Tag Archives: Barron’s
Harlan Byrne, a longtime business journalist who worked for The Wall Street Journal and for Barron’s for 56 years, died earlier this week in suburban Chicago. He was 89.
Byrne was a graduate of the University of Missouri.
An obituary notice in the Chicago Sun-Times states, “He joined The Wall Street Journal as a reporter in the Dallas bureau in 1949, and subsequently served as bureau chief in Houston, Cleveland and Philadelphia, before being transferred to the Chicago bureau in 1961.
“In 1985, he became Midwest editor of Barron’s, also a Dow Jones publication, and continued writing until 2005. Harlan was nominated by The Wall Street Journal for the Top 100 Business News Luminaries of the Century Awards, the Gerald R. Loeb Award and a Pulitzer Prize in 1982.”
Read more here.
Suzanne Barlyn of Dow Jones Newswires reports that business media such as Barron’s and Bloomberg have lost in a judge’s ruling as to whether documents could be unsealed that could shed light on charges that Mary Schapiro, now chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, misled brokers about terms of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s creation three years ago.
Barlyn reports, “U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of New York ruled late Monday that correspondence between the former National Association of Securities Dealers, or NASD, and the Internal Revenue Service would remain under a protective order. Lawyers from Dow Jones & Co., acting on behalf of Barron’s; Bloomberg L.P.; and The New York Times sought the information in connection with a 2007 class-action lawsuit led by Standard Investment Chartered, a California-based brokerage.
“A key issue in the case is the adequacy of a $35,000 payout NASD made to its individual members when it merged with the regulatory arm of the New York Stock Exchange to form the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra. In proxy material in December 2006, the NASD claimed that the IRS had precluded it from paying members more than $35,000 each. The lawsuit challenges that claim and says the NASD had plenty of money for a bigger payout.
“The motions by Dow Jones & Co. and other news organizations sought to review the IRS correspondence that purportedly established the $35,000 payout figure.”
Read more here.
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Advertising in 15 business magazines in 2009 fell by $340 million, or 21.7 percent, to $1.23 billion, due to the lingering recession, according to a Talking Biz News analysis of numbers released Tuesday by the Publishers Information Bureau.
Advertising pages in those same 15 magazines fell by 28.7 to 12,844.59 pages, according to the data. The numbers exclude Conde Nast Portfolio, which closed in late April.
Not one of the 15 remaining business glossied reported an increase in ad revenue or ad pages for the year, and the biz magazine sector fared worse than the overall magazine industry, which posted an 18.1 percent decline in ad revenue and a 25.6 percent drop in ad pages. Since 2006, the business magazine field has lost more than $650 million in revenue and nearly 10,000 ad pages.
The worst performing business magazine in 2009 in terms of ad revenue was Inc., which lost 46.4 percent, down to $46.6 million. The worst performing magazine for the year in terms of lost ad pages was Wired, down 39.6 percent to 694.37 pages.
Forbes magazine remained No. 1 in terms of advertising revenue, but its ad revenue fell 25.6 percent to $251.5 million.
And it lost its top spot in terms of of ad pages. Forbes ad pages fell 30.2 percent to 1937.14, while the Economist saw its ad pages fall 20.2 percent to 1970.55.
Among the other large biz titles, BusinessWeek — which was sold last year to Bloomberg LP — reported a 31.2 percent drop in ad revenue to $162.4 million and a 33.8 percent fall in ad pages to 1,247.01. Fortune magazine reported similar numbers with a 33.9 percent drop in ad revenue to $182.9 million and a 36 percent decline in ad pages to 1,523.98.
The Economist was the best performing in terms of ad revenue, dropping 12.8 percent to $114.7 million. Entrepreneur magazine was the best performing in terms of ad pages, dropping 18.3 percent to 852.33 pages.
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
The first decade of the 21st century began with business journalists facing criticism for their boosterish coverage of companies during the tech bubble and ended with many of the same reporters facing more criticism for failing to warn consumers about the current economic crisis.
In between, the world of business journalism underwent dramatic changes that make the field only vaguely similar to what it looked like back on Jan. 1, 2000.
Talking Biz News believes the following 10 events — ranked in order of importance — were the most important to business journalism during the past decade. If you’d like to nominate another event, please post a comment.
1. The demise of the daily business section: At the beginning of the decade, standalone business sections in metro newspapers across the country were the primary source of news for those seeking information about business, the markets and the economy. As 2009 closes, they’re now an afterthought. Many of these papers have only themselves to blame — the cutting of printed stock listings and the downsizing of business news staffs have cut the quality and quantity of business news they provide.
