Bloomberg News to cut staff amid charges of self-censorship

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Bloomberg News plans to eliminate 50 jobs from sports, A&E and investigative coverage, William Launder reports in The Wall Street Journal. Bloomberg employs 2,400 in its newsroom, and its "major business is selling financial data on terminals," Launder writes. But:

The market for financial data has experienced slower growth in recent years as big banks cut back on their head count, thereby reducing demand for new terminals, and as Europe's economies struggle with a prolonged downturn.

The cutbacks arrive as the company faces reports it declined to publish stories that might upset Chinese authorities. Bloomberg News suspended Michael Forsthye, a reporter on one iced story, after a New York Times article about the purported self-censorship.

Amanda Bennett, Bloomberg News' former executive editor for investigations, recently resigned, Chris Roush reported last week. "I’m also most proud of the groundbreaking June 2012 story that the team led, that for the first time exposed the wealth of the relatives of China’s top leaders," Bennett told Roush in an email. "I’m proud of the courage it took from top to bottom in Bloomberg to make that happen."

Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler tells Edward Wong and Christine Haughney of The New York Times that the stories in question "are active and not spiked." He would not comment on a conference call last month with Forsythe and others to discuss the company's decision not to publish the stories.

In the call, Mr. Winkler defended his decision by comparing it to the self-censorship by foreign news bureaus trying to preserve their ability to report inside Nazi-era Germany, according to the Bloomberg employees familiar with the discussion. “He said, ‘If we run the story, we’ll be kicked out of China,’ ” one employee said.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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