Tag Archives: American City Business Journals


A biz journalist who doesn’t vote


Colin Pope, the editor of the Austin Business Journal in Texas, writes about his no-voting policy.

Pope writes, “I started the no-voting practice in the 1990s when I was assigned to the City Hall beat at a daily newspaper. I was uncomfortable with the expectation of fairly covering politics professionally, and then personally I was allowed to pick sides. Wouldn’t that jeopardize, or at least slow down, my ability to report objectively? There’s little worse than a biased journalist so I recused myself from the political process as a precaution. At first only on City Council races I covered, and then on any issue or race I may need to report on — even presidential races.

“I also stopped sharing my personal political views with my friends, co-workers and even my wife. I wouldn’t think of giving money to a campaign, and I don’t sign most petitions.

“Some news organizations prohibit their reporters from making political contributions due to credibility issues yet few abstain from voting, but I’m glad I did. I held onto the philosophy when I moved to the Austin Business Journal and even when I took the role of editor.

“We cover only local business but politics still seeps into my job, seemingly always during the rare times when I put my reporter hat back on. I found myself talking about issues in the presidential race just recently when I interviewed HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples during one of our Face 2 Face breakfasts. He happened to work at Bain Capital alongside Mitt Romney. Wouldn’t you have a question or two about that?”

Read more here.

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The metamorphosis of American City Business Journals


The 40 business newspapers operated by American City Business Journals across the country will be undergoing some changes in the next few months that will place more emphasis on delivering news digitally.

The changes are beginning to roll out in the newsrooms now and include new job descriptions, redesigned print newspapers and newsroom structure changes.

Unlike its parent company, Advance Publications, which has been shutting daily newspaper operations in New Orleans, Birmingham and other markets to emphasis online delivery, Charlotte-based American City says it has no plans to de-emphasize its printed newspapers. And the moves will not result in any elimination of jobs, executives stressed.

“Print is still a huge component of our business,” said Whit Shaw, CEO of American City, in a phone interview with Talking Biz News on Friday. “Our approach to print will change over time. But I don’t think our commitment to it will change in this process.”

Shaw said a half to two-thirds of the company’s newspapers will report flat to positive circulation growth in 2012, while a quarter of them will report a slight decline. Local advertising revenue is expected to rise in 2012.

The new job descriptions and newsroom structures are currently being implemented across the company, which operates weekly business newspapers from Boston to Honolulu. For example, a newsroom employee will now be responsible for social media at each of its papers. Although most of the ACBJ papers post breaking news on their websites daily, there will be more online news each day.

The redesigns are expected to launch in the first quarter or 2012. ACBJ is working with noted newspaper designer Mario Garcia on a prototype that will use larger photos and different story formats.

The changes are designed to recognize that the company needs to provide quality content both online and in its print publications, said Emory Thomas, the chief content officer at ACBJ and the former editor and publisher of its Seattle paper.

“We need a stronger and fresher look at digital and moving to a place where great digital feeds great print,” said Thomas in the phone interview. “This is really about upgrading the quality of all our platforms.”

Shaw emphasized that the changes would not be identical for every newspaper. “We have the rough blueprint, but the construction drawings are going to change from market to market,” said Shaw.

ACBJ journalists will now also be expected to use more social media such as Twitter and Facebook as part of their jobs.

“The core of what we see is our reporters owning their audiences on more platforms than ever before,” said Thomas. “If you’re a commercial real estate reporter in Minneapolis, you need to be on social media and having a conversation about the news that you’re breaking, and you need to be providing perspective about that news in the weekly newspaper. The way we structure our newsrooms and the way we configure our products needs to acknowledge that.”

The company is privately held and is part of the Newhouse media conglomerate that includes Conde Nast and newspapers across the country.


Cincinnati biz journal redesigns paper


Rob Daumeyer, the editor of the Cincinnati Business Courier, writes Friday about some design changes made to the paper.

Daumeyer writes, “Our business reporting staff – senior reporters Dan Monk and Lucy May, reporters Steve Watkins, James Ritchie and Jon Newberry and digital producer/reporter Tom Demeropolis – are constantly talking to their sources, digging for the latest scoops, producing a flood of valuable content that we want to bring to you in new, more efficient ways.

“So you’ll see more stories, numbers and facts on each page, designed to make it easier for you to consume.

“You read the Courier because you want to make money. You need to grow your business and build your career. But you’re also busier than ever.

