Monthly Archives: May 2008
John Koblin of the New York Observer reports that Conde Nast Portfolio senior editor Bob Roe has been fired from the magazine.
Koblin writes, “It’s the first major firing this year in what has been a relatively quiet year for the magazine.
“Mr. Roe, a senior editor, was a frequent critic of Joanne Lipman, and staffers said that he wasn’t shy about criticizing her in front of other staffers along the magazine’s 17th floor corridor. Mr. Roe was brought in by former Portfolio deputy editor Jim Impoco, another Lipman critic, who was fired last August. Mr. Roe is also the husband of Nancy Haas, a freelance writer who was on contract with the magazine, an arrangement that ended earlier this year.
“Mr. Roe had a stable of writers, which included Franz Lidz, the former Sports Illustrated writer who scored an interview with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner last year, and broke a story on portfolio.com about Yankees slugger Jason Giambi’s predilection for wearing a tiger-striped thong when he gets into hitting slumps.”
Read more here.
Cynthia Littleton of Variety takes a look at how the pending acquisition of CNET will help CBS boost its online presence.
Littleton writes, “San Francisco-based CNET’s brand names include the vidgame-centric GameSpot.com; the tech news and product review-driven CNET news.com, ZDNet.com and TechRepublic.com; music-fueled MP3.com; and TV.com, which boasts one of the Web’s largest and most detailed TV series databases. Other sites with obvious tie-ins with CBS’ TV and radio operations are the foodie haven Chow.com, parenting-themed UrbanBaby.com and business management-oriented BNET.com.
“Most important, from CBS’ perspective, CNET is not a new-media hotshot rooted in future promise but a brick-and-mortar operation generating significant revenue and earnings in the here and now. Last year, the company harvested earnings of $79 million on revenues of $403 million. Perhaps the strongest endorsement of CNET, founded in the prehistoric Web era of 1992, is that it survived the dot-com meltdown of 2000-2001.
“The combination with CNET will vault CBS into the top 10 companies in the U.S. in terms of Internet traffic, with an estimated 54 million unique users per month and a base of 200 million users worldwide.
“‘This is meaningful, no-fooling, real revenue,’ CBS Interactive prexy Quincy Smith says of CNET, which bills itself as the 10th largest Internet network in the world. ‘It gives us immediate reach and an immediate footprint. And the great thing is, there’s not a lot of overlap between (CBS and CNET’s) properties and the user base.’”
Read more here.
TheDeal executive editor Yvette Kantrow writes Friday that recent coverage of blogs by BusinessWeek and the New York Times magazine has her wondering of all of this talk about new media means that business journalism as we know it is irrevocably changing.
Kantrow writes, “Indeed, on BusinessWeek.com, readers are asked to submit story ideas that will be doled out to BusinessWeek reporters. (Lucky them.) A recent plea on the site from executive editor John Byrne: ‘Help Us Cover America’s Recession,’ Writes Byrne of BusinessWeek.com’s new young recession reporter, whom he compares to — get this — the late Alistair Cooke: ‘Who should he meet? Where should he go? What should he write?’
“Well, for starters, how about the fact that we’re not officially in a recession? Yes, we know. Picky, picky; it certainly feels like a recession. But that’s what editors do; they nitpick about accuracy and facts. But such technicalities only get in the way when you’re looking to drum up traffic or even persuade 23-year-olds to send you their story ideas — preferably in 140 characters or less.
“Of course, we all want our journalism to be thoroughly reported, which often means talking to scores of people when shaping stories and ideas. But does that mean we want reporting to become just another “American Idol”-like exercise, with the crowd determining whom journalists meet, where they go and what they write? The Times took a lot of heat (and generated lots of buzz, Web traffic and comments) last week for giving several pages of its magazine to a 26-year-old tattooed blogger who had nothing to talk about but herself. But perhaps that piece was just a sign of things to come as more media outlets follow BusinessWeek and look to readers to generate content. After all, most people’s favorite topic is themselves.”
Read more here.
Selena Maranjian of The Motley Fool takes issue Friday with a recent comment in Money magazine urging investors to stop watching business news cable network CNBC. She says it can be of some limited use.
Maranjian writes, “Because think of it — did you watch CNBC last week? Last month? Can you remember what you saw? Did it make any difference to your investing? I just turned it on, as I prepared this piece. The tickers scrolling across the bottom aren’t too enlightening: PMC-Sierra (Nasdaq: PMCS) up $0.12, Natus Medical (Nasdaq: BABY) down $0.82, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) up $0.24, Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) up $0.12, Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) up $0.38. So what? In another minute or two, something that’s up $0.12 will be down $0.07 or up $0.35.
“Our investing newsletters have actually recommended a few of those companies, but you won’t frequently find deep research and insights into such firms on TV. (You can get that deep research by test-driving one of our newsletters for free — our Motley Fool Hidden Gems team recommended Natus Medical some seven months and 36% ago.)
“It’s useful to have a channel for business news, and it can be helpful to see CEOs discussing their companies, giving you a fleeting impression of their character and candor. Still, let’s face it — the channel features a lot of filler. Spending time reviewing which stocks are up and which ones are down isn’t the best use of our time. It’s better to build our own personal watch lists of stocks we’re interested in, and then check it now and then to see if anything has fallen to attractive levels.”
Read more here.
TheStreet.com media critic Marek Fuchs wants to know why business reporters, particularly those that cover retailing, such as those at the New York Post allow companies such as Sears to blame bad results on the economy when other retailers such as Costco have strong results in the same economy.
