Tag Archives: BusinessWeek
by Chris Roush
Kyle Stock, who had worked at The Daily tabloid paper for News Corp. before it shut down at the end of last year, has been hired as a senior correspondent at Bloomberg Businessweek.
He will be writing about the news and strategies of major corporations. Monday will be his first day.
While at The Daily, Stock led business coverage with a focus on economics, consumer brands and the convergence of the tech industry and Wall Street. He also developed, built and analyzed data to generate the type of interactive graphic elements possible on tablet computers.
Before that, he worked at The Wall Street Journal for 2 1/2 years and at the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., for five years.
At The Journal, he covered the labor market of the finance industry with a focus on hiring, layoffs and compensation and wrote weekly installments for The Wall Street Journal Careers section and Deal Journal blog.
Stock is a graduate of Colorado College and has a master’s in journalism from Northwestern and an MBA from Columbia.
by Chris Roush
Longtime Businessweek.com editor Dan Beucke, who for the last several years worked on the website, is leaving the magazine to become deputy business editor of the Orange County Register.
Beucke was named Businessweek.com news director in December 2007. Prior to that he was the senior editor for technology at Bloomberg Businessweek, responsible for editing the magazine’s stories on computers, software, and the Internet.
Previously, he was editor of the UpFront section and a deputy editor responsible for editing a variety of stories on companies, corporate governance, strategies, marketing, and business people.
Beucke came to Bloomberg Businessweek from Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, in December, 1997, as an associate editor.
Previous to that, he was business editor of New York Newsday. He also has worked as an editor and reporter for the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, the Denver Post and the Orange County (Calif.) Register, and has taught editing and other journalism subjects at Columbia University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Beucke holds BAs in economics and communications from the California State Universities at San Jose and Fullerton.
by Liz Hester
Bloomberg Businessweek was out Thursday with an excellent profile of Disney and the acquisition of Lucasfilm and Star Wars. The big takeaway for nerds everywhere is that key members of the original cast are likely to return (maybe):
Here’s creator George Lucas’s slip up:
Asked whether members of the original Star Wars cast will appear in Episode VIIand if he called them before the deal closed to keep them informed, Lucas says, “We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ ” He pauses. “Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them.” Then he adds: “I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not.”
Besides the revelation, business reporters should take note of the profile. It’s a well-written analysis of the deal and Disney’s recent success at acquiring iconic businesses and integrating them. The lead anecdote chronicled talks between Lucas and Disney CEO Robert Iger. Here’s Iger’s strategy in a nutshell:
The clandestine talks eventually led to the announcement last October that Disney would pay $4 billion for Lucasfilm, thus putting the Star Wars heroes and villains into the same trove of iconic characters as Iron Man, Buzz Lightyear, and Mickey Mouse. Disney sent excitable Star Wars fans into a frenzy by unveiling a plan to release the long-promised final trilogy starting in 2015. Their enthusiasm reached a crescendo in January when J.J. Abrams, director of the acclaimed 2009 rebooting ofStar Trek, signed on to oversee the first film. “It’s like a dream come true,” gushes Jason Swank, co-host of RebelForce Radio, a weekly podcast.
The deal fit perfectly into Iger’s plan for Disney. He wants to secure the company’s creative and competitive future at a time when consumers are inundated with choices, thanks to a proliferation of cable television networks and the ubiquity of the Internet. “It’s a less forgiving world than it’s ever been,” he says. “Things have to be really great to do well.” Part of Iger’s strategy is to acquire companies that could be described as mini-Disneys such as Pixar and Marvel—reservoirs of franchise-worthy characters that can drive all of Disney’s businesses, from movies and television shows to theme parks, toys, and beyond. Lucas’s needs were more emotional. At 68, he was ready to retire and escape from the imaginary world he created—but he didn’t want anybody to desecrate it.
And it’s Iger’s vision of keeping other acquisitions intact, but expanding their characters and other intellectual property within Disney’s empire that have made him such a success at the helm of Disney.
