August 20, 2015

The New York Post

It’s been no secret that the return of Mike Bloomberg to his financial news empire would bring changes in personnel and strategy. Now it’s apparently bringing layoffs. The devil of their true significance will be in as-yet-undisclosed details.

Citing “sources,” the New York Post says that the company, which employs 2,700 journalists worldwide, is gearing up for about 100 layoffs, or 4.2 percent of its force, in coming weeks. The company had no immediate response.

Many of the layoffs are expected to target politics and government reporters out of the New York and Washington, DC, bureaus, two sources told The Post.

Those politics and government reporters have been a source of much internal debate, especially with Bloomberg’s return after serving three terms as New York City’s mayor.

They’ve not been viewed as money-making, “market-moving” elements of Bloomberg, where the financial news and data provided by its more than $20,000-a-year-terminals are the source of the company’s enormous success.

At the same time, while Bloomberg was still away serving as mayor, the company made a huge, multi-million-dollar investment in political reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann and a new New York-based politics site.

Its success is unclear, but it does not appear to have become a must-read or must-watch (via a Halperin-Heilemann show on Bloomberg TV) for many politics cognoscenti even as the 2016 presidential campaign heats up.

At the same time, Bloomberg has seen an exodus of very qualified political reporters and editors to The Wall Street Journal, CBS News, USA Today and The Boston Globe, among other outlets. Some saw what they believe was handwriting on the wall as far as decreased interest back at headquarters in their handiwork.

The identities of those who would be let go, if layoffs take place, will make clear any strategic significance.

If, as the Post reports, layoffs would mostly come from the government and political ranks of the reporting army, they would certainly further diminish that sector.

It might unavoidably also raise long-term questions about the Halperin-Heilemann endeavor. That’s especially so if Bloomberg’s return and early moves mean a decided back-to-basics mantra would persist and the politics effort fails to gain higher-profile traction amid decidedly robust competition.

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New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S.…
James Warren

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