Tag Archives: BusinessWeek
by Chris Roush
The 14 business magazines performed worse than the overall magazine industry in the fourth quarter in terms of advertising revenue and advertising pages, according to a data analysis by Talking Biz News.
In the fourth quarter, the industry saw a 1.3 percent advertising revenue decline and a 7.3 percent drop in advertising pages, according to data released Thursday by Publishers Information Bureau.
However, the business glossies reported a drop of 6.6 percent in advertising revenue to $421 million and an ad page drop of 13.4 percent to 3532.15 pages during the last three months of the year. The comparison is slightly affected by Smart Money, which had its print edition closed by News Corp. at the end of the third quarter of 2012.
The only business magazine to see an increase in ad pages and ad revenue during the fourth quarter was Enterpreneur. It reported a 1.4 percent rise in ad revenue to $20.0 million and a 1.6 percent increase in ad pages to 232.52.
Barron’s also reported a rise in both ad pages and ad revenue, but many do not consider it to be a magazine. Its ad revenue rose 5.2 percent in the quarter to $17.8 million, and its page pages rose 1.4 percent to 102.81.
The worst performing magazine was Inc., which saw its advertising revenue drop 23.3 percent to $12.2 million and its ad pages drop 25.7 percent to 147.98 in the quarter.
Right behind it was Harvard Business Review, which saw its ad revenue fall 22.8 percent to $5.4 million and its ad pages fall 25.8 percent to 119.63.
Its ad revenue fell 1.5 percent to $62.4 million, and its ad pages fell 7.8 percent to 438.73.
In comparison, Forbes reported a 5.4 percent drop in ad revenue to $95.8 million, and a 9.7 percent drop in ad pages to 642.9, while Bloomberg Businessweek reported a 4.1 percent decline in ad revenue to $72.6 million and a 7.7 percent drop in ad pages to 489.35.
by Chris Roush
Journalists are suckers for good economics metaphors because economics like to use them to explain what is going on with the economy, said a prominent economics reporter on Saturday.
“I happen to believe it’s not just a rhetorical truck to use a metaphor,” said Peter Coy, economics editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, at the History of Economics Society at the meetings of the ASSA in San Diego. “I believe that economics works that way. We journalists are in good company when we use metaphors.”
Coy was part of a panel that discussed economics coverage.
Coy used the most-recent Businessweek cover story as an example of how metaphors are used in business journalism to illustrate an economic point.
The cover has the title “Babies” and a picture of Congress showing toddlers in all of the seats to illustrate the politics of the fiscal cliff deal. Coy said the cover was the idea of editor Josh Tyrangiel.
Inside, with Coy’s story, is a picture illustration that shows the Congress building dressed as a clown.
In Coy’s article, he explores the idea of economics, arguing that the “economy-as-family” metaphor as incorrect. He argues for a different metaphor, of an economy stuck in low gear that needs a mechanic.
He originally wrote that the economy was like a machine that was being underused. But he finetuned that description while working with Tyangiel on the article.
“Economists are suckers for a metaphor, and I don’t have a problem with that,” said Coy.
by Chris Roush
Julie Moos of the Poynter Institute was able to get Bloomberg Businessweek editor in chief Josh Tyrangiel to answer some questions about its cover-story this week, which was an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Here is an excerpt:
Poynter: How did the interview come about?
Josh Tyrangiel: Businessweek has had a good relationship with Apple for years, and I’ve worked with Apple for a long time as well. We pitched them on a lengthy conversation many months ago, and two weeks ago they called and said Tim was ready to talk. Simple as that.
There’s a familiar, authentic tone to the questions and responses. Can you say anything about the relationship between you two? Have you interviewed him previously (and if so, how many times)?
Tyrangiel: We’ve met before, but never done a formal interview. I’d say that any sense you get of warmth or familiarity is a tribute to Tim Cook. It’s not easy to be interviewed, but he’s really quite free of affectation and very comfortable talking candidly about Apple.
The interview broke news in several different ways. How did you think about that as a goal?
