Wednesday, November 20, 2013

1255 Bloomberg the Game

1255 Bloomberg -- the Game

Back in the day, Mike Bloomberg liked to have his managers play musical chairs, giving rise to some of us low-rankers drawing parallels with the Kremlin.  

You never knew from one day to the next who was comrade and who was comrade Commissar.   One wag likened the quick changes of course and assignments to Whac-a-mole.

When the Maximum Leader left to campaign for mayor, the moles went underground and stayed there.  And the Kremlin morphed into the Pentagon.

Now, as he winds up his third term as mayor, Mike Bloomberg reportedly will come back to his company, at least partly. And he’s coming back to something that is in many ways unlike what he left.

So it shouldn’t be a total loss, the people now in charge of the news division staged a little palace revolution this week.  Under pressure from various sources it is streamlining its investigative editing process and placing it in Washington.  It’s killing its excellent arts and culture division called “Bloomberg Muse,” And it’s killing sports coverage that doesn’t relate directly to money.  Covering games was never Bloomberg’s strong suit and with a stadium full of superior competitors it probably was wise to narrow the focus.

With changes like this, come layoffs, a word that back in the Kremlin days we weren’t supposed to use as a euphemism for “fired.”

Early reports called this week’s firings the largest in the company’s history.  They are not that.  Except to the people who were fired.  The radio department firings of several years ago were far more numerous and the changes that came with them were far more obvious to the people who use the company’s various forms of media.

There were no titles on our office doors, back when.  That’s because most of us had no titles and no one -- not even Mike -- had offices, let alone office doors.

But there were some titled people.  Matt Winkler was and is Editor in Chief, a term previously used mostly in High School and College newspapers and magazines.  Oh, and in Superman comics.  Well, fine. If you’re going to have a title, make it a big one.

Matt has strong views on most everything and is famously un-shy about expressing them.  And right now, he’s in the crosshairs for something he denies he’s done, killing a story some think might get his reporters kicked out of China and (can you believe it?) might affect the sale of financial data there.  

Winkler says he didn’t kill the story.  It’s “still … active.”

Well, yes, so is the story of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the one about the launch of Sputnik but most of us don’t think about those active stories each day.

So, Mike, there’s work to be done here and it’s no secret you both know it and know what to do.  Welcome home.  Now get out the chairs and dust off the mole mallet and let the games begin.

Shrapnel:

--An analysis shows that this blog gets many more hits when it deals with the miscreants of Wall Street.  Examples are recent posts about SAC’s recent illegalities and Forbes Magazine’s future.  So streetwalker that I am, you’ll probably see more of that kind of thing in the future.

--Ratings, rating ratings… it’s all about numbers when it comes to any medium, even a puny one like this. TV, the internet, radio, magazines, credit standings, on and on.  Only NPR and PBS think they’re exempt.  But, secretly, they keep track of the figures, too.

--A friend is traveling to Mexico and got advice to take an armored car from the airport to the hotel and back, to rent a Kevlar vest and an NFL grade Football helmet at the kiosk in either the hotel lobby or the baggage claim area.  This guy is an experienced globetrotter and --educated guess here -- uncomfortable with firearms whether he’s the pointer or pointee.  Fingers crossed.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2013

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