Monthly Archives: September 2009
Eric Wieffering, who oversaw business and local news at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, is leaving for a public relations job in the area, according to a memo from editor Nancy Barnes obtained by MinnPost.com’s David Brauer.
Barnes wrote, “Eric has accepted a senior position at Haberman, a Minneapolis-based public relations, branding and strategic communications firm. He will play a key role in helping that firm grow and expand its service offerings. His last day with us will be a week from Friday.
“Iâ€™ve written a lot of these announcements over the years, but this one is more difficult than most.Â Eric has been a terrific reporter, editor and leader during what has turned out to be the most tumultuous period any of us has ever seen in this business and at this paper. His staff knows him to be steady, demanding, and sophisticated in his thinking about reporting and story development. Those skills are hard to come by.
“Eric has worked for the Star Tribune for more than a decade. He joined the paper in October 1998 to cover the Internet boom, and eventually became a general assignment enterprise reporter in business. He was promoted to a team leader in business in 2004, and handled some of our biggest news stories including the bankruptcy and strike at Northwest Airlines, the Sale of Marshall Fields, the Petters scandal, and the meltdown in our real estate markets. Eric served as an interim investigations editor before becoming business editor in May of 2007.”
Read more here.
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
The story included analysis that the Times is known for, and it’s a story about a major media property that has gone ignored.
One important fact was missing from the story, however. Since January 2008, the Times and CNBC have had a content-sharing agreement mostly involve posting Times articles and other written material on CNBC’s site, and CNBC video on the Times site. That relationship was not mentioned in the story.
Such a disclosure has become more important in business journalism in recent years. The Times, for example, recently increased its disclosures related to technology columnist David Pogue‘s content to reflect his business relationships with some of the companies he writes about after criticism was raised.
Business editor Larry Ingrassia told Talking Biz News that such disclosures are decided on a case-by-case basis. He said that the paper didn’t feel as if such a disclosure was needed in Stelter’s story because the article was about a small piece of CNBC’s business.
“Is this something a reasonable reader needs to know in evaluating a story?” said Ingrassia on Wednesday afternoon. “In this case, probably not. In other cases, it might be.”
Ingrassia added that the Times would be more likely to disclose the relationship with CNBC if it wrote about the competition between CNBC and Fox Business Network.
“Clearly, that has much more relevance,” said Ingrassia. “We try to mention it when we think it’s an impact to the story.”
A search through the paper’s online archives shows that the lack of a disclosure related to the CNBC agreement is not unusual. Since the content sharing agreement with CNBC was announced on Jan. 7, 2008, the Times has run 389 articles mentioning CNBC.
Of those, there were 42 that were either about or significantly mentioned CNBC. Of those, 35 stories did not disclose the paper’s relationship with CNBC.
The Times has run seven stories that mentioned the content-sharing agreement — including the story about the content-sharing agreement — and appended a correction to one story that disclosed the relationship.
An Oct. 2, 2008 story, written by Stelter and Jacques Steinberg, received this correction eight days later: An article last Friday about an increase in television ratings for Fox Business Network and CNBC during the financial crisis omitted CNBC’s relationship to The New York Times. CNBC, which is owned by NBC Universal, has a content-sharing agreement with The Times.
Tom Lowry of BusinessWeek reports that New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman, who also owns U.S. News & World Report, is bidding to acquire the business weekly.
Lowry reports, “In a telephone interview with BusinessWeek, the real estate billionaire would only confirm that he bid for the magazine. He declined to elaborate on the terms of his offer and on his plans for how he might integrate BusinessWeek with his other media holdings, which also include U.S. News & World Report.
“Zuckerman is no stranger to the magazine business. In addition to U.S. News, where he serves as editor-in-chief, Zuckerman has previously owned The Atlantic Monthly and Fast Company. The chairman and co-founder of Boston Properties purchased The Daily News in 1993 and recently said he would invest $150 million in new color presses for the tabloid newspaper. (Full disclosure: I worked for Zuckerman as a business reporter at The News from 1993 to 1996). Zuckerman is also regular commentator on MSNBC and The McLaughlin Group.