Tyrangiel: Like most interviews, my goal was simply to have a good conversation. I aimed to touch on as many things as possible in the time at hand, and perhaps we sacrificed a bit of depth on some issues for breadth. But I think that was the right strategy.
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Bloomberg Businessweek has pulled an online poll and article asking its readers to vote for what business school had the best-looking female students after criticism from readers.
Aja Romano of The Daily Dot writes, “The poll was part of a new Businessweek feature called ‘Face/Off‘ that asks readers to vote on various short polls. Introduced just five days ago, the poll has already ground to a halt after the media outlet yanked its latest edition.
“What were Businessweek execs thinking when they put up the poll to begin with? Probably that this year would be no different from the other three years they’d published similar rankings of colleges by hotness.
“In 2009, Businessweek published an article called ‘Campus Life: A Report Card.’
“‘It’s important to understand what the universities that house the top business programs are really like,’ claimed the article. The next year, they repeated the article, this time with a slide show purporting to list the ‘Fifty Colleges with the Hottest Guys, Girls, and Nightlife.’ And by 2011, they were confident enough to declare it a yearly event.
“The lists generated virtually no discussion. In 2010, a Huffington Post syndication of the list garnered comments about the drug scene on certain campuses, but little else. On the Bloomberg Businessweek website, comments were absent altogether.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Paskin will report to Josh Tyrangiel, editorial director of Bloomberg Digital and editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, beginning Nov. 12.
“Janet is a talented digital editor who has a great understanding for how to grow strong online and mobile platforms,” said Tyrangiel in a statement. “Coupled with her background as a financial reporter, she’s the ideal person to lead Businessweek.com and add to the skills of the Bloomberg Businessweek team. We’re thrilled to have her join us.”
Paskin joins Bloomberg Businessweek from the Wall Street Journal, where she served as digital editor, overseeing the online and mobile presence for its Money & Investing bureau, including WSJ.com’s Markets Pulse Web app. Prior to the Wall Street Journal, Paskin was with SmartMoney, first as a senior writer for the magazine from 2006 to 2009, and then as managing editor of SmartMoney.com from 2010 to 2012.
In 2011 she led the site’s redesign and increased traffic to SmartMoney articles by 40 percent. In between her SmartMoney posts, she was managing editor at Bundle.com, joining the personal finance startup six months prior to launch to develop and implement its editorial strategy. Paskin was also a reporter at Money magazine from 2005 to 2006.
In March, Talking Biz News reported about her Journal job.
by Chris Roush
Josh Tyrangiel, the editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, has been named Advertising Age’s editor of the year.
Simon Dumenco writes, “Mr. Tyrangiel had been the respected deputy managing editor at Time, which made him a reasonably obvious candidate; on the other hand, he doubled as the magazine’s music critic and his resume included stints at Vibe, Rolling Stone and MTV. Was he really the man to breathe new life into a business weekly, of all things?
“Once again, yes. Mr. Tyrangiel and his team have managed to make Bloomberg Businessweek a must-read with provocative cover stories, smartly packaged departments and briefings, and a marked irreverence about the subject matter at hand.
“A January cover on the Continental-United merger titled ‘Let’s Get It On,’ for instance, showed one airplane mounting another like a barnyard animal in heat and promised ‘an inside look at the complexity and absurdity of making the world’s largest airline.’ It’s worth noting that Mr. Tyrangiel and his partner in crime, Creative Director Richard Turley, who emerged as a magazine-design rock star after joining Businessweek from The Guardian, sit opposite each other in the magazine’s open-office plan (more on that in a bit).
“Bloomberg Businessweek doesn’t appear on the Magazine A-List proper, as it’s still on its way back into the black. But we’re naming Mr. Tyrangiel Editor of the Year for helping to bring the brand back from the brink with talked-about content that makes the most of Bloomberg’s investment in good old-fashioned editorial excellence.”
