By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 2, 2009
The Washington Post and Bloomberg News have struck a wide-ranging partnership that will include a joint news service, a combined online page of business news and the transmission of Post stories on Bloomberg's financial terminals.
The agreement, announced Thursday, is a more ambitious alliance than The Post's news service with the Los Angeles Times. On Wednesday, the newspapers said that they would be ending that 47-year partnership. What has been dubbed The Washington Post News Service with Bloomberg News will compete among the existing 600 subscribers with the McClatchy-Tribune service, which will now include Times stories.
"We are two very complementary news organizations," Marcus Brauchli, The Post's executive editor, said of the alliance with New York-based Bloomberg, founded by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I). A key advantage, he said, is access to the high-income corporate executives and market traders who rely on Bloomberg terminals for real-time data. Said Brauchli: "For us, it's 300,000 readers, many of whom we didn't have before."
Bloomberg already carries New York Times articles on its coveted terminals, and that arrangement will continue.
The partnership comes months after The Post, in one of a number of cost-cutting moves, folded its business section into the newspaper's main news section.
Online, "there isn't a whole lot of depth on our business page right now. We have focused on those areas that are central to our readers," Brauchli said, ticking off coverage of regulatory agencies, tax policy, major economic and corporate trends, and local companies. "We don't do a lot of close corporate coverage beyond our area."
Bloomberg has more than 1,500 reporters and editors around the world. It specializes in business but also covers general news, politics, culture and sports.
Matthew Winkler, editor in chief of Bloomberg News, called the deal "wonderful" and added: "The Washington Post needs no introduction for what it does best, which is cover arguably the most important government in the world." He called the arrangement "another way of extending the reach of Bloomberg News" beyond "our community of users."
In an advisory sent to the more than 650 clients of the Times-Post service, David Williams, president of Tribune Media Services, said his syndicate "is pleased with the opportunity to have the Los Angeles Times' world-renowned brand become part of [McClatchy-Tribune's] service. We are committed to finding ways to make the service a more valuable resource for our customers."
Kate Carlisle, managing editor of the Times-Post operation, said her staff is "very excited" about the new partnership with Bloomberg, which she and her staff will supervise when it begins Jan. 1. "This is a huge bonus for our clients," she said, citing Bloomberg's "focus on the politics of the economy, or the economics of politics."
Carlisle said that clients of the Times-Post service will have a choice, but that two-thirds of those she has spoken to -- before the Bloomberg deal was announced -- have indicated a desire to remain with the Post service, which will offer 120 stories each day.
The two news organizations have markedly different styles, with The Post often emphasizing colorful and narrative writing and Bloomberg often utilizing a terse, just-the-facts approach that values the speed demanded by stock market players.
The Post newspaper already runs a limited number of Bloomberg stories, and that will not change. But at washingtonpost.com, Brauchli said, the business page will feature "The Post's coverage and a really robust package of corporate, economic and business news from Bloomberg from around the world."