Tag Archives: American City Business Journals

The role of business journalism in society


Craig Ey, the editor of the Philadelphia Business Journal, writes in Friday’s edition about the role and responsibility of business journalism in a free society like the United States.

Ey writes, “That begins to break down when the business press sees itself differently; when business journalists stop taking on the same kind of watchdog role as government and political journalists. In a way, that’s what happened over the last decade. The tough questions weren’t asked.

“When you read the Philadelphia Business Journal online or in print, you need to know that what you’re getting is accurate intelligence about community and business leaders, your competitors and your industry. Cheerleaders can’t do that. The old saying among ink-stained — and now monitor-weary — wretches is that our role is ‘to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.’

“While we may roll our eyes at such idealism, it’s really still true. Life and business may be unfair at times, but an active press can certainly help level the landscape.

“The logo of California-based Ameriquest included an image of the Liberty Bell, which has become the symbol of what it means to live in a free society. But with freedom comes a ton of responsibility, and all media, including the business media, plays a central role. Hopefully, the lesson has been learned.”

Read more here. A subscription is required.

Denver Biz Journal starts daily e-mail


The Denver Business Journal is introducing a new service that will deliver a roundup of Colorado business news via e-mail during the week.

A story on the paper’s site states, “It will include top news reports from denverbusinessjournal.com from overnight. And it will include our picks of the top Colorado business news from other media, both local and national. You’ll get a quick excerpt of the news story, with a link to the source so you can read more.

“You’ll be able to look up news by company and by location, too.

“‘Morning Call makes keeping up with Colorado-critical business news quick and easy. Emailed to you every morning, the DBJ’s Morning Call gives you the essential news and information you need to know, compiled by experienced DBJ editors, from a variety of news sources,’ said Editor Neil Westergaard.

“You’ll also find Morning Call news items on our website home page each morning under ‘Latest News.’”

Read more here.

Sacramento Biz Journal editor resigns


Ron Trujillo, the editor of the Sacramento Business Journal in California, has resigned after five years in the position.

A story on the paper’s site states, “Trujillo, 44, says he has no immediate plans and will continue to oversee the 12-person newsroom until an editor is hired, likely during the next several weeks. Publisher Joanna Wessman has started a national search for the position.

“”It’s a great job, and has been a wonderful experience,’ said Trujillo, who also files business reports for Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. ‘I know many will speculate about my departure, but it was my decision and something I’ve been thinking about for the past few months. Joanna has been a great boss and friend, and very supportive. I have a great newsroom, and will miss the excitement, from the breaking web stories to putting the newspaper together every week.

“‘But, after a couple years of very long work weeks, it’s time to find more balance in my life. I don’t want to be 55 years old and realize that I can take great care of a building and a newsroom, but have overlooked friends and family — or some of my own needs.’

“Wessman appreciates his efforts during the past five years and applauds his move.”

Read more here.

Dallas Biz Journal names new publisher


Tracy Merzi, the advertising director at the Washington Business Journal, has been named the publisher of the Dallas Business Journal.

Both papers are owned by American City Business Journals.

A story on the Dallas paper’s site states, “Prior to her three-year stint there, Tracy spent 15 years at the Pittsburgh Business Times, first as an advertising consultant and, for 10 years, as ad director.

“‘Tracy brings the expertise and energy a great business city like Dallas demands and deserves,’ said Whitney Shaw, CEO of American City Business Journals, the parent company of the Dallas Business Journal.

“‘I look forward to getting to know the Dallas business community, and working with the strong team at the Dallas Business Journal,’ Merzi said.”

Read more here.

Top business journalism events of 2010



Here are Talking Biz News’ top business journalism events for the year 2010:

10. Ad revenue returns to business magazines. After suffering two years of declines in advertising revenue and advertising pages, the third quarter of 2010 saw the 14 business magazines report a 7.9 percent increase in advertising revenue and a 5.4 percent rise in advertising pages. That compares to a 5.3 percent increase in ad revenue and a 3.6 percent increase in ad pages for the overall magazine industry. And Bloomberg Businessweek says it returned to positive growth in the fourth quarter.

