Analyzing the future of Reuters magazine

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Yvette Kantrow, the executive editor of The Deal, writes about the prototype Reuters magazine, published last month by the business news operation and overseen by Jim Impoco.

Kantrow writes, “Impoco, executive editor of Thomson Reuters Digital, also previously worked at The New York Times, and, it should be noted, Condé Nast’s short-lived Portfolio, which Capital New York points out is a former employer of at least four contributors to Reuters magazine. It’s an interesting detail, given that much of the hype and high expectations that preceded Portfolio’s launch was based on the oft-repeated belief that it had assembled a team of business journalism all-stars, as if that was enough to guarantee its success.

“Of course, it wasn’t, and Portfolio lasted only 21 issues. But the idea that if you snap up enough big names you’ll succeed stubbornly persists, both at conferences like Davos and at ambitious media outlets like Reuters, where Adler, the last editor in chief of Businessweek before its sale to Bloomberg, seems to have enacted something of a full-employment act for marquee journalists. Reuters’ archrival Bloomberg has also done its share of big-name hiring over the past couple of years — David Shipley, Michael Kinsley, to name just two — in addition to snapping up and relaunching Businessweek magazine as Bloomberg Businessweek. They may be electronic news services, but Bloomberg and Reuters both still believe in the power of print.

“Still, the similarities seem to end there. Bloomberg Businessweek, which claims nearly 4 million readers, serves a mass business audience; Reuters magazine, by contrast, is unabashedly for the Davos set. That’s an interesting group for a giant news service to target, given the current Zeitgeist and its mistrust of anything having to do with the 1%. But when it comes to Davos, it seems big-name journalists are happy to throw their hats in with the elite, whether that means flying off to Switzerland to rub elbows with CEOs as they frolic on Magic Mountain.”

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