“So we’re pulling apart some of our content and presenting it on new ‘reporter pages.’ Starting on page 4, you’ll see pages branded to our writers. (Monk and Demeropolis are off this week.)”

Read more here.

Ron Leuty

Crain’s paper, ACBJ paper place wager on World Series


Crain’s Detroit Business and the San Francisco Business Times have placed a small wager on the outcome of the World Series.

According to a story on the Crain’s Detroit site, “Native Michiganian and now Bay Area resident Ron Leuty, the biotech reporter for the Business Times, admits to being ‘conflicted.’ He loves his new adopted team, but still keeps Tigers gear in his pocket when he goes to a Giants game. But he’s ready to be a little competitive with us, he wrote in his blog on Wednesday in the Business Times.

Bill Shea, business of sports reporter for Crain’s Detroit Business, tweeted at the end of Wednesday’s game: ‘Will the #Tigers be among the 37% of teams to lose Game 1 of the #WorldSeries but come back to win it all?’

“We’re willing to bet on it.

“So we’re entering into this not-so-high-stakes wager with our business-publication brethren from the West Coast.

“The stakes? Each publication has chosen a charity — CATCH here in Detroit, the Junior Giants in San Francisco — and the losing team’s publication will donate $100 to the winning city’s charity. Publishers at both publications also have agreed, in the event of their team’s loss, to wear a jersey or hat from the winning team to a public event.”

Read more here.

Orlando Biz Journal

Orlando Biz Journal publisher to retire


Orlando Business Journal publisher Ann Sonntag announced her retirement after 21 years with parent company American City Business Journals and 16 years as head of ACBJ’s Orlando paper.

A story on the paper’s website states, “Sonntag joined ACBJ in May 1991 as ad director in Charlotte, N.C., then transferred to Orlando in September 1995 as associate publisher before becoming publisher 10 months later.

“Among her many accomplishments while at OBJ, she helped create the Women Who Mean Business awards program, as well as guided the newspaper in winning eight Eagle awards, the ACBJ’s highest award.

“Earlier this year, Sonntag was named recipient of the John Young History-Maker Award, and also received the Athena International 2012 Leadership Award for her commitment to businesswomen from all sectors and generations.”

Read more here.


ACBJ names its best papers


Charlotte-based American City Business Journals, which operates 40 business newspapers across the country, has named its best papers in a variety of categories.

The winners are:

Best use of social media: Boston Business Journal

Best page one:Milwaukee Business Journal

Best special section in paper: Orlando Business Journal

Best special section out of paper: Buffalo Business First

Research excellence: Boston Business Journal

Visual excellence in infographics: Washington Business Journal

Visual excellence in photography: Jacksonville Business Journal

Excellence in writing: Sacramento Business Journal

Excellence in blogging: Boston Business Journal

Best breaking news: Pacific Business News

Best enterprise/investigative reporting: Nashville Business Journal

CEO Whit Shaw noted, “The analysis of this state’s job-creation grant program is exactly what readers should expect of business journalism - a critical investigative look at the intersection of business and government. After the ‘Risky Business’ package ran, the state became much more transparent about its incentives programs and announced it will initiate clawback clauses in its cash grant program.”

Best beat reporting: Patrick Hoge, San Francisco Business Times

Shaw said, “One of ACBJ’s toughest beat assignments has to be covering technology in a region with the highest concentration of tech journalists and tech publications in the world. But this reporter manages to avoid me-too journalism by staking out a territory that focuses on impacts to the local economy, as well as personalities that match the flamboyance of the city.”

General excellence: Boston Business Journal

Shaw said, “With a uniformly smart read and a refreshing, even unpredictable story selection, this paper veers away from the typical and the pedestrian toward more illuminating stories. The judges were consistently delighted with selections that provide a great read for even those not particularly interested in the affairs of business. Beyond print editions, this staff provides a kind of daily journalistic clinic in how to use web and social media to engage and inform readers in stories large, small or just plain interesting.”

Region's Business

Perelman invests in business newspaper


Investor and philanthropist Raymond Perelman has made an investment in Region’s Business, a weekly “Journal of Business and Politics” started in a Plymouth Meeting office by former Philadelphia Metro publisher James McDonald last summer, reports Joe DiStefano of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano writes, “McDonald and Perelman won’t say how much Perelman invested. Regions Business, written by freelancers and edited by a staff headed by Karl Smith, formerly of AOL’s Philadelphia Patch Web site and Calkins Media’s PhillyBurbs.com Web site, ‘will expand circulation’ by sending free papers to targeted readers, boosting circulation and advertising efforts, and adding a mobile app, McDonald told me.

