Tag Archives: Barron’s

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Interim Dow Jones CEO: We will invest in journalism


William Lewis, the interim chief executive officer of Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Wall Street Journal, sent out the following message to the staff on Monday:

It has been two weeks since I was appointed Interim CEO, and I wanted to write to thank the many people across the company who have been kind enough to send me their thoughts and ideas on how we can ensure our business is able to respond better to our customers’ needs.

People from many departments and many regions across the globe have given me detailed thoughts and considered opinions on how we can be the best.  I have also been able to meet many people in person at our offices at Avenue of the Americas and South Brunswick as well as Gray’s Inn Road and Fleet Place in London, I look forward to meeting many more of you over the coming weeks.  This is an outstanding company, full of passionate people and we have the most tremendous opportunity ahead of us.

I’ve been learning in great detail about our products, our people and the possibilities that we have at Dow Jones. Working with the senior management team, my aim is to take a thoughtful and considered approach to understand the landscape and to help create a culture of listening and open communication in which your views are heard. Please email me at william.lewis@dowjones.com with any thoughts you have that you would like to share with me.

The medium-term goal is to work towards a budget process for FY15 that Anna Sedgley and her team will lead for me. This will help shape our focus and strategy, which we will begin to implement at the start of the fiscal year in July.  This strategy will, to a large extent, be based on input from co-workers who have deep and detailed knowledge about their markets, their products and our customers and we do want to hear from all of you – so please take the opportunity to contribute to the discussion over the next few months.

The other clear priority is to review our institutional strategy.  As you may be aware we have created a DJX task force with cross-company representation in order to carve out next steps. This team has been working hard with input from many people.  We look forward to sharing the outcome with you shortly and to working more closely with our institutional customers.

We will also be increasing our efforts to expand our consumer business and invest in our digital products.  Our journalism serves the most influential individuals around the world and it sets the standard for rigorous, quality reporting.  Investing in our journalism and building our consumer brands is an unequivocal priority.

We have world-class people and products at Dow Jones and I am truly excited about the opportunities and possibilities for growth and expansion.

Thank you for making me so welcome in my first few weeks and thank you for your commitment to our company. I look forward to working with you.


Ad pages up at Barron’s


Edward Finn, the president and editor of Barron’s, writes about how the weekly business publication saw an increase in ad pages in 2013.

Finn writes, “In the year just ended, Barron’s top-notch ad-sales team handily beat the competition, with ad pages up 5%, according to the latest data from Kantar Media.

“By contrast, ad pages were down 16% at the Economist, down 13% at Bloomberg BusinessWeek, down 11% at Forbes, and down 4% at Fortune.

“The strong ad performance at Barron’s has been going on for years, as you can see from the chart on this page.

“The leaders most responsible for this outstanding showing are Publisher Gary Holland and Vice President of Marketing and Communications Don Black. They and their team have done a remarkable job.

“Those of us on the editorial side like to think that advertisers use Barron’s because of the stellar audience (meaning you) that our stories draw. And that’s true, of course.”

Read more here.

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Union leader to Dow Jones employees: We will get best deal


Bob Kozma, the president of the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, the union that represents business journalists at The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and Marketwatch.com, sent out the following note to its members:

First we had the Bancrofts as owners. Now we have the Murdochs. We have endured Peter Kann and Rick Zannino as CEOs, followed by Les Hinton. Lex came . . . and went. The chandelier is going, too.

Through all the changes, one thing is clear: We, the employees represented by the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, make Dow Jones & Co. happen.

From the Wall Street Journal to Barron’s, from Factiva to MarketWatch — we make it happen.

From New York to California, Dallas to Toronto, Chicago to Washington — we make it happen.

From newsrooms to press rooms; from sales to customer service; building maintenance, circulation, finance, payroll, technology — wherever you see “Dow Jones” painted on a wall or stenciled on a door — we make it happen.