Read more here.
by Liz Hester
It’s Advertising Week 2012! Ok, so no one’s actually jumping out of a chair to run to New York, but Tanzina Vega and Stuart Elliot do have an interesting story in the New York Times about the five-day event.
As the world relies more on digital, companies are trying to figure out the best way to reach more segmented audiences, sometimes with shrinking budgets. This year’s conferences are increasingly focused on social, mobile and digital media – a far cry from the “Mad Men” days of beautiful print ads.
It was also a chance for social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to help advertisers better understand the value of advertising on social networking sites. From the story:
Facebook took the opportunity of a session at the Mixx conference to answer questions about the efficacy of buying advertising on its site — questions that were widespread even before the company’s disappointing initial public offering.
Brad Smallwood, director of pricing and measurement at Facebook, discussed the findings of a study the company hoped would change advertisers’ minds about depending on measurements like clicks to determine the success of campaigns on facebook.com. The goal is to have them perceive the social network more as a medium akin to television for branded advertising.
“If you ran a campaign in the last five years, you focused on clicks,” Mr. Smallwood said, but “demand fulfillment is only one piece of the marketing puzzle.”
“We have to provide a solution for the brand marketers of the world,” he added.
The study was conducted with a new Facebook partner, Datalogix, a company that measures in-store purchases. Fifty campaigns on Facebook were measured, for brands from giant marketers like Nestlé, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. When purchase data from stores was combined with data about ad impressions on Facebook, the study found that 70 percent of the campaigns enjoyed three times greater return on their budgets, and 99 percent of the sales came from consumers who did not interact with the Facebook ads.
I’m not sure that last part proves the point (unless it’s an error), but needless to say, advertisers are definitely looking for more engagement and better ways to measure their success.
I’m bringing this up since the topic of advertisers was discussed by one of the more interesting panels at last week’s Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference last week. The person with some of the most radical ideas: Bloomberg Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel.
Web advertisers are struggling and seem to be constantly chasing two-year-old trends, Tyrangiel said. For example, right now the hot buy is video and video pre-roll, but adding a 30-second advertisement to the beginning of every video is bad for advertisers and creates a terrible user experience, he said.
Tyrangiel said he’d like to see advertisers spend more money and not just slap the same banner ad up on every site. Companies who spend more to create a custom ad experience on different sites will “nail it on engagement.” With the rise in specialized content and people willing to pay for the information they want to receive, advertisers will have to consider a different approach to their online and mobile campaigns, Tyrangiel said.
And if customization is the key for online advertisers, then companies need to figure out how to better use social media tools to engage customers. From the Times story:
At another Mixx presentation, Joel Lunenfeld, vice president for global brand strategy at Twitter, shared data about the relationships people have with brands on twitter.com.
Nine out of 10 people on Twitter follow at least one brand, Mr. Lunenfeld said. Although most said they did so for promotions, coupons and free products, he said that 87 percent said they followed brands for fun and entertainment and 80 percent said they did so for access to exclusive content.
Among the examples presented by Mr. Lunenfeld were how brands like Panasonic and Procter & Gamble use Twitter. Perhaps most interesting was Mr. Lunenfeld’s connection between Twitter posts and television commercials.
“Twitter is the EKG of action for television,” he said, adding that 50 percent of people who use Twitter do so while watching TV.”
I find this factoid about TV and Twitter staggering. Smart companies don’t just slap a Twitter icon on the bottom of advertisements; they’re finding a way to engage the audience. And another key question for companies is how to integrate all these platforms to create a cohesive experience.
Forbes.com contributor Rhonda Hurwitz wrote in a recent post that companies typically fail with social media in one of three ways. They either outsource too much, put the department responsible for social media off to the side or don’t engage employees in the process.
As companies spend more on social advertising – it’s expected to more than double during the next five years to 18.8 percent of total marketing spend, Hurwitz said citing CMOsurvey.org.
That’s a lot of people throwing money as something not fully a part of the business. And for those who write about advertising and marketing, it’s important to pay attention.
by Chris Roush
Louis Lavelle is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Previously, he was BusinessWeek’s management editor.