Fuchs writes, “The economy is slow sure, but performance is split. Then, rather than the first quote showcasing the economy excuse as it did in so many other articles about Sears, the Journal’s shaping quote dealt with the difference in merchandising between Sears and Costco:
‘Costco is fundamentally a very good company offering discounted products that are broadly appreciated,’ said Mike Moriarty, a partner at A.T. Kearney. ‘But department stores like Sears keep trying to tailor their offerings for their targeted consumer group, while basically everyone is a price shopper at this point.’
“Even the caption to a photo of the entry to a Sears store carries this message: ‘Sears saw same-store sales fall almost 10% in the first quarter as shoppers poured into discounters like Costco, where same-store sales increased 8%.’
“Listen to The Business Press Maven and The Wall Street Journal on this one: it’s not the economy with Sears. And though the stores need physical freshening, it not that either. It’s the merchandising, stupid.”
Read more here.
Melanie Turner of the Sacramento Business Journal reports Friday that the Sacramento Bee is considering combining its business section with its metro section.
Turner writes, “Melanie Sill, editor and senior vice president for The Bee, this week confirmed that among the ideas being discussed as part of the newspaper’s redesign is to eliminate the stand-alone business section and combine the business and metro sections.
“Sill said the industry trend is a symptom of the stock pages being removed from business sections. ‘They suddenly got very thin,’ she said.”
Read more here. A subscription is required.
Papers that have made similar moves include the Denver Post, Orange County Register, Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal, Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, Monterey (Calif.) Herald, Palm Beach PostÂ and Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal.
Andelman had been running the Web site for the past three years. He starts at the magazine on June 2.
Andelman joins Forbes.com from The New York Daily News, where he was business editorÂ from 2001 to 2005. Previously, he was editor in chief of a global business and financial news Web site, Smallcapcenter.com, and before that he served as news editor at Bloomberg News for four and a half years.
The World Policy Journal is published by the World Policy Institute. In an e-mail, Andelman tells Talking Biz News, “World Policy was an enormous opportunity really to take on a wonderful media project — one that really has the capacity of influencing the global policy agenda at a critical moment.
“WPJ is a terrific magazine and the synergy with a potent website makes it a really important and powerful tool. It was simply too good an opportunity to pass up, particularly in view of my extensive overseas background as a foreign correspondent (I’ve reported from more than 60 countries) and my editing and policy experience.”
Marketwatch media columnist Jon Friedman takes a look at the career of CNN’s Myron Kandel, who pavedÂ a trial for reporting business news on cable television that has allowed others to make a career out of it.
Friedman writes, “He worked at CNN for 25 years, serving as the network’s financial editor and a very popular commentator. He shrugs off the notion that he was a trailblazer, but I’m happy to call him one.
“More than anyone else, Kandel and the late, great Louis Rukeyser popularized financial news on TV. Today’s broadcast journalists could learn a great deal from understanding what distinguished Kandel and Rukeyser from their peers. They knew their stuff, of course — and they offered viewers much more than many of today’s shouters, who seem to aim as much for entertainment as for analysis.
“‘I tried to add a common-sense approach,’ Kandel told me over breakfast. He always remembered that his job was to inform viewers, but not act as their stockbroker. ‘I never recommended a stock,’ he pointed out.”
Read more here.
The Spokane Spokesman Review is moving its two-page TXT section about life on the Web, which has run in the Monday paper, to the back page of the Sunday business section, according to a blog post by senior presentation editor Geoff Pinnock.
The changes are part of a number of redesigns at the paper. As a result, the Spokane paper will have no business or technology section in the Monday paper.
Scott Maben, deputy city editor of the Spokesman Review, tells Talking Biz News, “TXT is entirely focused on life on the Web. It has run over two open, black and white pages inside our thin Monday paper. Now it will occupy one color page on the back of our Sunday biz section. Plus, one TXT story will start on the cover of the biz section each week.”
The changes will take effect next Sunday. Read about all of the paper’s changes here.
Patrick Gavin of FishbowlDC posted a memo Thursday from Washington Post assistant managing editor of financial news Sandy Sugawara and deputy AME for financial news Greg Schneider about changes coming to the business section.
Sugawara and Schneider write, “In a few weeks, we expect to launch a new Page Two for Washbiz, designed by Tan Ly and reflecting the reporting and voice of Frank Ahrens, as well as a redesigned daily section by Denny Brack (with help from Kathy Lally) that will include a consumer/tech destination page and a biweekly photo essay jointly produced by Ylan Mui and Melina Mara.
“Michael Rosenwald has turned over his biotech portfolio to Kendra Marr so that he can write more personal finance stories, bringing his wit and sharp eye to that subject. Steve Mufson recently launched an energy blog. Alec Klein and Zachary Goldfarb have been working on a credit meltdown project that will soon be published. Tony Faiola and Travis Fox have a series of multi-media globalization efforts planned.
“Reporters and editors are also deep into projects on the working poor, rising energy prices, intelligence contracting, privacy and Iraq contracts. We are eager to hear other ideas. As you know, the newspaper is revamping its copy desk operations to create an editing structure focused on the evolving editing needs of the web and the print edition. We will have studied the successful copy editor restructuring in the A section and will be joining this effort on June 1, with some modifications to address the particular needs of the Business section. Among other things, we will be moving to a two-touch system and more fully integrating copy editors into our operations. We are fortunate to have an exceptionally strong team of copy editors. This new system will impact every person on this staff.”
Read more here.