Stories by Chris Roush Chris Roush

Economist launches tablet version


Lauren Indvik of Mashable reports that The Economist rolled out its tablet version on Tuesday.

Indvik writes, “The newsweekly joins Sports Illustrated and Time in its multi-platform subscription offering, which enables readers to access all versions of The Economist, including its print, smartphone, tablet, audio and web editions, for a single rate. (Prices vary by region).

“A digital-only option is also available for $29 per quarter, or $110 per month. Single issues on iPad and Android tablets can be purchased for $5.99, £3.99, or €5.40, depending on your region. Access to the editor’s weekly selection of six ‘must-read’ articles is available for free.

“‘We want our readers to be able to read us wherever and however they want, and we will continue to develop for platforms and mobile devices capable of delivering the unique Economist weekly reading experience, free from distractions,’ says Oscar Grut, managing director of digital editions at The Economist.”

Read more here.

What WSJ readers want, and why they buy


Dow Jones & Co. senior vice president of circulation Lynn Brenner has come up with a metric that estimates what the company’s subscribers are interested in buying when they purchase a subscription to one of its business news publications.

Rick Edmonds of The Poynter Institute writes, “Brennen proposes five attributes to measure ‘a consumer’s willingness to pay.’ She also assigned a percentage weighting to each.

“Keep in mind this is a measure not of what people would like to have as they consume news, but what they will actually pay for. What advertisers want is outside the scope of this particular exercise.

“Brennen’s big five and the weighting she assigned are:

  • Broad reliability of content — 30 percent
  • Vertical nature of content — 30 percent
  • Longevity of content — 30 percent
  • Immediacy of information — 8 percent
  • Social ‘trustworthiness’ — 2 percent

“With that established, Brennen turned to the five main platforms du jour for news organizations and gave each a ‘commercial viability’ score.”

Read more here. She gives newspapers a score of 60, websites a score of 38, smart phones a score of 10, but tablets get a score of 100.

Foreclosure downturn hurts profits of biz newspaper owner


Minneapolis-based Dolan Co., which owns business newspapers across the country. said on Tuesday that its net income declined 70 percent to nearly $2.6 million, or 9 cents per share in the second quarter, due to a slowdown in its foreclosure processing business.

Wendy Lee of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune writes, “Revenues for the Minneapolis-based company declined 12 percent to $69.4 million. The company experienced sales declines in both its professional services division, which handles foreclosure processing and other services, and its division which publishes media and legal publications. The publishing side of the business was hurt by a drop in public notices advertising.

“The company cut its earnings estimates for 2011 to between $61 million and $67 million. That’s compared to a 2011 estimate given in the first quarter of $77 million to $87 million.

“Part of the change in guidance was due to the company expecting that foreclosure volumes will not significantly improve for the remainder of the year, according to a company press release.

“Dolan Co. stock was up 4.5 percent in early hours trading to $8.16.”

Read more here. Dolan owns the Long Island Business News, Mississippi Business Journal, the Colorado Springs Business Journal, the Idaho Business Review and the Daily Journal of Commerce in Portland, Ore., among others.

In praise of librarians helping business journalists


Tim Ferguson, who edits Forbes Asia from New York, writes in praise of his colleague Susan Radlauer, who was recently promoted to director of research services at Forbes.

Ferguson writes, “For nearly five years here Sue has been sent chasing many an obscure fact (how many Malaysians have air-conditioning?). Lately she’s helped me find data on Korean labor strife, Australian wheat exports and the California golf course interests of a unit of Japan’s Sanyo Foods.

“Traditional media, FORBES included, used to have more Sue Radlauers than we do now, but as DIY Web searches took hold and finances got tighter, this support was harder to justify. As a result, the libraries throughout the U.S. press have been gutted.

“Yet, finding the informational paper clip in the dustbin is still so much of what we in the trusted media do for our audience. Getting and using the right data help to make a brand like ours more reliable than whatever pops up first as you type a few keywords.”

Read more here.

A blast from the past



Talking Biz News is operating this week from Syracuse University, where it is perusing the papers of former Wall Street Journal editor Vermont Royster, a two-time Pulitzer winner.

We’ve run across a curious document in box eight — a clipping from the Charlotte Observer newspaper dated April 19, 1970.

The byline may be recognizable to those who know business journalism. It’s “Allan Sloan,” but he is described as an “Observer sports writer.” And he interviewed Royster about the state of business journalism.

Sloan writes, “During a brief interview, he summed up the business news coverage of most newspapers in one word: “lousy.”

“Royster said he felt that newspapers were victims of a tendency to create an artificial — and harmful — distinction between business news and other news.

“‘I don’t think of business as really being separate from other news,” Royster said.

“It’s part of the basic life of a community — there’s nothing that has more effect on a community than the business situation. These are bread-and-butter matters to every citizen.’

“According to Royster, papers as a rule make a great effort to cover disasters and politics, but fall down when it comes to covering business in their local communities.”

Sloan, of course, is now senior editor at large at Fortune and the winner of more Loeb Awards than any other business journalist. But at the time, he was a struggling sports reporter trying to make the switch to business news.

Economy dominated news coverage


The economy accounted for 52 percent of the newshole last week, almost all of it driven by the debt debate, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Mark Jurkowitz of the Pew Research Center writes, “This was the second-highest level of economic news recorded since PEJ began regularly monitoring the media with its News Coverage Index in January 2007.  The only week with more economic coverage (and narrowly so, at 53%) was March 16-22, 2009, when the public was outraged to learn that bailed-out insurance giant AIG had paid millions in company bonuses.

