The Bloomberg/BW Culture Clash, Round Two

Yesterday’s Times ran an article about how Bloomberg and BusinessWeek’s merger is going. They titled it “An Uneasy Marriage of the Cultish and the Rumpled.”

It sounds rough over there for the magazine journalists unused to Bloomberg’s fast-paced, metrics-driven culture: “The head of Bloomberg’s ‘speed desk’… was especially proud… when the desk published a headline seconds ahead of Reuters, and a young trader had made enough money from that lead alone to buy a Hummer.

“A Businessweek employee raised her hand. Why, she asked, would a journalist be proud of that?”

News meetings are held at 7:30 in the morning, and employees’ email signatures are stamped with the last time an employee badged in. “If he forgets his ID,” reporter Stephanie Clifford says, ‘Forgotten Badge’ appears next to every e-mail message he sends to co-workers that day — a tough fit for magazine journalists lucky to remember their wallets, let alone their building IDs.”

We were tipped off to this piece by careers writer Dan Pink, who wrote on his blog that this system translates to “the digital equivalent of hall passes, attendance records, and dunce caps.”

Of course, there are far fewer BusinessWeek staffers under the “hall pass” system than in the old days: the NYT article notes that the editorial staff has dwindled from 80 to 12.



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