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Memo Pad: Bloomberg View Is Hiring… Numbers Up at The Financial Times…

Executive editors David Shipley and Jamie Rubin have begun hiring staff at Bloomberg View, the new opinion arm of Bloomberg L.P.

A MATTER OF OPINION: Executive editors David Shipley and Jamie Rubin have begun hiring staff at Bloomberg View, the new opinion arm of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Bloomberg L.P. The pair have hired five editors so far, including Frank Wilkinson, an executive editor at The Week; Tim Lavin, a senior editor at The Atlantic, and Stuart Seldowitz, a three-decade veteran of the State Department. Seldowitz was the acting director for South Asia at the National Security Council through the beginning of this year, and he worked as an adviser to the U.S. ambassador to NATO during the Bush administration.

Shipley, who left his post as op-ed editor at The New York Times to launch the Bloomberg opinion outfit, has brought on his deputy of five years at the paper, Mary Duenwald, and Toby Harshaw, a career Timesman and former op-ed staff editor. Rubin, a former assistant secretary at the State Department himself, has a Times connection too. His sister Elizabeth Rubin writes for the Times Magazine, most recently about Afghanistan.

Except for Rubin and Shipley, the staff won’t have titles. Some will work editing op-ed-style columns and others will function as an editorial board, writing unsigned opinion pieces. The length, frequency and style of those editorials is still being determined, according to one staffer. More hires are on the way.

The growing Bloomberg View staff is working out of a 17,000-square-foot Stanford White mansion on Madison Avenue and East 78th Street that the mayor bought for $45 million in 2006. He lives nearby, and his philanthropic organization, Bloomberg Family Foundation, also has its offices on the premises. An enormous sculpture of a sperm whale was recently removed from the building’s lobby, but, according to Bloomberg L.P. convention, a fish tank remains.

— Zeke Turner

YEAR OF RECOVERY, AND THEN SOME: In the U.S., The Financial Times may have a much smaller circulation than The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, but the pink paper’s business model, which draws substantial revenues from its three-year-old metered payment system for FT.com, seems ahead of the curve.

A combined subscription for print and online is $33.96 a month, and a premium subscription to online only is nearly $30 a month. Overall, FT.com’s paid circulation is up more than 50 percent, to 207,000, a third of total global paid circulation. Chief executive officer John Ridding said print and online are comparable from a profitability perspective.

For 2010, the FT’s ad revenues rose more than 10 percent, thanks, in part, to the return of the luxury category, and FT.com saw double-digit ad revenue growth, helped by the rise of new mobile platforms. “This [the U.S.] is our biggest market now,” said Ridding, noting that circulation in the U.S. is 120,000. How to Spend It, the FT’s weekend glossy (which launched in 1994), posted a 40 percent increase in advertising, and the March 19 fashion issue will be the biggest ever published in the U.S.

When it came to talking competition, Ridding wholeheartedly believes that when The New York Times implements its metered system, it will be successful. But don’t hold your breath for an iPad-only version of the FT. “We’re always in favor of innovation and experimenting, but I don’t see the need to invest in a new publication. Our current brand is doing just fine.”

— Amy Wicks

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