Managers may come and go, executives may change strategies seemingly overnight, but we remain steadfast because we know — we make it happen.

The new year is only one month old and look how tumultuous it has been. We await the news on News Corp’s — and Dow Jones’s — performance in the latest quarter. Management may once again say how it has to wring cost savings from the organization, and how the company has to do more with less. The leadership of your union will do all we can to counter management’s desire to heap more work on its employees.

This year, IAPE and Dow Jones will negotiate a new collective-bargaining agreement, the contract that governs how we operate. With your support, we will do what we always do: get the best deal possible. We will do this because we know — we make it happen!


Dow Jones names head of digital design


Himesh Patel has joined Dow Jones to lead the digital design of The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch and Barron’s.

Patel was previously the creative director of London-based Telegraph Media Group, where he spearheaded the design of the Daily Telegraph newspaper and the award-winning Telegraph.co.uk website and apps.

“My goal at Dow Jones is to add zest and modernity to the consumer brands,” Patel said in a statement. “WSJ, MarketWatch and Barron’s should be consistent across platforms – web, mobile, newspaper. I want a subscriber to feel the same emotional response to our digital products that you get from an outstanding newspaper front page.

“I look forward to working closely with the editorial department on ways to make our journalism a joy to read or watch on digital platforms. We have some tough questions to answer: What is the role of a newspaper in the 21st century? What values do we need to retain and preserve from traditional newspaper cultures? And what needs to change? But we start with some critical advantages: WSJ is as essential today as it has been at any point in its 125-year history. The tsunami of second-rate content that washes across the Internet is creating an opportunity for high-quality media that stands out.”

“Readers’ experiences of our journalism on digital platforms needs to radically improve,” said Edward Roussel, head of consumer products at Dow Jones, in a statement. “This is where Himesh’s skills and leadership will be invaluable.”

bloomberg markets magazine - february 2014 cover hedge fund rankings

Biz magazines underperformed industry in 2013


Business magazines brought in fewer ad dollars in 2013 compared to the previous year, underperforming in an industry saw a slight increase in advertising revenue.

The 14 business magazines reported ad revenue of $1.33 billion in 2013, down 4.8 percent from 2012, according to data from the Publishers Information Bureau analyzed by Talking Biz news. In comparison, the consumer magazine industry reported a 1.1 percent increase in 2013.

In terms of ad pages, the business magazines reported  a 9.0 percent decline to 13288.80 pages in 2013, while the overall magazine industry reported a 9.0 percent decline.

The business magazine comparison includes the 2012 data from Smart Money, a Dow Jones & Co. personal finance magazine that stopped print publication that year. Excluding the Smart Money numbers in the comparison, business magazines still underperformed the industry, with a 3.1 percent drop in ad revenue and a 5.8 percent drop in ad pages in 2013.

The best-performing title among the business magazines was Bloomberg Markets, which reported a 14.7 percent increase in ad revenue to $38.3 million, and an 11.1 percent increase in ad pages to 774.26

Another strong performer was Barron’s, which reported a 9.9 percent increase in ad revenue to $67.4 million and a 6.4 percent increase in ad pages to 1,269.4.

The worst-performing was Black Enterprise, which reported a 38.6 percent decline in ad revenue to $15.8 million in 2013 and a 38.2 percent drop in ad pages to 338.38.

Among the big three business magazines, Fortune performed the best. It posted a 2.4 percent rise in ad revenue to $213.5 million and a 3.8 percent decline in ad pages to 1,408.77.

Forbes remained the top business magazine in terms of ad revenue and ad pages, but it saw declines in both. Its print ad revenue fell 5.3 percent to $260.4 million, while its print ad pages fell 10.4 percent to 1,644.24.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported a 9.5 percent drop in print ad revenue to $200.7 million and a 12.4 percent decline in ad pages to 1,306.26.

See all of the data here.



