Bloomberg News is implementing layoffs, editor in chief John Micklethwait said Thursday.
Explaining the decision in a note to staffers, he said that the pandemic has highlighted both strengths and weaknesses in the newsroom, making him realize that there is a need for restructuring, which will lead to some job losses. He did not disclose numbers, but sources said it would likely be around 90 positions. It’s understood that the layoffs will bring the total number of employees in the news and research division down to around 3,000.
“At our best, we have been unbeatable. Look at the way we covered COVID-19 and markets…However, we all know that we also ‘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,” he continued. “In light of this, we have decided to reorganize, and sadly this has meant losing some of our colleagues.”
According to the staff memo, the main purpose of the restructuring is to improve the editing process – making it quicker by allowing editors to work across multiple teams. “For the most part, we will stick to the principle of one story, one editor. No more unnecessary back-reading or re-editing.”
But while there will be job losses, Micklethwait stated that the company plans to hire in areas including data journalism.
“We aim to end 2021 with as many journalists as we had before the pandemic — and with more analysts,” he said. “I am not going to pretend that today is a happy day for the newsroom. It is always painful to tell journalists that they are losing their jobs. But it is also the start of a new chapter in our efforts to be the chronicle of capitalism.”
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