Bloomberg downsizes arts coverage, lays off stage critic
Bloomberg, the New York-based financial news giant, is shutting down its Muse brand of cultural journalism and has laid off its theater critic. The shake-up was part of a company-wide reorganization that came down on Monday and resulted in layoffs around the newsroom.
Bloomberg plans to continue to cover the arts, but with an emphasis on luxury. In an email sent to employees on Monday, Bloomberg editor-in-chief Matt Winkler said that the company has decided “to scale back arts coverage and no longer use the Muse brand.”
He said Bloomberg will align its leisure reporting with its luxury channel on its website, and with Pursuits, its magazine for wealthy readers.
Muse editor Manuela Hoelterhoff said separately in an email that she is staying with the company, but will work in a different capacity, with more time for writing commentary and other articles.
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A Pulitzer Prize-winner in 1983 for her arts journalism in the Wall Street Journal, Hoelterhoff has served as Bloomberg Muse editor for eight years.
Theater critic Jeremy Gerard was among those Bloomberg employees who were officially let go on Monday. On his Twitter account, Gerard said that Bloomberg “ended its cultural coverage today.” But Hoelterhoff disputed that claim, saying that arts coverage will continue at Bloomberg.
Gerard most recently reviewed the Broadway production of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” which opened on Sunday at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York.
Bloomberg has been a major presence in arts and cultural journalism, covering high-profile art auctions, theater and classical music. Its arts reporters have been a mix of employees and freelance writers.
The downsizing comes at a particularly sensitive time for Bloomberg, following recent reports in which some of its journalists in China said that Bloomberg editors killed a story for political reasons. Bloomberg has denied that the story, about a tycoon’s ties to Communist party members, has been killed.
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