Since taking over as the magazine’s business schools editor in 2005, his team has expanded the franchise to include coverage of Chinese business schools and new rankings of undergraduate business programs, part-time MBA programs, the best employers for new college graduates, and the best employers for internships. In 2007 and 2008, BusinessWeek won National Magazine Awards for the B-schools channel on Businessweek.com.
Lavelle is also the author of “Fast Track: The Best B-Schools” (McGraw-Hill, 2008). Prior to BusinessWeek, Lavelle was a reporter at The Record in Hackensack, N.J. In 1998, he won the New Jersey Press Association’s Award for Business and Economic Writing. Lavelle worked at The Tampa Tribune for nearly nine years. In addition, he did stints at The Daily Journal in Elizabeth, N.J., and The Journal-News in Nyack, N.Y.
Lavelle received a bachelor’s degree from Montclair State University in New Jersey and a master’s from New York University.
Next month, the magazine will introduce revamped rankings. Among other changes, it is launching a new web tool that lets people select from more than 100 data points across 200 schools so they can see how they stack up against each other using criteria that matters to them.
Lavelle discussed by email with Talking Biz News about how the magazine covers business schools and the upcoming changes. What follows is an edited transcript.
Bloomberg Businessweek’s biennial ranking of full-time MBA programs dates back to 1988. We were the very first publication to do this and have come to own this space in a way that most other media outlets can’t claim. Every two years, business school applicants rely on Bloomberg Businessweek to make one of the most important decisions they’ll ever make. The rankings serve as a great introduction to the magazine for a new generation of rising young business executives. The trust engendered during the business school selection process makes many of those people Bloomberg Businessweek subscribers for life.
How do you determine the editorial content around the data every year, and then throughout the year?
For the most part, we let the data determine the editorial content. The stories we publish with the ranking are based on the most important developments we tracked throughout the year — application trends, admissions changes, the MBA job market — as well as the thousands of comments made by MBA graduates in our surveys.
During the year we publish at least two to three new pieces of content every day, five days a week on businessweek.com. Much of this is breaking news — there are really very few media outlets that cover the B-schools space as thoroughly as we do — but we also do features, service stories, and the occasional multi-part series. All of our editorial choices are driven by what we think is important, or interesting, for the vast majority of business school applicants, students, and alumni.
How are the rankings changing this year in how the data is presented?
First, let me say the actual methodology we use is not changing. Our ranking will be based on surveys of thousands of MBA graduates, hundreds of corporate recruiters, and the publication record of each b-school’s faculty. However, the way in which the data is presented is undergoing its biggest overhaul in the 24 years since the rankings began. The biggest change is on Businessweek.com. We’re launching a new B-School Finder, which lets you personalize the list based on your own needs. You can compare schools on more than 100 different data points — everything from selectivity and yield, to top employers for graduates.
Let’s take salary for example. You’ll have extensive information on alumni pay, with a level of detail not available anywhere else on the web. For each school you’ll be able to view graduate salaries for those with up to 20 years of work experience. And, you can dig deeper into specific industries, functional areas, and world regions. You’ll also be able to see the top undergraduate institutions, top majors, and top employers for each school’s admitted students.
The other huge change is the look and integration of multimedia. Instead of a dry run-down of statistical data, the information will be presented on businessweek.com as charts and graphs that make it easier to understand. Profiles will have photos, and in the case of top-ranked schools, Bloomberg Businessweek-produced videos to help bring the feel of the campus, classes and students to you. And, last but certainly not least, we help you connect with other applicants and participate in lively discussions through our forums.
Explain the importance of online for the coverage.
The rankings and other B-schools content still make an appearance in the print magazine from time to time, but most of the people who rely on the rankings and our year-round editorial coverage consume them online. This has been true for some time now and becomes more true every year. Part of the reason why people are looking online for this type of content is because the B-school community follows our coverage on Facebook and Twitter, and gathers in our B-school forum to share tips on B-school admissions, advice on the MBA job hunt, and more.