“Zuckerman is competing for BusinessWeek with at least three other bidders, including Bloomberg LP, private equity firm Open Gate Capital and investment firm ZelnickMedia LLC. Revised bids were submitted Sept. 29.”
Read more here.
The San Francisco Chronicle has started a new blog called Get to Work,Â aimed at people looking for jobs or working for themselves as independent contractors, freelancers or consultants.
A short announcement states, “Edited by Chronicle economics writer Tom Abate, with help from career coach Kimberly Thompson, this blog is about how to succeed during tough times.
“Visit us for ideas and inspiration, and share your tips and questions about how to find, get and keep work.”
Read more here. Abate has started and sold two companies. He has written about high-tech, biotech and economics. Thompson has spent more than two decades helping people with career changes and job searches.
At least four bidders for BusinessWeek have submitted revised bids this week, writes Tom Lowry of BusinessWeek.
Lowry writes, “Bankers frequently allow for revised bids in case potential buyers werenâ€™t fully prepared initially, or that the parties learn of new information during interim due diligence.
“Among those submitting revised bids were financial data giant Bloomberg LP, private equity firm Open Gate Capital, and investment firm ZelnickMedia LLC. At least one other bidder, which BusinessWeek was not able to identify, also submitted a bid. Spokespersons for Bloomberg, Open Gate and ZelnickMedia declined to comment. McGraw-Hill spokesman Steve Weiss declined to comment, other than to say: ‘We are pleased that the process, which will take some time to complete, continues to go well.’
“It is not clear what the bidders offered for the magazine, or whether offers exceeded what McGraw-Hill might be willing to absorb, if anything, in terms of liabilities, from possible severances to penalties for ending contracts early.
“Bloomberg appears to be the most aggressive in its pursuit of BusinessWeek. Norm Pearlstine, Bloombergâ€™s chief content officer, held discussions last week, in person and over the phone, with BusinessWeekâ€™s top editors. Among those Pearlstine spoke with were editor-in-chief Stephen Adler, executive editors Ellen Pollock and John Byrne, and managing editor Ciro Scotti. Topics discussed in those one-on-one sessions were wide-ranging, including the possibility of integrating Bloomberg Professional stories into the magazine and a willingness on Bloombergâ€™s part to add more editorial pages to the magazine. That suggests Bloomberg might be looking at tinkering with BusinessWeekâ€™s traditional 60-40 mix of editorial pages to ad pages.”
Read more here.
Das and MacMillan write, “A price for BusinessWeek could not be learned.
“McGraw-Hill considers Bloomberg, a privately held provider of news and financial data, as the best buyer for BusinessWeek because it could capitalize on the marriage of two brand names well known in financial circles, the sources said.
“They spoke on condition of anonymity because the sale process has not been made public.
“Bloomberg owns Bloomberg Markets, a financial news magazine that produces feature stories that often run much longer than the shorter pieces on the Bloomberg newswire.
“That magazine and BusinessWeek could be blended to make a title that would expand Bloomberg’s presence beyond its financial data clients and reach a mainstream online audience.”
Read more here.
George Gombossy, the former business editor of the Hartford Courant who had written a consumer watchdog column for the paper the last three years, has sued the paper over his firing this summer.
Gombossy writes, “The suit was filed in Hartford Superior Court under the Connecticut free speech statute that protects workers from retribution for exercising their First Amendment rights in the workplace. It is the strongest free speech statute in the country.
“This is the first time that the statute has been used to challenge a media companyâ€™s attempt to protect its advertisers from adverse publicity.
“‘This lawsuit is not only important to my client, it is vital to the people of Connecticut,’ attorney Garrison said in a prepared statement.
“The free speech statute, Garrison said, ‘is the very essence of being an American, having the right to speak out in the workplace, especially on issues vital to the public.’”
Read more here. Gombossy has since started a consumer watchdog Web site.
William Holstein, a former editor in chief of Chief Executive magazine and former editor at BusinessWeek, writes about the impact of fewer business media outlets on CEOs.