2. The biz magazine shakeout: Goodbye Business 2.0, one of the hippest business magazines ever printed. Hello, and goodbye, to Conde Nast Portfolio. So long, Fortune Small Business and BusinessWeek SmallBiz. In addition, Inc., Fast Company and BusinessWeek were sold to new owners, Fortune cut its printed issues by 33 percent and Forbes sold a minority stake of itself. None have been able to find a new formula for success.
3. The rise of Bloomberg News: At the beginning of the decade, Bloomberg was simply another wire service that competed against the AP, Reuters, Dow Jones Newswires and the now-defunct Bridge News. Now, it has the largest staff of business journalists anywhere. It owns BusinessWeek magazine, and it’s overhauling its TV operations to compete with CNBC and Fox Business Network. The contest for business news dominance now appears to be a two-horse race between Bloomberg and Dow Jones.
4. Dow Jones sale to News Corp.: Rupert Murdoch added the parent company of The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Marketwatch.com and Dow Jones Newswires in 2007 to his far-flung media operations. Along with the Fox Business Network, News Corp. now has a presence in delivering business news in every major platform. The Journal has continued to grow its subscription base and has led the pack in requesting consumers pay for business news online.
5. Cable biz news wars: After CNNfn went off the air in 2004, CNBC had the cable business news market to itself for the next three years, until 2007 when the Fox Business Network was launched. Amid criticism that it was too bullish at the beginning of the decade and too defensive of Wall Street at the end of the decade, CNBC continued to dominate business news on TV.
6. Lessons learned: Yes, business journalism was asleep at the wheel in failing to provide adequate coverage of tech, Internet and telecom companies in the first part of the decade. But many biz reporters learned their lesson, and the coverage in the latter part of the decade about the housing bubble and Wall Street problems was much better. And I don’t buy the argument that financial journalism should have warned consumers what was coming; we are not fortune tellers.
7. KHOU-TV’s coverage of bad tires: This was the 2000 coverage of the Firestone problems on Ford Explorers that led to dozens of deaths, and it was a stark reminder that the best business journalism is investigative and questions companies, searching for answers when a company stonewalls. It led to an overall more adversarial approach to business journalism for the rest of the decade.
8. Jon Stewart’s takedown of Jim Cramer: Forget the back and forth between the two combatants here. Simply put, “The Daily Show” hosts montage of bad calls by Cramer put into focus what every serious business journalist knows: You don’t ever predict something, particularly involving investments or money, in print or on the air. Sadly, Cramer’s not the only one who does this.
9. Pulitzer winners abound: From the 2002 win by Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times for her coverage of Wall Street to the 2008 win by Washington Post business columnist Steve Pearlstein and the 2009 win by Alexandra Berzon of the Las Vegas Sun, the Pulitzer committee recognized that business journalism was prescient and performed its watchdog role.
10. New delivery systems: iPhones and Blackberries now act as a transmitter of The Wall Street Journal and other major business media outlets. Twitter sends headlines of breaking news. Kindles and Sony Readers can do all and more. The newspaper is not dead as a medium of business news, but it now has more competition from a variety of options.
Barron’s said Monday that will make its subscription content available to all users for four days beginning this Saturday in conjunction with this weekend’s issueÂ featuring the new section targeting high net-worth individuals.
This is the second issue of PENTA, which targets ‘pentamillionaires,’ individuals with at least $5 million in assets. The Barrons.com open house continues through Tuesday, Dec. 1.
“We continually seek ways for advertisers to reach our extremely high-quality audience as well as avenues to broaden that audience and reach new readers,” said Ed Finn, editor and president of Barron’s, in a statement. “Working with CFA Institute for this Open House is a perfect example of an execution that benefits both the client and the reader, and we look forward to showcasing our content to a new audience.”
Barrons.com currently offers a mix of free and subscriber-only content. The open house will give non-subscribers access to articles from the latest issue of the magazine as well as online exclusives such as
Barron’s Take, exclusive commentary and insights, and investing ideas.
The Wall Street Journal readers have the highest median annual income of all print publications, according to Mediamark Research & Intelligence’s MRI Fall 2009 report.
Sean Callahan of BtoB Magazine reports that Journal readers make $135,740.
Callahan writes, “Twelve other print publications had readership with median household income above $100,000, which indicates a business-oriented audience.
“The other 12 are: Barron’s ($126,710); The Economist ($124,701); United Hemispheres ($120,809); Washington Post Sunday ($120,400); The New York Times Sunday ($118,471); The New York Times daily ($115,816); American Way ($108,522); CondÃ© Nast Traveler ($106,407); The Atlantic ($104,786); Southwest Spirit ($102,505); Architectural Digest ($101,159); and Yachting ($100,740).”
Barron’sÂ announced Thursday it will launch a new section targeting “pentamillionaires” — individuals with at least $5 millionÂ in assets.
Beginning Saturday, Sept. 26, the new 24-page pullout section, titled “PENTA,” will appear quarterly with financial advice on topics ranging from personal finance to lifestyle concerns. PENTA content will also be available online at Barrons.com once it’s published.
