OLD Media Moves

Winkler lowering profile at Bloomberg on news decisions

September 9, 2008


Matt Winkler, the editor in chief at Bloomberg News for the last two decades, is taking a step back from the day-to-day news operations at the company, according to a video announcement to the staff on Tuesday.

Bloomberg spokeswoman Judith Czelusniak, in an e-mail, said, “There was an executive editors’ meeting yesterday, and Matt did a video for news staff based on it.  He’s following up on some new workflow procedures that he said he’d be implementing in the news department back in July…when the Company did its reorganization. No new hires or promotions, but more global coverage hubs and more responsibility for exec editors. Some editors being moved around the globe.”

Matt WinklerThe executive editors, including Amanda Bennett, Al Hunt and John McCorry, will now apparently decide daily coverage. Longtime Bloomberg editor Ken Kohn, who had been New York bureau chief and the executive editor of Bloomberg TV in the past, is moving to Hong Kong.

A survey showed 60 percent or more of Bloomberg readers don’t think of it as the first, final and future word. The executive editors met Monday and decided to take Bloomberg to a “greater level,” said Winkler. “It’s the “end of the beginning of Bloomberg News.”

“If we are going to get to the next level, for the sake of everyone, I can’t continue in the same role,” Winkler added on the video conference, according to a Bloomberg reporter. “As the senior managers assume more responsibility, I will spend more time with the reporters and editors I rarely see, on strategic planning in the bureaus, on recruitment, and on determining the most important business and economic and political issues worth reporting. The changes will enable me to spend more time with all of you and with the customers to make sure we achieve our ambition. This is a seminal moment for all of us.”

The reaction to the announcement has been mixed. One reporter in New York said, “There’s been a lot of debate about it among reporters. Generally being interpreted as an attempt to lower Matt’s profile, but fairly unclear.”

Winkler has run Bloomberg News operations since its formation, being hired away from The Wall Street Journal by company founder Mike Bloomberg to start the news service. (Winkler wrote Bloomberg’s bio in 1997.) The bow-tie wearing Winkler is known for its exacting standards and for his temper toward journalists who don’t adhere to them.

Winkler, who has a history degree from Kenyon College, is just 53, so it’s not like he’s being put out to retirement by the company.

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