9. Lou Dobbs returns to business journalism. The longtime business anchor at CNN had gotten away from a traditional business news show before he left the cable network  in 2009. In 2010, he signed a deal to return to the air with Fox Business Network. Dobbs is a polarizing figure who will draw attention to Fox Business as it attempts to unseat CNBC as the No. 1 business news channel.

8. Business media apps proliferate. There were dozens of applications for smart phones, iPads and other technology launched by business news organizations in 2010, resulting in additional revenue and additional readers. Our favorite: The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal on iPad.

7. “Nightly Business Report” is sold. The longtime public broadcasting business news show was sold in 2010 after being owned for more than 30 years by a Miami PBS station. There’s been some changes at the program, including a small reduction in staff, and some changes in content.

6. Bloomberg Businessweek’s redesign. The overhaul, launched in April, showed that its new owners were serious about keeping the weekly around after many predicted its demise. It’s now got much more of an edge and an attitude.

5. Shakeout among business journals. While business journals such as the Ocala Business Journal and the Blue Ridge Business Journal stopped publication, and business weeklies owned by Brown Publishing were sold across the country after it filed for bankruptcy court protection, American City Business Journals — the dominant player in the weekly market — got stronger by redesigning its sites and launching smart phone apps for all of its 40 papers. ACBJ also announced that it was returning a 5 percent pay cut it mandated in 2009 to its employees in early 2011.

4. Bloomberg decides to take over the world. No business journalism organization has been more aggressive in the past 12 months in expanding its reach. The New York-based Bloomberg News launched a number of newsletters and unveiled BGov, a new editorial service that will cover the intersection of business and government. It also announced it would be starting an editorial page in 2011.

3. Forbes’ top-to-bottom overhaul. The business magazine brought in chief product officer Lewis Dvorkin to lead a radical revamp of its entire operations. But, its changes have not come without criticism, as some have questioned its decision to allow companies to provide blog content on its site.

2. Bloomberg and Fox Business sue the federal government. Both news organizations want the federal government to release documents that show what was done to help Wall Street firms and other businesses during the economic crisis. After a protracted battle, it appears that business media has won. Their actions show that business media is looking out for the best interests of its consumers.

1. Hiring returns to business journalism. Talking Biz News estimated that roughly 400 business journalists lost jobs in 2009 as many media organizations cut back on their business news desks. However, in 2010, Talking Biz News estimates that 250 jobs were added in the field of business journalism, primarily at the wire services — Associated Press, Bloomberg (with at least 100 going to work for BGov), Dow Jones Newswires and Reuters all added to their business news staffs in the past 12 months. The Wall Street Journal also added to its staff, and other media, such as the Financial Times with its new FT Tilt product, also hired.

American City Business Journals gives back 5% pay cut from 2009



American City Business Journals, the owners of 40 business weekly newspapers across the country, announced internally Thursday that the 5 percent pay cut for employees it made in 2009 will be given back at the beginning of 2011.

Journalists and other staffers will receive the 5 percent back as long as they were on the payroll on June 1, 2009 and have not received a salary increase because of a promotion or another reason since then. The money will be seen in the first paychecks of January.

American City Business Journals, which is based in Charlotte, has approximately 600 journalists working for the company at weekly business papers stretched from Honolulu to Boston. It is one of the largest employers of business journalists in the country.

In a note to employees, CEO Whit Shaw wrote, “While we are pleased that we can take this step, it would be a mistake to assume that the company has recovered completely from the economic challenges that necessitated the reduction in the first place.  With the help of you and your colleagues, we’ve weathered the most difficult part of the storm, remain fundamentally sound and are well positioned for the future.  Please know, however, that I also believe it will take some time for us to return to the financial performance of our best years.”

