NewsBios Dossier of Ankit Ajmera – July 2014

ankit_ajmera

 

 

© 2015 NewsBios. All Rights Reserved.

ANKIT AJMERA

Thomson Reuters
Correspondent (Bangalore)

Photo Above: http://www.facebook.com

Beat: U.S. Company Spot News: Cars, Rail, Travel, Homes, Hotel Contractors, and Defense Contractors

Current

Although Mr. Ajmera, who is in his early 30s, has more than eight years experience as a journalist, he has less than a year of experience as a financial journalist.

Moreover, his skill set is vary narrow in comparison with a comparable U.S.-educated and trained correspondent for Reuters, or any major American financial news outlet.

A native of India who works from Reuters’s large international newsroom located in Bangalore, Mr. Ajmera has been specifically trained to rapidly digest corporate news releases – primarily from large American companies – and then disseminate a “first-draft” headline and story derived from the corporate statement. He and his colleagues are in a perpetual foot race to get the news out ahead of competitors at Bloomberg News and Dow Jones Newswires.

Robert MacMillan, a senior Reuters.com editor, supervises two teams of more than 30 journalists in Bangalore and New Delhi. In February 2011, he blogged about the role the bureau and its correspondents play within the Reuters news empire. Here is part of what he wrote:

“These reporters and editors deal with the heavy volume of company statements. They’re the ones who publish the early versions of the stories that our beat reporters later update and prettify. You could say they’re just moving the copy, but their obligation, as much as anybody else’s, is to interpret what’s going on. They also have to do it within minutes, then update, then do it again, all while knowing that at some point, if the story is important enough, someone else is going to get the byline. A shared credit often is the best there is.”

Mr. MacMillan’s observations aptly describe the typical work routine of Mr. Ajmera, who joined Reuters in Bangalore in November 2013, and who writes extensively on corporate news, including earnings, share-price movements, and significant corporate developments. Mr. Ajmera’s specific beat includes U.S. auto dealers, car rental concerns, travel websites, railroad operators, homebuilders, hotels and defense contractors, among others.

The Bangalore bureau of Thomson Reuters is the third-largest newsroom in Reuters, covering U.S., Canadian, UK and Asian publicly listed companies. The bureau has expanded in recent years to assume writing, reporting and editing functions that previously were handled in New York and Toronto.

Reporters in the bureau, who are often paid far less than their American counterparts, do have the opportunity to advance to better-paid, U.S.-based assignments if they demonstrate the aptitude. As such, Bangalore functions somewhat as a “farm team” for the “major league” Reuters newsrooms.

A July 25, 2014 posting on the ThomsonReuters.com jobs site, describes the qualifications that it seeks from candidates to fill editorial roles similar to Mr. Ajmera’s.

JOB SPECIFICATIONS

– At least one year experience on an editing desk or publishing team, covering financial news

– Strong news judgment and ability to prioritize news, analysis and views for an investment audience

– Ability to rewrite headlines, news leads and captions to suit audience requirements

– Build news packages with pictures, video and related content

– Strong interest and expertise in monitoring international news wires and other outlets, including social media

– Keen interest in specializing in companies, commodities or economics

– Quick learner and adopter of new technologies, including publishing trends

– Able to work night shifts on rotation

Mr. Ajmera and his peers in Bangalore are trained and supervised, typically by Reuters editors who have years of experience in the United States or Europe. Their specific articles are likely to be edited elsewhere, in America, Europe or Asia.

It is not uncommon for Mr. Ajmera to post 4 or more bylined stories in a single day. The sheer volume of his editorial production underscores how little time he has to evaluate and source each of the stories.

Among his recent bylined stories are:

  • Waste Management to sell waste-to-energy unit to Energy Capital – July 29, 2014

Waste Management Inc said it would sell its waste-to-energy unit to private equity firm Energy Capital Partners for $1.94 billion in cash, to focus on its larger solid waste business.

  • Moves: RBS, Citigroup, Itau BBA, AKG Actuaries – July 25, 2014 (compiled with Lehar Maan)

The following financial services industry appointments were announced on Friday. To inform us of other job changes, email moves@thomsonreuters.com. ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND GROUP PLCJon Weiss, a former executive of the bank, will join hedge fund Candlewood Investment Group LP, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

  • Deals of the day: Mergers and Acquisitions – July 25, 2014 (compiled with Lehar Maan)

The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 1920 GMT on Friday. Britain’s BSkyB has agreed to pay $9 billion to buy Rupert Murdoch‘s pay-TV companies in Germany and Italy, taking its hunt for growth into Europe by creating a media powerhouse with 20 million customers.

  • D.R. Horton takes hit from discounts as housing demand slows – July 24, 2014 (written with Sagarika Jaisinghani)

D.R. Horton Inc (DHI.N), the No.1 U.S. homebuilder, said it had to offer discounts in the third quarter to boost sales in Chicago, a particularly bleak spot in a weak U.S. housing market.