“The paper’s ‘investigative reporting will focus primarily on state and local government,’ McDonald added.

“McDonald published Philadelphia Metro, a free daily distributed at Septa stations, in 2000-04, and later published Journal newspaper in Washington, D.C., before selling the business to Philip Anschutz’s Examiner network, among his other news business ventures.

“‘We think the mix of public policy and business is the right mix to reach a mix of influencers and senior executives in the area,’ McDonald told me. He aims to be ‘non-partisan’ but also ‘business-friendly.’ He says he hopes to boost circulation to 17,500, which would be ‘significantly above the Philadelphia Business Journal,’ owned by American City Business Journals.

Read more here.

ACBJ paper names new editor, new ME


The New Mexico Business Weekly, an American City Business Journals paper, announced Friday the appointment of a new editor-in-chief and managing editor, effective Oct. 1.

A story on the paper’s website states, “Joe Renaud has been promoted to the newly created position of editor-in-chief and Rachel Sams has been promoted to the new position of managing editor.

“‘The Business Weekly has been aggressive in cementing its place as Albuquerque’s authority on business news,’ said NMBW Publisher Ian Anderson. ‘Joe and Rachel have been key in helping us build a news platform that harnesses the strengths of our print edition, our website and our social media outlets in a way that has created great opportunities for growth. They were integral in the planning and execution of our recently launched Morning Edition email. In their new roles, their combined vision will be more important than ever in driving us forward.’

“As editor-in-chief, Renaud will be responsible for the strategic direction of the newsroom and the Business Weekly’s news products, as well as continuing to grow its readership both in print and online across all platforms. Sams, as managing editor, will be tasked with overseeing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, ensuring the timely production of high-quality, accurate news content.

“Renaud joined the Business Weekly as Web editor in February. He was previously vice president of audience development at Major League Gaming.”

Read more here.

Houston Business Journal

Biz journal tells spokesman to buy copy of paper


Jim Romenesko is reporting on a conversation between the spokesman of the Houston school system and the Houston Business Journal.

The spokesman asked to see a copy of the story after it ran, and he was told to buy a subscription.

Romenesko writes, “Spencer, a former Houston Chronicle education reporter, was surprised to hear that.

“‘I’ve found that other media outlets that use a pay wall will email me copies of stories if they’ve used information I provided,’ he says. ‘Do the people who are quoted in news stories have a right to see those stories soon after they’ve been published in order to verify their views were accurately presented?’ (Business Journal stories are free online after 30 days.)

“Spencer sent me his email exchange with Business Journal editor B. Candace Beeke. She told him:

First, a new policy allows you to purchase just the edition in which the story ran. You can do that online by clicking on the story.

HBJ enforces this policy to protect the work we do and our intellectual property. Anyone who purchases the story or paper gets a copy that protects our licensing.

Our newsroom also is prohibited from sending out free copies of the work we do to protect the investment our readers make in receiving our products. I appreciate your understanding.

Read more here.

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How biz media use consolidated media reporting


Sean Callahan of BtoB Magazine writes about how business news media such as American City Business Journals and the Economist are using consolidated media reporting, which measures how many people the media are reaching in print, online and through other media delivery formats.

Callahan writes, “The Economist began using the CMR earlier this year. Paul Rossi, managing director-exec VP, Americas, for the publication, said, ‘The response [from media buyers] has been, “This is great, but we want more.’ This isn’t perfect, but it’s the first step in transparency.’

“In its CMR, The Economist measures its print and digital paid subscribers (893,208); unique downloads of its app (255,825); average subscription price ($105.11); page views (14.9 million); monthly unique visitors (3.6 million) and Twitter followers (2.3 million).

“‘Increasingly, we are being asked by marketers to put together solutions that access all of our reach,’ Rossi said. He added that print requests for proposals have been flat so far this year compared with last year, but multimedia RFPs are up 30%.

“ACBJ’s Fisher said 45% of the company’s total audience is in print, while 55% is reached via email, websites, events and other media.

“Media brands see these multimedia reports as a means to focus on the quality of their audience (particularly their online audience) rather than the quantity of that audience. The goal is to avoid selling on a CPM basis, which many publishers view as a race to the bottom.”

Read more here.