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Using the Bloomberg Terminal to enhance an investigation

bloomberg terminal

Photo by Bloomberg

Bloomberg News’ Aaron Kuriloff and Darrell Preston give us a national look at the stadium building boom and its costs. They write, “Over the life of the $17 billion of exempt debt issued to build stadiums since 1986, the last of which matures in 2047, taxpayer subsidies to bondholders will total $4 billion, the data show.”

Darrell Preston

That’s a big number to calculate. Aaron says the “power of the Bloomberg Terminal” made it possible.

He says they used Bloomberg’s Excel API to download all the bonds into a spreadsheet. Then they filled in the rows with bonds’ tax status, underwriters, live pricing data and other data, he says. As a former “Bloombergian,” I know the terminals have more functions than most people use. To help get you started, I came across the University of Florida’s primer on using the Bloomberg Professional service, including how to install the Excel API.

But the story required more than data.

Aaron Kuriloff

“When it comes to reporting on bonds it is important to understand all the different features that make them unique and affect how they function, from the source of funding to pay them off to call features, types of repayment schedules, whether tax-exempt or not among others,” Darrell says.

Darrell says reporters can get financial details from bond disclosure documents, which are available through the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s EMMA website. Reynolds Center contributor Amy Resnick has a great primer on using the site and getting additional information.

Aaron and Darrell also have written about projects in Indianapolis, New Orleans and Santa Clara, Calif.

 

In Featured, Investing | Banking, Sports.

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