  • PulteGroup profit rises due to higher home prices – July 24, 2014

U.S. homebuilder PulteGroup Inc reported a 15 percent rise in quarterly profit as it sold homes at higher prices, but said orders fell 2.2 percent.

  • Deals of the day: Mergers and acquisitions – July 24, 2014 (compiled with Lehar Maan)

The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Thursday. Breitburn Energy Partners LP agreed to buy QR Energy LP for $1.46 billion in a deal to create one of the largest U.S. oil producers structured as a master limited partnership.

  • Norfolk Southern posts better-than-expected profit – July 23, 2014

U.S. railroad operator Norfolk Southern Corp reported a better-than-expected second-quarter profit, helped by higher volumes across its businesses as the economy improves.

  • Moves: Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Saxo Bank, MN Investment – July 23, 2014 (compiled with Lehar Maan)

The following financial services industry appointments were announced on Tuesday. To inform us of other job changes, email moves@thomsonreuters.com. CITIGROUP INC – The company has hired Credit Suisse banker Nicolas Desombre to lead its investment bank in France, the latest in a series of senior hires in Europe to help strengthen its operations in the region.

  • Deals of the day: Mergers and Acquisitions – July 23, 2014 (compiled with Lehar Maan)

The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Wednesday. BCE Inc said it will pay C$3.95 billion ($3.68 billion) to take regional affiliate Bell Aliant private, securing access to its cash flow and bolstering BCE’s position as Canada’s largest telecom company.

  • Moves: BCS Financial, Mayfair Capital, CR Investment, Goldman Sachs – July 23, 2014

The following financial services industry appointments were announced on Wednesday. To inform us of other job changes, email moves@thomsonreuters.com. BCS FINANCIAL GROUP – The Russian brokerage said it appointed Matthieu Ressencourt as managing director and head of equity derivatives trading in London.

[Mr. Maan is a technology correspondent in Thomson Reuters’ Bangalore Bureau; he joined the company in March 2013.]

Prior to joining Reuters, Mr. Ajmera spent 3 years as a correspondent and copy editor for the Mumbai Mirror, focused primarily on lifestyle and health stories aimed at a general (not business) reader.

In previous jobs, he covered news and trends related to art, culture, music, lifestyle, travel and the film industry.

[NewsBios Note (7/14): To the extent that financial journalism can be scripted and automated, Reuters’ correspondents in India are ‘programmed’ to cover the companies on their beats. Not to rob individual reporters of potential credit for bringing their own talents and insights to their work, in general, the questions that Mr. Ajmera will ask during interviews with U.S. corporate executives and the ground that he will aim to cover will be very similar to other Bangalore-based correspondents, regardless of the industries they watch.

While we aren’t privileged to the specific training Mr. Ajmera and his colleagues receive, nor to the questions they are encouraged to ask, we understand the primary goal that Reuters hopes to realize: To generate original market-moving content on an exclusive basis, allowing Reuters to claim scoops vis-á-vie Bloomberg and Dow Jones Newswires.

Among questions likely to be on the agenda when Mr. Ajmera conducts an interview with a senior U.S. corporate executive of a publicly held company:

  • Quarterly and annual earnings forecasts
  • The company’s current stock price and P/E ratio and specific questions about both, especially if the company lags behind industry averages
  • New products in the pipeline that could generate significant revenues
  • Costs of goods or services and steps the company is taking to control them
  • Industry trends and how the company is fairing compared to the competition
  • Stability of the senior management team and if any changes are in the offing
  • Is the company looking to acquire other companies?
  • Is the company a potential takeover target itself?
  • If there are any shareholders with sizeable stakes in the company, are they friendly or might they agitate for steps that would enhance the company’s market value?
  • If the company has recently acquired another company or subsidiary, how is the integration process proceeding?
  • What if any significant regulatory changes are in the offing, and/or, how is the company coping with relatively recent regulatory changes?
  • Are there any outstanding lawsuits or threatened lawsuits of significance? If so, what is the company’s outlook pertaining to these?

Because Mr. Ajmera and his colleagues are responsible for churning out a high volume of daily content, and because they each cover dozens of companies, and because many of the Bangalore correspondents – including Mr. Ajmera – don’t have a depth of experience covering business, then when they ask these (and other) questions, they aren’t particularly well-equipped to analyze the “reading-between-the-lines” significance of the answers they receive.

While a better-trained, more-experienced financial journalist might detect subtly, duplicity or gaps in the answers s/he receives to similar questions, we suspect that Reuters’ Bangalore correspondents, in general, will be less likely to zero in on any particular area of concern – unless the company executive who is being interviewed volunteers the disclosure and explains its significance.]

Chain of Command: Reports to Rodney Joyce, Bangalore bureau chief, and Ted Kerry, senior editor in charge. These two editors fundamentally are responsible for Mr. Ajmera’s career trajectory. On a daily basis, many of Mr. Ajmera’s stories are edited or supervised by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, desk editor-in-charge.

