OLD Media Moves

The internal battle at Bloomberg

October 21, 2009

Jeff Bercovici of DailyFinance.com writes about the greater significance of Bloomberg‘s proposed acquisition of BusinessWeek — the internal machinations at Bloomberg over strategy.

Bercovici writes, “But the significance of the purchase is much larger than the numbers would suggest — even if Bloomberg insiders aren’t sure yet exactly what that significance is. One thing they do know is it signals a victory for that faction of the management hierarchy that thinks Bloomberg needs to invest more heavily in consumer media to continue growing, even if it means sustaining heavy short-term losses in those businesses.

“At the head of this faction is Norman Pearlstine, the former editor in chief of Time Inc. who joined Bloomberg as chief content officer in May 2008. Since his arrival, Pearlstine has been making over Bloomberg’s corporate culture, toning down the more peculiar aspects of what’s known as ‘the Bloomberg Way’ and helping to bring in high-profile outsiders like former NBC News president Andrew Lack, Wall Street Journal veteran Laurie Hays and Portfolio.com managing editor Dan Colarusso (my onetime boss). As the newly-installed chairman of BusinessWeek, Pearlstine will oversee the integration of the magazine into the company’s existing businesses.

“Or will he? While Pearlstine reports directly to Bloomberg LP president Dan Doctoroff in his role as chief content officer, he will defer to Matt Winkler, editor in chief of Bloomberg’s news division, on matters involving the magazine’s editorial direction. ‘Matt Winkler heads all news content,’ says a Bloomberg spokeswoman. ‘Norm will report to Matt on editorial matters.’

“A Bloomberg insider refers to this arrangement as ‘kind of hazy.’ ‘Everyone here is watching with great interest to see whether Norm runs BusinessWeek or whether it’s really Matt who runs it,’ he adds.”

Read more here.

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