“The burst of media attention punctuated a six-week period during which the economy has utterly dominated the news agenda, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all the coverage studied by PEJ through the period. The No. 2 story in during that span, at 6%, was the tabloid hacking scandal that enveloped Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

“The extensive focus on the economy last week also illustrates a trend that has emerged in more than four years of NCI reports. Coverage of economic issues spike dramatically when there is a deadline-driven showdown occurring against a backdrop of partisan warfare.

“The largest week of economic coverage in 2010 (40%) was December 6-12, when Obama and the Republicans finally agreed to a deal on the expiring tax cuts engineered by former President George W. Bush. Another big week (47%) occurred from February 9-15, 2009, when Congress passed President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package after a bitter fight.”

Read more here.

Former Dow Jones CEO: WSJ in better hands


Warren Phillips, a former CEO of Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Wall Street Journal, believes that the paper is in better hands now that it is owned by Rupert Murdoch, reports Jeff Bercovici of

Phillips’ comments come in his upcoming book, “Newspaperman: Inside the News Business at the Wall Street Journal.”

Bercovici writes, “Phillips believes the quality of the Journal’s journalism is not only better now than it would have been had Murdoch never come calling; he even thinks it’s better than it was pre-Murdoch, when it routinely collected Pulitzer Prizes for its in-depth investigatory reporting.

“‘[T]he Journal’s distinctiveness has been reduced somewhat and it has grown to look more like other newspapers,’ he concedes. ‘On the other hand, major news and continuing stories of significance — the American banking bailout and related economic crises, the Gulf oil spill, the 2011 Egyptian and Libyan revolutions  and spreading Mideast unrest, for example — have been reported as well as any in the Journal’s history and, in most cases, in more timely and thorough fashion than the performance of competitors.’

“And Phillips agrees with the Special Committee created to safeguard the Journal from it owner’s meddling that such meddling has not been a problem. ‘It’s debatable whether the paper’s long-treasured independence has been ‘lost,’ but there is no sign to date that its integrity has been compromised. Dire predictions that Murdoch would use the Journal’s news columns to advance his commercial and political interests have not come to pass in the years since the acquisition.’”

Read more here.

Dow Jones names news editor for wealth management coverage


Kevin Noblet, managing editor for wealth management coverage at Dow Jones Newswires, made the following staff announcement on Monday morning:

I’m pleased to announce that Temma Ehrenfeld will become news editor for wealth management at Dow Jones Newswires.

Temma, who will start on Sept. 6, brings the knowledge and experience to help guide our in-depth coverage of news, trends and best practices in financial advising. She comes to Dow Jones from Financial Planning where, as senior editor, she edited and wrote for the monthly magazine and posted items daily on its website. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Newsweek, writing and reporting business and other stories and working closely with prominent columnists, including personal finance expert Jane Bryant Quinn, for 16 years. Before that, she was a reporter for Fortune for five years. She is a graduate of Yale.

Our wealth management coverage, including our columns and video, has become a distinguishing feature of DJN. Temma’s talents will help us provide the depth and detail our subscribers are looking for and have come to expect from us.
Please join me in welcoming her to the team.

Dow Jones names new foreign exchange reporter


Michael Casey, managing editor of the Americas at Dow Jones Newswires, made the following staff announcement on Monday morning:

I am pleased to announce that Anusha Shrivastava will be the latest addition to the New York team for DJ FX Trader.

Anusha, who will cover foreign exchange markets, is no stranger to many of us in the DJ Money team. She has worked in the Newswires credit group since 2006, where she initially covered investment-grade corporate bonds before branching out into securitization and the commercial paper market, a beat that kept her busy during the financial crisis. She has also covered agency debt, high-yield bonds, leveraged loans and commercial mortgage bonds.

Before joining Dow Jones, Anusha worked at The Associated Press in New York and at the Hartford Business Journal and the Republican American in Connecticut. She started her career as an on-air reporter for a BBC World program, “India Business Report,” in New Delhi. She has written for The Times of India and The Hindustan Times.

Anusha has an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University in New York and a doctorate in international relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. She is currently serving her second term as vice president of the 700-strong South Asian Journalists Association.

Global editor leaving Reuters



Reuters deputy editor in chief Paul Ingrassia sent out the following announcement to the staff on Monday:

After a distinguished journalistic career with Reuters and Thomson Reuters, Sean Maguire has decided to leave the company to pursue new opportunities.

In his four years as global editor, Sean redefined Reuters coverage of politics and international affairs by focusing it on the political risks that decision-makers need to understand and on the interplay between politics, financial policy-making and economic challenges.

With Steve’s reorganization and the creation of a network of regional editors reporting to me, Sean felt the moment was ripe to move on. Sean will be taking a short break and then embarking on fresh challenges.

Sean made his name covering the Yugoslav conflict and the economic transformation of eastern Europe in the 1990s. He watched the first Cruise missiles hit Baghdad during the Gulf War in 1991 and accompanied the first US Marine unit to reach the east of the Iraqi capital in 2003 during the US-led invasion. He has interviewed figures such as Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak, General David Petraeus and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

We’re grateful for Sean’s commitment and leadership at Reuters, and everything he has done during his two decades as a foreign correspondent and editor. We wish him all the best and look forward to hearing of his future achievements.