Holstein writes, “First, it means that business coverage could become more negative toward profit and enterprise than it is today. ‘Young journalists may be too inexperienced to ask the tough questions,’ says Alex Jones, a Pulitzer Prizeâ€“winning journalist who runs the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard and is the author of Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009). ‘But they are equally vulnerable to being manipulated by people who are bad-mouthing the corporations.’ Criticism of corporations will be less nuanced, less aware of context, and less insightful. Competent, complacent, and craven companies â€” or divisions within companies â€” will all be tarred with the same brush.
“Second, the decline in business journalism gives corporate decision makers less of a platform to display and test their own companyâ€™s strategy. ‘It means that there are fewer opportunities for a CEO to get his or her story into the media,’ says CNNâ€™s Kandel. ‘Where are the stories about companies that are innovating and doing good things? Theyâ€™re not being covered the way they have [been] in the past.’
“But perhaps the worst effect is the most subtle: Corporate leaders now have fewer opportunities to learn from one anotherâ€™s experience, or even to know whatâ€™s going on in their regions and industries. Business news increasingly appears on websites and blogs â€” a far more fragmented, fast-changing, narrowly focused, and unpredictable media environment. The kind of judgment, insight, and broad perspective (even on narrow how-to topics or gossip) that routinely informed a business article is invaluable â€” but much harder to come by now.”
Read more here.
David Kaplan of Fortune writes about the Charlie Rose show, which will begin appearing on Bloomberg Television later this fall, and its appearl to business news junkies.
Kaplan writes, “The show’s modest numbers belie its true reach. TV ratings over the past year, calculated city by city by Nielsen for Fortune, indicate his nightly viewership is probably well under a million. Over the past year in Washington, for example, his audience averaged but 7,000 a day. In New York City it was roughly 67,000 (compared, say, with Nightline’s 338,000 or Larry King Live’s 308,000).
“Nonetheless, few would dispute that it’s Rose’s show that carries the most influence. Nobody watches Charlie Rose except everybody you know.
“Last October, when Buffett wanted to reassure markets that the economy wasn’t going to hell, he chose to go on Charlie Rose for the hour. When Geithner went on in May — his second appearance of the spring — he made news by admitting that global monetary policy had helped produce the financial crisis.
“His predecessor at Treasury, Hank Paulson, went on last October to discuss the meltdown; days after 9/11, as the CEO of Goldman Sachs, he went on to soothe the financial community. ‘You get the time you need,’ he says. ‘But he can lure you and hit you right between the eyes — hard questions in a soft way.’”
Read more here. Rose already tapes his show at Bloomberg.
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson sent out the following announcement to the paper’s staff on Tuesday:
“I am delighted to announce that Jake Schlesinger will become Japan Editor-in-Chief, heading a joint Newswires and Journal bureau in Tokyo and continuing the international integration of our print, online and wires teams. We are significantly expanding our reporting presence in Asia and will soon launch a Japanese-language website, which will be run by Yumiko Ono, who has done a sterling job as the Journal’s Tokyo Bureau Chief. The new Japanese site will enhance our profile in the region and comes as we are seeing extraordinary growth in CWSJ.com, our Chinese-language site.
“The Journal staff in Tokyo will be strengthened by the appointment of Mariko Sanchanta as Jakeâ€™s deputy and the Japan News Editor for the newspaper. Mariko, now the FTâ€™s European Editor for corporate news in London, is a Tokyo veteran and was crucial to the early success of the US Edition of the Financial Times, being an influential member of both the print and online teams. She graduated from the College of William & Mary with a double major in Economics and Government.
“Jake, too, has worked in Japan and is the author of Shadow Shoguns, a portrait of the never-been-more-interesting Japanese political system. In August 1996, he returned to the US as a reporter in Washington, where he has most recently been the Bureauâ€™s deputy chief. Prior to joining the Journal, he was a business reporter at the St Petersburg Times and received a bachelorâ€™s degree in economics from Harvard College. In his new capacity, Jake will report to Jason Rogers and Nikhil Deogun.”