New York City Mayor-for-life Michael Bloomberg is bringing his Midas touch to the ailing media industry! In the form of a year-long study sponsored by the city. It's not that Bloomberg, who got rich running his own quasi-media company, has a soft spot for newsprint; it's that there are 160,000 media jobs in NYC, according to the Observer, and it would be beneficial for the municipal tax base not to allow them to crumble away in the face of a changing economy. The question is, can the city actually do anything about it?
[The] city’s Economic Development Corporation is searching for a consultant to craft a report on the state of the industry and give recommendations to bolster its growth in coming years. The media industry is one of the largest in the city, accounting for more than 160,000 jobs and $15 billion in wages, and occupying more than 14 percent of Manhattan’s office space. EDC envisions the study as a yearlong effort that would include CEO round tables, workshops with industry professionals and suggested policy actions to bolster the industry.
The "policy actions" would presumably include things like tax breaks and easier zoning laws for media companies. The city says it wants to help companies with the transition from a primarily print to a primarily digital media economy. But can they? During the year this study is going on, the widespread layoffs withing the media will probably continue. The Huffington Post is cited as the model for a new media property—but their paid staff is minuscule compared to their unpaid roster of writers, and nobody knows whether they'll continue to flourish now that the election is over. Let's hope they do, along with all the rest of us. The story also cites the city's success in boosting the NYC movie industry with similar tactics, but that industry doesn't have anything close to the set of challenges the traditional media does. Why not just send $10,000 checks to every media employee? Quicker. [NYO; Pic via Political Kudzu]