Its seems like it was just yesterday that Ellen Pollock was named the new editor of Bloomberg Businessweek and was given a welcome warning from Bloomberg CEO Mike Bloomberg when he told her “Don’t Fuck It Up“. Well we don’t know if she ended up doing what he told her not to do, but she is being replaced at the magazine. Businessweek is now set to undergo a major revamp in the new year under Megan Murphy who is replacing Ms. Pollock. When Ms. Pollock took charge, she immediately started to put her team together. When 2016 came in, Ms. Pollock kicked it off with three new hires. But that was only the beginning. She followed that up with the hiring of two features editors, rounding her team to carry out her vision. But as it turns out, that vision didn’t fit into the bigger vision of her bosses and so, changes needed to be made. The changes were announced in a joint memo from Bloomberg Media boss Justin Smith and Editorial Chief John Micklethwait. Here is the full memo below:
To everybody in Bloomberg Businessweek from John Micklethwait and Justin Smith,
know that Ellen is talking to many of you about her departure from
Bloomberg Businessweek. We have booked some time to speak to all of you
today. But we wanted to provide some background and context to the
changes that are taking place – and also pay tribute to Ellen.
Since Bloomberg acquired Businessweek in 2009, you have made the
magazine into one of the smartest brands in global media. Bloomberg
Businessweek (BBW) has regularly landed exclusive interviews with global
business and political leaders, as well as delivering investigative
pieces that changed the course of companies and global business. It has
published some wonderful journalism and many of you have the awards to
show for it.
Ellen has been at the very center of this. She
joined the magazine two years before we bought it, after 18 years at the
Wall Street Journal. As editor, she has helped oversee some spectacular
stories, from Baltimore’s surveillance city to “How to hack an
election”. She has been a mentor and friend to many of you. We
understand why you will miss her.
Brad Wieners, Ellen’s deputy,
sadly has decided to leave the company, too. They are both wonderful
journalists who have done a great job producing a high-quality magazine.
But we are now moving in a new direction.
To step back, BBW, for all its successes, faces some deep
challenges. The magazine is not integrated enough into the rest of our
editorial operations. And BBW’s business model has also not evolved as
quickly as the market around it – and does not have enough of a focus on
digital innovation. The revenue model is still too reliant on declining
print advertising rather than digital or multi-platform subscriber
revenue. We don’t feel that the franchise fully reflects the scale of
Bloomberg’s global presence.
However, there is also an opportunity with this. We have both spent
much of our careers helping to modernize magazine brands. We worked
together here on the new redesigned Markets magazine, which has brought
in readers and revenues. We are convinced that we can embark on an
exciting new phase in BBW’s storied 87 year old history – by
transforming both its editorial mission and its business model. We hope
to do that not just in print, but on the web, in a daily App and through
We need your help to do this. Our plan is to launch
a new version of BBW towards the end of Q2 of 2017. Until then we will
continue to publish BBW in its current form, with the help of all of you
– and to the same high standards.
Working out the exact details of this new BBW is the job of the
next few months. But we are already clear that it requires deep change.
Editorially, we want to integrate BBW’s journalists more deeply into the
rest of the newsroom. Our content needs to become more targeted on
business and finance, more global and more digital, with daily offerings
of news, insights and analysis that help readers understand and compete
in the world. And the commercial model will also change. BBW will
remain our broadest business brand. But we will dramatically sharpen its
utility and value to readers.
What will emerge from this will be very different from the
stand-alone magazine you all write for at the moment which Ellen has led
so diligently. As we will explain later, many of you will soon report
to different beat editors, and, once we have unveiled the new magazine,
the central editorial team may well be smaller.
To lead this effort, we have today appointed Megan Murphy to be the
editor. Megan has done an extraordinary job as our Washington Bureau
Chief. She has a rich background in digital finance journalism both here
at Bloomberg and at the FT, where she set up its digital service,
FastFT. She will bring the same passion to BBW that she has to the job
in Washington. Otis Bilodeau will be her deputy, bringing 13 years of
experience at Bloomberg. He has spent the past year integrating
television into the broader newsroom.
We’re delighted that
Kristin Powers will remain as BBW’s managing editor and oversee the
production of our three magazines. She will play a key role in BBW’s
transformation and also take on a broader digital role as the magazine
becomes a true multi-platform product.
We will also be adjusting
the commercial leadership of Businessweek by creating a new Publishing
Director role that will include a greater focus on consumer marketing
(especially digital subscriptions) alongside advertising revenue. We
expect someone new to join soon to serve as Megan’s business-side
partner in the same way as Scott Havens works so well with Jed Sandberg
on the web.
We think that there is a really exciting, secure future for BBW. We
hope that you will help us build it over the coming months, as well as
continuing to produce a great magazine. We look forward to discussing
these changes – and the exciting future we see ahead – in person later
John and Justin
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