Address: 80 Feet Road • HAL 3rd Stage • Kodihalli, Bangalore, Karnataka 560017, India

Phone: 646-223-8780 (U.S.) or 91-80-4135 -5800 (India)

DOB: October 21st (Born in the early 1980s. Exact date unavailable)    Joined: November 2013

Personal Email: ankit.ajmera.21@gmail.com          URL: http://www.reuters.com

Education: Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce (Pune, India), Bachelor of Commerce – 2003; University of Mumbai (India), Master of Commerce – 2006

In 2005, Mr. Ajmera received a post-graduate diploma in mass communication, advertising, and marketing from the Xavier Institute of Communication in Mumbai. In 2010, he completed a course in photography at the same school.

Mr. Ajmera attended high school (graduating in 2000) at the Maharaja Sawai Mansingh Vidyalaya in Jaipur, where he focused his studies on commerce and psychology.

Employment History:

  • November 2013 – present, correspondent, Thomson Reuters (U.S. company news)
  • December 2010 – November 2013, senior correspondent and copy editor, Mumbai Mirror (health and lifestyle)
  • April 2008 – December 2010, senior correspondent and copy editor, Diligent Media Corporation (arts and culture)
  • May 2006 – April 2008, correspondent, Banyan Netfaqs Pvt. Ltd. (Indian advertising and marketing)
  • September 2005 – May 2006, “trainee” copywriter, McCann Erickson (headlines and brochures)

Awards: None.

SOCIAL NETWORKING:

ajimera_twitter

Photo (7/14): From Mr. Ajmera’s Twitter account

(7/14): Mr. Ajmera has posted 97 times on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/tvventyone, where he has 156 followers and follows 71 accounts. Among the accounts he follows there are those belonging to Indian film actor and “humanitarian” Salman Khan; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (as well as the Prime Minister’s Office); Tibetan Buddhist religious leader The Dalai Lama; Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield; and cricket writer Ayaz Memon.

He also follows the accounts of numerous publications and news organizations including Scientific American; National Geographic; Nature News; New Scientist; Wired; MIT Tech Review; Tech Crunch; io9 (a blog that focuses on “the future”); Reuters Science, Business, and Top News; Bloomberg News and corporate; The New York Times and its Well section; The Wall Street Journal and its Technology section; The Economist; the Financial Times; Time.com; the Harvard Business Review; and The Caravan (a narrative journalism magazine in India).

Additionally he follows the sites of the BBC’s Top Gear cars television program; Tesla Motors; Instagram; Gizmodo; Mashable; TED Talks; Google; the Google Nexus phone; and the Android phone.

Mr. Ajmera has 426 friends on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ankit.ajmera.21.

Sports teams he likes there include Arsenal F.C. (based in London, England); Infiniti Red Bull Racing (based in Milton Keynes, England); and the Rajasthan Royals cricket team (based in Jaipur, India).

The book he likes there is The Last Question, a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov.

Other likes on Facebook include science fiction author Wayne Barlowe; local business Shoefu!; 1001 Things to do in Bangalore; Wicked Ride – Luxury Bike Rentals; the India Poker Series; Cycling for Foodies; Gourmet Central; the OPA restaurant; Cherry’s Cupcake and Cookies; artist Vivek Goel and his Ravanayan comic book series; the Beyond Ordinary supply store; and Planet Jaipur broadcasting and media.

Mr. Ajmera has 431 connections on LinkedIn at in.linkedin.com/pub/ankit-ajmera/26/162/426.

His personal interests listed there include Royal Enfield and Harley Davidson motorcycles (among others), photography, astronomy, and science fiction books and films.

PERSONAL:

Rain_On_My_Window_July_2012

Photo (7/12): Mr. Ajmera posted this photo featuring a view from his apartment window.

(7/14): Mr. Ajmera is a native speaker of Hindi and Marwari. He has described his English as having “full professional proficiency.”

Based on his social networking posts and his uploaded photos, he appears to enjoy motorcycling, running, dancing, sailing and photography. There are no clear indications that he is married or has children.

He has said that his hometown is Jaipur, India.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

[NewsBios could not find evidence that Mr. Ajmera has been a speaker, moderator, or panelist at any events or conferences, nor has he been interviewed by mainstream U.S. financial television news outlets].

Research Conclusions (7/14): Our research found no evidence of any of the following: That Mr. Ajmera has written a published book; is an officer of any journalism professional groups; won any significant journalism awards; is a regular guest on broadcast news or public affairs programs; has been involved in any journalism controversy of substance or has been the subject of a libel or defamation lawsuit.

 

© 2015 NewsBios. All Rights Reserved.

One thought on “NewsBios Dossier of Ankit Ajmera – July 2014

  1. Pingback: CJR Article on NewsBios Uses Shallow & Shoddy Journalism | NewsBios

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