In the note, Shaw said that the pay cut helped save jobs across the company.

“With the 5 percent reduction being lifted, our next focus will be on addressing the salary and hiring freezes,” added Shaw. “We will review both on an on-going basis, as we have in the past, but would not expect to be in position to do anything before mid-2011 at the earliest. I will continue to review requests to fill open positions on a case-by-case basis.”

ACBJ launching mobile apps for its biz papers


Charlotte-based American City Business Journals announced Tuesday that it is launching mobile applications for all 42 of its business publications.

The St. Louis Business Journal is the first paper to launch its free mobile application for Android, Blackberry and iPhone devices. Other markets are scheduled to launch by the first quarter of 2011.

“We are dedicated to providing comprehensive, exclusive coverage on both local and national issues that affect our subscribers’ businesses and assist them in opening doors and making connections,” said Huntley Paton, executive editor for The Business Journals, an ACBJ subsidiary, in a statement.  ”Mobile is an integral part of our growth strategy to deliver a more relevant and convenient experience.”

The app will also be available for the iPad and the Galaxy Tab.

Subscribers to the print edition of the papers will be able to access premium stories from their mobile device.

Kansas City-based Handmark is helping develop the apps for ACBJ.

Read more here.

Raleigh biz paper names new publisher


Bryan Hamilton has been named the new publisher of the Triangle Business Journal, according to a story Tuesday on the American City Business Journals’ paper’s site.

The story states, “Hamilton, who has served as TBJ’s director of marketing and circulation for the past three years, succeeds Charlene Grunwaldt, who has served as TBJ’s publisher since American City Business Journals bought the newspaper in 1991.

“Grunwaldt announced retirement plans last month. She will work with Hamilton through a transition process over the next few weeks.

“‘I am honored and excited to be given the opportunity to build upon the success that TBJ has experienced the last 19 years under Char Grunwaldt’s leadership,’ Hamilton says. ‘Triangle Business Journal has a phenomenal team. I look forward to what we’ll be able to accomplish together.’

“Since joining TBJ in November 2007, Hamilton has led the newspaper to double-digit growth in circulation while also growing the TBJ brand through initiatives such as the BizMix networking event series and Smart Reader Seminars.”

Read more here.

You can go home again


Longtime Atlanta business journalist Andy Peters, who worked for the Atlanta Business Chronicle for six months back in 1998, is returning to the paper.

Peters has been hired by the American City Business Journals paper to cover the banking, finance and legal beats. His first day will be Dec. 6, according to editor David Allison, who recently celebrated 26 years at the paper.

After leaving the Chronicle in 1998, Peters worked for the Atlanta bureau of Bloomberg News for three years, covering everything from Coca-Cola to Home Depot and Delta Air Lines. He then spent three years as the Atlanta bureau chief of the Macon Telegraph.

Since 2005, Peters has been a reporter for the Fulton County Daily Report, a legal and business newspaper in Atlanta. He also blogs about mass transit and bike lanes in Atlanta here.

Peters has degrees from Furman University and the University of Georgia.

Biz journals a solid performer


Matthew Flamm of Crain’s New York writes about the Newhouse media operations and notes that its American City Business Journals operation is perhaps the most solid operator in the company.

Flamm writes, “The American City Business Journals unit, which Donald Newhouse bought in 1995 for about $270 million, accounts for a more stable corner of Advance’s print business.

“Observers say the 40 regional weeklies under the ACBJ umbrella have benefited from having local roots and targeted subject matter. Outsell estimates that revenue fell 16% in 2009, to $415 million, which at least gave the Charlotte, N.C.-based company a better performance than most other newspaper groups.

“‘Their readership is more loyal and less fickle than the general news readership,’ says Outsell analyst Chuck Richard. ‘That relationship with their audience allows them to maintain advertising.’”

Read more here.