Who do you see as your competition in terms of business school coverage?
Well, in my opinion, nobody covers business schools the way we do — looking at more than 100 different data points and publishing daily articles. However, other organizations that either produce rankings or have editorial coverage in the space include the Financial Times, U.S. News, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal and Poets & Quants. (Editor’s note: The Poets & Quants site is run by John Byrne, who once ran BusinessWeek’s business school rankings.)
How many staffers are working with you on the coverage and the data, and what are their jobs?
We have a core B-schools team that oversees the day-to-day management of the ranking surveys, handles the number crunching and writes B-school specific stories. In addition to this team, we have many others who contribute to the success of this effort, assisting with the design, the technology and the information gathering. Special shout-outs to Alison Damast, Melanie Danko, Katherine Davis, Francesca Di Meglio, Geoff Gloeckler, Tiffany Guidice, Fred Jespersen, Martin Keohan, Jennifer Lee, Ross Litscher, Jennifer Marrero, Brad Rickman and Erin Zlomek.
How has business school coverage evolved in the past decade?
I think interest in business schools — positive and negative — has really exploded in the last decade as an MBA came to be seen early on as a path to untold riches, and later as the source of some of the problems that led to the global financial crisis. The number of rankings, by media outlets and others, has also exploded. The business of business schools has gone global, with top schools opening campuses or partnering with local players in foreign markets, and its gone digital, with more schools exploring online programs. As costs have risen and graduate salaries have stagnated, there’s a greater hunger for information on ROI — there’s no longer an assumption among applicants that a two-year B-school sojourn will necessarily end well. B-school coverage used to be a quiet little backwater; it isn’t any more.
Is the idea to cover business schools like they are a business, or is it still looking at them like an academic institution?
At Bloomberg Businessweek, we’ve traditionally viewed business schools as academic institutions — our coverage is heavy on what it takes to win admission to top schools, land a job with a coveted employer, and the in-between part: the B-school experience itself. It’s all about the student. But that’s starting to change. We now publish stories on the endowments, fund-raising, tuition hikes, new buildings, and other “business” aspects of B-schools. We also write about what I think of as the intersection of business and B-school: developments involving MBA alumni out in the business world, for example.
Do business schools court coverage like some companies, and what do they try to do to get stories written about them?
The extent to which some business schools court coverage would put a lot of top corporations to shame. I get pitched at least a dozen times a day. Every new program, every associate dean, every new faculty hire, every piece of research published — everything gets pitched, no matter how inconsequential. The main thing schools do to get stories written about them is facilitate interviews. If they’re pitching a story about first-year MBAs coming back from their summer internships with job offers, they’ll gladly line-up a half dozen interviews with students.
Where I think a lot of schools go wrong is refusing to supply information. This happens frequently when the information sought might put them in a negative light: starting salaries that are lower than last year’s, for example. Prospective students have a right to know that information, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent. Schools’ withholding it does them a disservice.
What are some of the issues or strategies in covering business schools that are unique to other types of business news coverage?
I believe there’s what I would call an “optimism bias” in what gets reported about business schools, which is more or less the opposite of every other kind of coverage I can think of , from book reviews to business coverage. The reason is the schools control the message.
I’ll give you a few examples.
When the business school accreditation agency, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, accredits a new school it issues a press release. When it strips a school of its accreditation or puts it on probation it refuses to release the information, and in fact doesn’t even have to supply it to the federal government. There’s an outfit called the MBA Career Services Council that creates standards for reporting MBA careers data — placement, salaries, that sort of thing. It audits schools every year, but it won’t release the results of the audits — so a school could be lying about its placement record, but nobody would ever know.
When the Graduate Management Admission Council recently reported testing volume, the press release mentioned the big increase in global and international testing volume but omitted its biggest market, the U.S., where testing volume was flat. As a result this kind of reporting bias, much of what gets written about business schools is overwhelmingly positive. That’s not going to change.