Iger, however, proved to have a very clear vision. He understood that Disney’s success rested on developing enduring characters. This was a strategy Walt Disney pioneered with Mickey Mouse and Grimm’s Fairy Tales heroines Snow White and Cinderella. More recently, Disney translated The Lion King, a hit animated movie, into a long-running Broadway show. Pirates of the Caribbean, a theme park ride, became a movie series and drove sales of related books and video games.
Iger accelerated that process by making acquisitions. The first was the $7.4 billion purchase of Pixar Animation Studios in 2006. Iger personally negotiated the deal with Steve Jobs, who was then Pixar’s CEO. As part of the deal, Iger kept the creative team, led by John Lasseter, in place and allowed them to continue to operate with a minimum of interference in their headquarters near San Francisco. “Steve and I spent more time negotiating the social issues than we did the economic issues,” Iger says. “He thought maintaining the culture of Pixar was a major ingredient of their creative success. He was right.”
The transaction gave Disney a new source of hit movies. Jobs also became a Disney board member and its largest shareholder. Periodically he would call Iger to say, “Hey, Bob, I saw the movie you just released last night, and it sucked,” Iger recalls. Nevertheless, the Disney CEO says that having Jobs as a friend and adviser was “additive rather than the other way around.”
In 2009, Iger negotiated a similar deal for Disney to buy Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. Once again, Iger kept the leadership intact: Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter and Marvel studio chief Kevin Feige. He thought Disney would profit from their deep knowledge of the superhero movie genre. While the Marvel acquisition didn’t involve a celebrity like Jobs or Lucas, it’s paid off handsomely. Last year, Disney releasedThe Avengers, the first Marvel film it distributed and marketed. The movie grossed $1.5 billion globally, making it the third-most lucrative movie in history. “It was successful beyond belief,” says Jessica Reif Cohen, a media analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC).
The piece is an interesting read full of great stories and details. It’s a great example of a company profile pegged to the latest industry news. Kudos.
by Chris Roush
Dylan Byers of Politico is reporting that Bloomberg Businessweek has apologized for a cover on the real estate market that some deemed racist.
Byers writes, “‘Our cover illustration last week got strong reactions, which we regret,’ Josh Tyrangiel, the magazine’s editor, wrote in a statement sent to POLITICO. ‘Our intention was not to incite or offend. If we had to do it over again we’d do it differently.’
“The cover depicted minorities in a house, drowning in cash. The headline: ‘The Great American Housing Rebound: Flips. No-look bids. 300 percent returns. What could possibly go wrong?’
“Slate blogger Matthew Yglesias, who otherwise praised Businessweek as ‘a genuinely great magazine,’ described it as ‘racist.’
“‘The idea is that we can know things are really getting out of hand since even nonwhite people can get loans these days! They ought to be ashamed,’ Yglesias wrote on his blog.
“The Atlantic’s Emily Badger wrote, ‘[W]e still can’t decide what’s most offensive about it: the caricature of the busty, sassy Latina, the barefooted black man waving cash out his window, that woman in the upstairs left-hand corner who looks about as dim-witted as her dog?’”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Chittum writes, “The cover stands out for its cast of black and Hispanic caricatures with exaggerated features reminiscent of early 20th century race cartoons. Also, because there are only people of color in it, grabbing greedily for cash. It’s hard to imagine how this one made it through the editorial process.
“Compounding the first-glance problem with the image is the fact that race has been a key backdrop to the subprime crisis.
“It’s a narrative that has, not coincidentally, dovetailed with ‘Obamaphone’ baloney, the ACORN pseudo-scandal, and Southern politicians calling the first black president ‘food-stamp president,’ and is meant to take the focus off the ultimate culprits: mortgage lenders with no scruples and the Wall Street banks who financed them.
“In fact, though, the record is clear: minorities were disproportionately targeted by predatory lending, which has always gone hand in hand with subprime. Even when they qualified for prime loans that similar-circumstance whites got, they were pushed into higher-interest subprimes.
“In other words, minority borrowers were disproportionately victimized in the bubble. But BusinessWeek here has them on the cover bathing in housing-ATM cash, implying that they’re going to create another bubble.”
Read more here.
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.