Biz magazines underperform industry in third quarter


The 14 business magazines followed by the Publishers Information Bureau underperformed the magazine industry in the third quarter in terms of advertising revenue and advertising pages.

The business magazines recorded ad revenue of $279.3 million, a decline of 1.7 percent, in the third quarter. The ad pages fell 3.2 percent in the third quarter to 2,570.76.

In comparison, the overall magazine industry reported a 4.0 percent gain in ad revenue for the quarter and a 1.8 percent decline in ad pages.

The best performer among the business titles during the quarter was Barron’s, which had a 33.8 percent increase in ad revenue to $15.7 million and a 29.2 percent increase in ad pages to 296.02.

Another strong performer for the quarter was Inc. magazine, which posted a 23.9 percent increase in ad revenue to $14.8 million and a 22 percent increase in ad pages to 177.9

Among the big three business magazines — Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and Fortune — Forbes posted the best performance in the quarter. It had a 2.9 percent increase in ad revenue to $50.5 million and a 1.1 percent decrease in ad pages to 321.1.

In comparison, Businessweek posted a 2 percent increase in ad revenue to $44.4 million and a 1.3 percent decrease in ad pages to 287.84, while Fortune posted a 12.5 percent decline in ad revenue to $46.4 million and a 17.5 percent drop in ad pages to 306.46.

The worst performing business title in the quarter was, once again, Black Enterprise, which reported a 65.3 percent decline in ad revenue to $2.2 million and a 65 percent decline in ad pages to 46.63.

See all of the data here.

Money stacks

It’s pay raise day for Dow Jones business journalists


The following was sent out by the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees/The Newspaper Guild to its Dow Jones & Co. members, which includes reporters at The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires, Marketwatch.com and Barron’s:

Today — Monday, July 1 — is the effective date for wage increases provided by our IAPE contract. Eligible employees must receive the largest of three possible pay hikes: a 2% compensatory increase, a $20 per week minimum-dollar increase (for employees currently paid less than $1,000 per week), or a scale increase for employees progressing through our introductory scales.

And if your manager wants to pay you more as a merit increase, there’s nothing in the contract that prevents her or him from doing so.

While new rates of pay take effect Monday, you won’t see a change in your take-home pay until at least the July 25th pay date, or maybe even later in August. However, retroactive payments will be made at that time.

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you all that this week’s holidays — Today is Canada Day and a holiday for IAPE represented employees working in Canadian cities and Thursday is Independence Day for those of us working in the United States — are both recognized by the IAPE contract. If you are assigned to work on your holiday, make sure you file for your extra compensation.


Investing using the Barron’s 400 index


Aaron Levitt of InvestorPlace.com writes about how investors can now invest based on how financial publication Barron’s picks stocks.

Levitt writes, “Considered to be one of the pillars of financial journalism, media outlet Barron’s has partnered with the fund distributor to create a new ETF based on their popular Barron’s 400 index. The index, which offers ‘growth at a reasonable price’ (or GARP) investing, has an impressive history, and could be the right new infusion for investor portfolios.

“According to pundits, one of the problems with standard indexing is that along with all the ‘good’ companies, you get the ‘bad’ ones as well, which drags on potentially market-beating returns.

“That’s where fundamental indexing — and the new Barron’s 400 ETF — comes in.

“Appearing weekly/daily in Barron’s print and online publications, BFOR’s index was launched in 2007 and uses a unique process to select stocks that have growth characteristics and are trading at reasonable prices … similar to what many Barron’s writers do for their weekly and daily columns.

“The 400-stock index is built on the back of the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index, which itself contains about 6,000 stocks. Firms in this benchmark are then graded and ranked, based on 24 metrics of growth, value, profitability and cash flows. Companies that have a market cap below $3 billion, have a minimum three-month average dollar-trading volume of less than $2 million or are real estate investment trusts are kicked to the curb.”

Read more here.