It forces media outlets like Bloomberg Businessweek to be creative. We now rely on our own surveys of students for some information we used to get from schools.
How do you try to keep the coverage fresh every year when the new rankings are released?
That’s a good question. With some of our other rankings (undergraduate business, part-time MBA, executive MBA) there’s a little more movement than you typically see in the full-time MBA rankings, especially at the top of the list. So keeping the coverage fresh, especially for the full-time MBA ranking, is a challenge. It helps that a lot of our ranking stories aren’t your typical “horse race” stories, focusing on who moved up and who slipped down. They’re broad thematic stories about the current state of the MBA.
So if it’s a year when the MBA job market is down, the story might be a look at the reasons behind it, what schools are doing about it, how graduates are coping, and the outlook for recruiting season; if it’s a year when all the top B-schools overhauled their curricula, the story might take a look at that.
by Chris Roush
The business media use Twitter as a promotional tool and are not building an online community, according to research presented Friday by two Virginia Commonwealth University professors.
Vivian Medina-Messner and Marcus Messner found that the top business media outlets need to use Twitter as an online social network, not just another publication platform. “More attention needs to be paid to community building — use of hashtags, handles, retweets,” the wrote.
Their research was presented Friday at the 11th annual “Convergence and Society” conference at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. The conference, which is organized by the USC College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, this year is focused on business journalism.
The professors studied tweets, retweets, headline tweets, Twitter handle use, hashtag and link use by media and frequency of retweets by audience for nine major business media outlets between July and September. The business media outlets were the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times business section, CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg, Fortune, Businessweek and The Economist.
Of those media Twitter accounts, The Economist has the most followers with more than 2.3 million, while Fox Business has the least with 105,000. However, Bloomberg News uses Twitter the most, while Fox Business uses it the least.
However, nearly 45 percent of all business media tweets are simply headlines, and 99.8 percent simply link to internal links. Only one out of every six business media tweet uses a hashtag, and only one out of every eight is a retweet.
Fortune magazine retweets (one-third of all of its tweets during the study time) the most, while The Economist does no retweeting. Fox Business Network uses hashtags the most, with more than half of its tweets having hashtags. It also tweets headlines the least of all of the business media.
On average, readers of The Economist Twitter feed retweet the most, or about 126 retweets per tweet, while followers of The Wall Street Journal Twitter feed retweet the least, with an average of 3.6 retweets per tweet.
Medina-Messner and Messner suggest that in-depth interviews with social media editors and reporters at business media could help better understand why some business news organizations use Twitter more than others.
by Chris Roush
Peter Coy, the economics editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, has applied for the upcoming open position of governor of Bank of England, at the request of magazine editor Josh Tyrangiel.
Coy writes, “I got to my desk this morning and found a ripped-out want ad from Her Majesty’s Treasury notifying job-seekers that ‘the position of Governor of the Bank of England will fall vacant when Sir Mervyn King retires in 2013.’ On the ad was a yellow Post-it note saying,
you apply …
“How flattering! Well, it’s not like Mervyn King has done such a great job. He kicked off the financial crisis by letting Northern Rock suffer a bank run in 2007, and the scandalous misreporting of Libor occurred under his nose. Maybe, just maybe, I could land this job and be done with the dirty work of journalism forever. (Or maybe Josh was subtly hinting that it was time for me to move on. Still not sure.)
“Anyway, so began two hours at the intersection of central banking and journalistic stuntsmanship, in five chapters.
“CHAPTER ONE: I DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION
“I follow the link listed in the ad, which appears in the Economist, about which the less said the better. The position is buried under 10 other listings, after an opening for an independent claims examiner in Liverpool for the Department of Work and Pensions. Not to be a snob, but doesn’t such an important position deserve more prominent placement? Then I notice that the closing date for the posting is listed as 08/10/2012. Are they trying to throw American applicants off the trail by making them think the opening expired Aug. 10, when it’s really open until Oct. 8? It’ll take more than an obscure listing and an anti-American date format to shake me off.”
Read more here.