Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief personally killed a feature about the growth of rival Fox Business Network, confusing staffers in the process.
Bloomberg’s media reporting team contacted Fox Business Network on Feb. 7 about a story on the sister station of Fox News, according to individuals familiar with the situation. Bloomberg reporter Anousha Sakoui’s story was in the works for four months, examining the origins of FBN and why the network’s broad approach to covering business is thriving.
But Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait demanded that the story not run despite months of work and access to several top Fox Business talent and network president Brian Jones, the individuals said.
Multiple high-level editors were at a loss as to why Micklethwait killed the story after it was already signed off on and assigned, but a Bloomberg spokesman told TheWrap,” Our longstanding policy has been to avoid writing feature stories on direct competitors in order to avoid a conflict of interest.”
Sakoui and Fox Business declined to comment.
Bloomberg staffers were also told it was an “editorial call” and that they “don’t cover competitors,” according to the individual. However, stories have recently appeared on the site covering former Fox News boss Roger Ailes, who also ran Fox Business.
The decision comes at a fraught time for Bloomberg, which has lost both on-camera and off-camera talent in recent years. Former executives Andy Lack, David Rhodes and Josh Tyrangiel all run other news organizations these days, while Margaret Brennan, Trish Regan, Stephanie Ruhle have landed at other networks. In fact, Regan is now a host at Fox Business.
While Bloomberg has lost some big names, it has added former ABC News president David Westin, Julia Chatterley from CNBC, Joe Weisenthal from Business Insider, David Gura from Marketplace, executive producer David Meyers from ABC and executive producer Matt Saal from MSNBC.
Bloomberg TV, started as a pet project of Mike Bloomberg in 1994 to rival CNBC, but has never emerged as an industry heavyweight. The network, which is still not rated by Nielsen and never has been, was losing $100 million a year back in 2013, according to Fortune.
Most television networks wouldn’t be able to stick around while losing that kind of cash, but former New York City Mayor and network founder Mike Bloomberg doesn’t bank on the network helping his bottom line.
The billionaire’s real moneymaker is the Bloomberg Terminal, a computer software system that is both extremely expensive and popular throughout the financial industry, and the network is streamed in real time on Terminal.