In his profile of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's media empire, New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman explains the stat-based credo Bloomberg's journalists follow, what their bosses want, and perhaps more importantly, what he doesn't want. It turns out that the top editor at Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal-trained Matthew Winkler, doesn't like very much fun, and Sherman insinuates that reluctance for whimsy might be holding the company back. Fittingly, that fearless fun that Winkler hates so much, is also the type of thing (humping planes!) that's made Bloomberg Businessweek a name again (even though Sherman reports that the magazine is projected to lose $18 million this year*). Sherman details Winkler's pet peeves:
Bloomberg has tried to attract stars, including offering CNBC’s David Faber a mid-six-figure deal. Bloomberg also went after the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin. Neither could be swayed. Part of the problem is that Winkler remains resistant to adopting some of the entertainment values that could attract an audience. Last year, producers inserted a clip from The Princess Bride into a segment about the wild volatility in the market. “Winkler went batshit,” one person familiar with the matter said. “He wrote out a note saying that we shouldn’t mix fiction with news.” (“I think news should always be about the facts,” Winkler says. “You shouldn’t mix fiction with nonfiction; it’s oil and water.”)
We like jokes, a point of view, and sometimes an inappropriate pop culture reference or three with our news. And that's probably why we won't be getting hired by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's media corporation anytime soon. Sherman's profile of the office culture at Bloomberg is a fantastic read for anyone who has never seen a Bloomberg terminal, and it's scintillating for media gazers like us (c'mon, we sent in an operative to take pictures of the Bloomberg cafeteria)
*So we were kind of shocked by this figure too right? Well, apparently $18 million in losses actually isn't that bad compared to $62 million, which as Capital New York's Joe Pompeo reports, is what they were projected to lose in 2009. "The magazine was losing more than $60 million a year at the time of the acquisition," a Bloomberg spokesperson told Pompeo. "In the years we've owned the magazine, we've cut annual losses by two thirds, and are on a multiyear path to profitability."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.