NEW YORK -- Bloomberg News recently tried recruiting New York Times managing editor Dean Baquet to oversee Washington coverage, an attempted poaching that highlights the company's desire to expand its reach in the capital.
Senior Executive Editor Laurie Hays, who has known Baquet since their days reporting for a small New Orleans newspaper, approached the Times editor in recent months about the Washington position at Bloomberg, according to sources familiar with the matter who are unauthorized to discuss it. Despite the overture, Baquet is not leaving the Times and Bloomberg filled the position on Friday.
Baquet declined to comment. A Bloomberg spokesman also declined to comment.
Landing Baquet would have been a long shot for Bloomberg -- or really, any news outlet -- considering that he’s second-in-command at the Times and is considered by many in the newsroom to be in line as the next executive editor. Still, the attempt is testament to Bloomberg's ambition to be viewed as the most influential news outlet.
Despite a lucrative terminal business aimed at financial institutions, Bloomberg has struggled at driving the news and opinion conversation on the Web, on social media and on cable news. Bloomberg boasts a Washington staff roughly three times larger than that of the Times, but doesn’t have the same influence in the capital, or generate buzz in the political world like Politico.
But the company hopes to change perceptions that it's not in the game.
On Monday, Bloomberg announced the hiring of Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, two of the biggest names in political journalism and co-authors of bestselling election postmortems Game Change and Double Down. The pair will oversee a consumer-facing website, Bloomberg Politics, and will lead political coverage across the news service's platforms.
Bloomberg L.P., which generates billions in annual revenue from the terminal business, isn’t afraid to spend. Politico reported Monday that Halperin and Heilemann each will make more than $1 million a year through the 2016 election.
On Friday, Bloomberg made a series of management moves in Washington, with Winnie O’Kelley promoted to executive editor for all U.S. government, legal and regulatory coverage, Craig Gordon becoming managing editor for Washington news and recent hire Jonathan Allen named Washington bureau chief.