Tiernan Ray

No, I don’t shill for companies or own stocks


Barron’s veteran Tiernan Ray writes on its Tech Trader Daily blog about how he responds to allegations that his business journalism is influenced by outside forces.

Ray writes, “I adhere to the Dow Jones rule of conduct, which is that I do not write about anything in which I have a financial interest. I got rid of any stock holdings when I joined Dow Jones in 2005, and have never returned to investing in any securities in the time since.

“Moreover, I have latitude to write about anything in tech, given that my only holdings of any kind of securities are via a Dow Jones retirement fund managed by Fidelity Investments. A portion of that fund is invested in stocks, and a portion is invested in bonds. I have no knowledge of what the securities are that are held or traded in those portfolios.

“Often the question of whether I may have a conflict emerges when some readers don’t like what they read. Some go beyond dissatisfaction with the article to opine that I must have a conflict.

“For those readers, I provide the following Q&A.

Aren’t you a paid shill for hedge funds, because you didn’t write that XYZ Corp. is the greatest/worst company/stock ever?

“I receive a paycheck from Dow Jones & Co., and that is the only compensation I receive. No one tells me what to write, nor what approach to take. I have full latitude to write about what I think is important and interesting, and to take an approach to the subject that reflects conversations about that topic that may influence the shares.”

Read more here.

Greg Bartalos

Behind the scenes at Barrons.com


Greg Bartalos is the editor in chief of Barrons.com, the online site for the weekly business newspaper.

He rejoined Barron’s as editor of Barrons.com in early 2009, following his most recent role as assistant managing editor of Yahoo! Finance, a position he held since 2006. He previously served as senior editor of Barrons.com. In his role, Bartalos oversees editorial content for the site, as well as online community-building initiatives and Barrons.com’s relationships with other sites.

He joined Yahoo! Finance in 2005 after serving as senior editor of Barrons.com for four years. Previously, Bartalos served as managing editor and an editorial consultant for Individual Investor Online from 1998-2001. He was also a reporter for Bloomberg News and Institutional Investor. Bartalos began his career at Competitive Media Reporting as an audio editor.

Bartalos graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in communications.

Bartalos spoke earlier this week by email with Talking Biz News about the Barrons.com operation. What follows is an edited transcript.

What is the daily coverage philosophy of Barrons.com?

We try to report on and interpret key news events while emphasizing ways in which readers can profit or at least not lose money. While the daily news cycle drives our coverage, the past informs what we do and the future is our focus. In that context, analysis remains paramount. We regularly write about securities we deem undervalued regardless of whether they are making news. Ultimately, our readers are in search of value, and our job is to find it for them. Barrons.com, which is ramping up video efforts, also provides advice on how to navigate the world of wealth management via its Penta section, which caters to families with assets of $5 million or more.

We offer a wide array of stories, including in-depth interviews with money managers and longer more analytical pieces, complemented by shorter items, often found on our blogs. Including blog posts, Barrons.com publishes roughly 1,000 stories per month on weekdays.

Who do you see as your competitors for markets news?

Many sites cover markets news and provide timely analysis but I wouldn’t single out any. We think we have sufficiently differentiated ourselves with our high-quality editorial offerings that focus on providing actionable ideas to investors. As such, we are not a news site per se. And while most of our competitors are free, we fortunately have been successfully charging for many years.

How do you decide what content is for subscribers, and what content is free?

It’s pretty straightforward. Our daily analysis is generally behind a pay wall. However, our videos, which editor Jack Otter is very effectively building out, are free as are our blogs: Tech Trader Daily (Tiernan Ray), Focus on Funds (Brendan Conway), Emerging Markets (Ben Levisohn), Income Investing (Michael Aneiro), Penta (Richard Morais) and Stocks to Watch. Our magazine content, published every Saturday morning, is for the most part behind the pay wall. But we do experiment with selectively making content free.

The site recently added a portfolio tracker. What was the reasoning?