“The Madoff scandal has left many wealthy Americans feeling vulnerable,” said Ed Finn, editor and president of Barron’s, in a statement. “With the lack of investment advice for this segment of the population from other credible media outlets, we decided that PENTA was a good fit for our readers because it provides trusted financial advice from America’s premier financial magazine.”
The first issue of PENTA will feature Barron’s annual ranking of elite wealth management firms as well as a new list ranking the top private bankers in the U.S. In addition, PENTA will regularly provide lifestyle content, such as advice on how to buy art at auction, buying fine wines, green initiatives, philanthropy and investing advice.
Read more here.
Jon Friedman of Marketwatch writes Friday about former Barron’s reporter Erin Arvedlund, who has recently published a book on convicted investor Bernie Madoff.
Friedman writes, “In her book, Arvedlund is shying away from the sociological implications of the scandal and concentrating on explaining to readers how Madoff turned his once-legitimate business into a huge fraud.
“‘The two missing pieces were finding the really old people’ who could talk about the origins of the fraud ‘and how (the company) produced these phony statements,’ Arvedlund said.
“What resulted was a page-turning narrative. Like many authors, Arvedlund became happily obsessed with her work. This kind of drive can help authors persist when they feel discouraged by the weight of the work or head cold or family distraction. Of course, it also can result in a strange way of life for the author.
“‘I talk about these people like they’re my family,’ Arvedlund laughed. She set aside a specific part of her Philadelphia home where she would be free of Madoff, at least for a moment or two.”
Read more here.Â
Damien Hoffman of Wall Street Cheat Sheet interviewed Barron’s senior editor Michael Santoli about his writing career and how he develops his columns in the weekly business newspaper.
Here is an excerpt:
Damien: What is it like having gone from a beat reporter to basically batting cleanup behind Alan Abelson and having that great Feature space?
Michael: Itâ€™s great. We actually enjoy an amazingly committed readership at Barronâ€™s. Itâ€™s a good thing because I obviously want people who are loyal and look forward to getting Barronâ€™s first thing Saturday morning. On the other hand, itâ€™s a challenge because obviously they are demanding. The readers want to see something they havenâ€™t encountered during the week. Itâ€™s not that you have to say something differently, you have to say it more persuasively or have a point of view somewhat at variance with what most people have been reading and watching most of the week.
It was an adjustment to do commentary after being a beat writer where itâ€™s play-it-straight, get the news fast, and get it out there. Now I have all week to percolate whatever topics interest me, look at all the research, and talk to a lot of people. By the end of week I figure out if I have anything interesting to say. The challenge during the adjustment was to learn how to have an opinionated voice, and to go out on a limb and say, â€œThis is where I think we might be headed and here is a particular investment idea that has merit or not.â€ The adjustment is on-going. The challenge is to quiz myself every minute of the day: â€œWhat do I really think? Where is the crowd sentiment? Where can I make a distinction between what I think is the likely view and what the crowd currently thinks?â€
Read more here.
The business is called Dow Jones PR & Corporate Communications Solutions, and it provides analysis of media and social networks for organizations that want to know how a topic or an issue is being perceived.
This operation just signed a three-year contract with South African Tourism to help it present a better image during the 2010 World Cup, which will be played in South Africa, and afterward.
Here’s what makes me queasy about the whole situation: With the name Dow Jones on the operation, it gives the impression that it’s providing access to the top business journalists in the country. And the economic development surrounding the 2010 World Cup is obviously a story that Dow Jones journalists will cover.
Maybe I’m just overly paranoid, but I’ve never seen a news operation that had a side business in PR and marketing either. I don’t know of any U.S. magazines or newspapers that provide such work on the side for clients who could be covered by their journalists.
UPDATE: I spoke with Robert Thibault, director of global public relations for Dow Jones, this evening. Here is what he had to say about the PR and corporate communications operation at the company. After hearing him explain it, I do feel better about the relationship.
“The product that South African Tourism is using is Dow Jones Insight, which is an electronic clipping service,” said Thibault. “The service allows clients to monitor, measure and analyze their coverage in maintsream media, Web sites and social media. What we do, is we assist a client like the South African Tourism board in developing a targeted search stream, so it captures what they want it to capture. And then we put the search results in context.
“That means different things to different clients. A client that makes computers might want to see how much coverage theyre getting versus Competitor A and B. It uses visualization technology to help a client understand.
“What we don’t do is operate a PR or marketing consulting firm in any way shape or form. We don’t provide clients with any advice on strategies or how to react to the coverage. We have an unyielding firewall from the rest of the organization. When you’re a client of Dow Jones Insight, that’s it. We provide impartial information on how you’re mentioned in the media.”