Bloomberg News on Thursday began notifying a group of employees they were being terminated, according to three people familiar with the matter, the latest in an ongoing string of layoffs at media companies as they grapple with the economics of the digital age.
Some staffers were given the sense the company hoped to enact a restructuring among a group of veteran editors, according to one of these people, who noted that some employees affected had been with Bloomberg for decades. Some employees at Bloomberg were of the belief, this person said, that the company was hoping to open its ranks to a younger, more diverse cohort of its staff.
Approximately 90 staffers are affected, according to one of the people familiar with the matter, representing less than 3% of Bloomberg’s overall editorial and research staff. Bloomberg LP has approximately 20,000 employees overall.
In a memo to staffers reviewed by Variety, John Micklethwait, Bloomberg’s editor in chief, told employees he was restructuring the newsroom to speed up some of its processes. “We need to have more ownership and accountability,” he said in his note, adding: “For the most part, we will stick to the principle of one story, one editor. No more unnecessary back-reading or re-editing. Yes, of course there will be more complicated pieces that require senior managers to be involved, but those are the exceptions. We either trust an editor to handle a story, or we don’t. If we don’t like the end result, we give the editor candid feedback.”
He told employees that at times, the newsroom has ‘“lost’ stories because we moved too slowly. Teams waited for somebody to back-read a piece or ignored the requests from the News Desk to get a blast out quickly. Managers spent too much time setting up conference calls when they should just have been writing. Or teams suddenly delivered enterprise pieces that nobody wanted.”
The layoffs have more to do with newsroom process than they do with corporate performance, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.
Bloomberg was founded by entrepreneur Michael Bloomberg, who served as Mayor of New York City between 2002 and 2013, and broadened his profile by investing millions in an unsuccessful run for the U.S. presidency in the run-up to the 2020 election.
Bloomberg has become a titan of the financial-news sector, competing regularly with Reuters and News Corp.’s Dow Jones & Co. for scoops, staff and subscription revenue. In recent years, Bloomberg has placed new emphasis on a subscription site for more general audiences, giving them access to both business news and video reports from its TV network. Bloomberg has long thrived on the fees it collects from large financial institutions that use its terminals to keep up on the latest market developments as well as dive deeply into financial data.