Spotlight with Bloomberg TV’s Tech Reporter

Michele Steele - Bloomberg TVMichele Steele is a Chicago-native who now lives in New York City and works as a reporter for Bloomberg TV. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, Michele quickly made a name for herself as a reporter on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, covering stocks and the economy for over 100 local stations which broadcast Bloomberg business reports. Now focusing primarily on the business of media, tech and entertainment, you can see Michele on Bloomberg Television segments worldwide.

TP: Tell us a bit about your position at Bloomberg. What are your areas of coverage?

MS: Town-crier/Jill of a (bunch) of trades at Bloomberg TV. I report on media, entertainment and some gadget-related things at a 24-hour financial news channel based in New York City.

TP: Is technology a natural fit for you? Would you consider yourself a geek? P.S. It’s cool to admit that these days.

MS: From the first time I beat Glass Joe (not too impressive, right?) in Mike Tyson’s Punchout a million years ago, I’ve been interested in gaming, technology and anything ‘hands-on.’ I’m not sure I would consider myself totally geeked out, but I do consider myself plugged in. You won’t find me far from my Blackberry (for work) or my iPhone (for fun). And I’ve been happy with both devices thus far — though not as happy with the AT&T network – especially in New York.

TP: Bloomberg is a massive media machine. What are one good thing and one bad thing about working for such a behemoth?

MS: Good thing about working for a big organization is that we’ve got resources and people literally all over the globe. The worldwide coverage is truly unparalleled — whether its hog futures in Chicago or the beauty industry in India, odds are a Bloomberg reporter is covering it. The ‘less good’ thing may be that you’ve got to know who to pitch on things or you could end up lost in the shuffle.

TP:  Your job allows you access to the NYSE floor every morning. Do you ever feel the compulsion to throw on a trader’s jacket and try your hand at that?

MS: I definitely like the adrenaline rush and excitement of being on the floor of the exchange. I’m not sure it would be as ‘fun’ if my own money were on the line, however. Believe it or not, I’m pretty risk averse. But my motto is anything once – so I wouldn’t turn down the chance to be a trader for a day.

TP: What gadgets or tech stories are you getting excited about for 2010?

MS:  Can you say Apple tablet. I’m looking forward to hearing more about that one. Otherwise, I am interested in covering the 4G rollout and whether we will see a sequel to the Wii and a new Xbox next year. This isn’t anything new — but I have not ceased to be impressed with the depth and breadth of phone apps that keep coming out – i.e. the app that will start your car.

TP: For the PR flaks that want to pitch you stories, what are the keys to a successful pitch for you?

MS: First, spell my name right. Second, an exclusive is great. Third, tell me how this is new, different, bucking the trend, setting a new trend, etc. Fourth, Bloomberg is about the investor – so the bigger the company that’s involved, generally, the better. But I read all the pitches that I get, even if the company isn’t publicly traded.

TP:  If you weren’t a business and technology reporter, what would you be doing for a career and where?

MS:  Hm – this is the part where everybody’s supposed to say taste tester at an ice cream factory right? Two ideas: I was recruited by the CIA right out of college, so that’s something I’ve always kept in the back of my mind. I’ve always respected people who serve their country. Other idea, short order cook because I’m good at cooking easy things. Though I think the novelty of frying up eggs for other people would wear off.

TP: It’s Sunday; would you rather be at the Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Six Flags, the Guggenheim, dim-sum in Flushing, or on the couch watching football?

MS: Dim sum, I’m half Asian.