The new portfolio is a larger Dow Jones initiative designed to encourage frequent usage. The service, provided by LikeAssets, allows readers to automatically and securely sync all their portfolios from more than 40 brokerage firms. The portfolio, which integrates Barron’s analysis and news from The Wall Street Journal, also includes breakdowns of asset allocation and visually alluring performance graphs. Readers can also track investments based on institution, beneficiary or goals.

Tell me about the new feature that analyzes markets coverage from other media.

Helmed by executive editor John Kimelman, Read This, Spike That was created early this year to help investors navigate an ever more cluttered media landscape. It’s easy to see why many feel overwhelmed by the abundance of investing advice hitting them. That’s why in John’s column he discusses the relative merit of a few stories each day, rating them on a one- to five-star basis. Ultimately, in a media-drenched environment, any guidance that can help readers navigate a complex and fast-moving market serves a useful purpose.

Does any of Barron’s content come from your sisters at The Wall Street Journal or Marketwatch?

No. Our stories are created in-house but of course we link to them and vice versa.

Who is the typical Barrons.com reader?

We have a very sophisticated and high net worth readership, composed of individual and professional investors. Average household net worth is north of $2.5 million. And the average reader makes 60 securities transactions per year. Our readers are very loyal, spending over two hours each week reading Barrons.com, with more than half that time devoted to weekday content. Time after time, I have heard readers recount how they grew up watching their fathers read Barron’s on Saturday mornings. Then they fell into the habit and found it a hard one to shake!

When you rejoined Barron’s in 2009, the site had 150,000 subscribers. Where do you stand now?

We are at about 170,000 paid subscribers. Overall, though, from a business standpoint, our focus has been on increasing overall circulation revenue.

And monthly visitors were at 2 million in 2009. Where are you at now?

We are comfortably above that. However, as mentioned above, our focus has been on growing profits — not chasing traffic for traffic’s sake.

What do you attribute that growth to?

Hopefully, the quality of our work is resonating with readers. Efforts on Facebook and Twitter are helping too. We also have expanded into mobile with an iPad app that’s proven popular along with, more recently, an iPhone app that features daily content.

What do you see as the top features of the site that attract most readers?

Randall Forsyth’s Up and Down Wall Street Daily is a big draw as is Tiernan Ray’s tech coverage. Also, Steve Sears’s options column and Michael Kahn’s technical analysis enjoy loyal followings. Jack Hough draws many readers as does David Englander who specializes in “off the radar” stocks. Barron’s Take, which analyzes companies making news, is written by Teresa Rivas, Johanna Bennett and Dimitra DeFotis. They also write the longstanding Weekday Trader feature, which highlights attractive investments.

Wall Street’s Best Minds, which showcases commentary from leading thinkers, has done very well since its January launch. And Investors’ Soapbox, a perennial draw that highlights third-party big-picture analysis, is overseen by managing editor Ed Lin. Inside Scoop, by Grace Williams, has a dedicated following, too. Finally, Richard Morais, with his witty and insightful writing for Penta, covers wealth management, philanthropy, real estate, art, food, culture and more with aplomb.

When you came back from Yahoo! Finance, was there anything that you learned there that you applied at Barron’s?

Yahoo! Finance was different in some fundamental ways. Free versus paid. Massive audience versus a relatively smaller one, etc. But Yahoo reinforced in me the importance of being nimble and timely when programming online content. When I returned to Barrons.com, I wanted to keep the analytical component of the site front and center while giving much more prominence to the daily news cycle. Barron’s Take, which we launched in 2009, is the poster child for that synthesis.

What’s your favorite Alan Abelson story?

I would suggest looking at the stories shared by Alan’s colleagues in a series of recent remembrances that appeared on Barrons.com. Words can’t fully describe how eloquent, witty and fearless Alan was. His impact on colleagues, friends and readers has been staggering. A true giant, Alan is greatly missed.