Business Insider is taking you behind the scenes of our best stories with the series “The Inside Story.”
This week, BI deputy executive editor Olivia Oran spoke to reporters Nicole Einbinder and Rebecca Ungarino whose investigation into Wall Street broker BTIG revealed a toxic party culture that was stuck in the ’80s.
Einbinder and Ungarino discuss how they got sources to open up about allegations of cultural problems, racist behavior and sexual banter at the firm and why bad behavior has been tolerated on Wall Street even post #MeToo.
Read their story on BTIG here: Former employees say BTIG, a Wall Street firm backed by Goldman Sachs and Blackstone, had a toxic party culture that was stuck in the ’80s
Olivia Oran: How did you stumble upon this story?
Nicole Einbinder: I actually stumbled upon this story while reporting on cultural problems at Bloomberg. I was tipped off by a former employee who said there were similar issues occurring at BTIG. Rebecca and I decided to team up to investigate because of her expertise covering finance and Wall Street. We were particularly intrigued after learning that the EEOC was “conducting an investigation into sexual harassment allegations” at the firm. Sources who were contacted by the agency were never told about the status of the investigation, and we wanted to try and figure out what was going on.
Rebecca Ungarino: I was interested to hear Nicole received that tip, because while reporting out other stories, I’d heard something similar from a source last year. At the time, it wasn’t really something I pursued. But our instincts were to pursue the tip and find out what was going on, and I was eager to dive in together.
Oran: The BTIG investigation took 6 months to report out. Can you describe your reporting process? Why was this one especially tough to get across the finish line?
Einbinder: One of the biggest challenges was that our reporting for this story coincided with coronavirus. At the onset of the pandemic, we both had to prioritize other reporting related to COVID-19 that, subsequently, led to delays for this piece. As we mention in the article, throughout the course of this reporting, we also received multiple letters from a law firm on behalf of BTIG that accused us of making “false and damaging written and oral statements” while seeking information about BTIG, and threatening to sue Business Insider for defamation and potentially damaging the firm’s relationships with clients. Due to that, we needed to be as buttoned up as we could before hitting publish.
Oran: Many of the sources in your story are anonymous employees who detail allegations of cultural problems, racist behavior and sexual banter at the firm. Was it difficult to get people to talk to you about these issues? How did you ultimately convince them?
Ungarino: Yes, it’s definitely difficult to get people to open up and be candid about their experiences at a company, especially if they were negative in nature and …read more
Source:: Business Insider