Do you use social media to find content for articles?
At FINANCE, social media plays an important role for us. Above all our Xing news site (https://www.xing.com/news/pages/finance-das-magazin-fur-finanzchefs-201) is very popular among our target audience as a source of news.
In order to find news I use Twitter with the Tweetdeck interface. We at FINANCE (https://twitter.com/financemagazin) have several Twitter lists in which we put together the most important accounts on, for example, private equity, capital markets and business journalists. I also use these lists myself.
What advice would you give young journalists and/or PRs who want to pursue a career in the financial sector?
If that’s what you want, then immerse yourself as deeply in the subject as possible. Non-fiction books such as ‘The Penguin Guide to Finance’ help you to understand the topic. Other works, such as ‘Barbarians at the Gate’, show that the whole thing can also be fun. Keep up-to-date and meet as many people in the industry as possible.
Do you have a ‘dream topic’ that you’d like to write about?
I’d very much like to write a huge analysis with feature report elements which conclusively answers the question whether private equity investors are good or bad for the national economy and the world in general. Patrons who want to finance this project for me are very welcome to get in touch.