Tag Archives: BusinessWeek
I am in New York today with some of my “Business Reporting” students. We visited BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal’s online operations, and the Bear Stearns trading floor.
While at BusinessWeek, I learned that longtime chief of correspondents Jim Ellis has a new job. He is now the Ideas and Opinions Editor, which means he oversees all of the columns in the magazine.
The new chief of correspondents is Joe Weber, who has been the Chicago bureau chief. Weber will remain in the Chicago bureau.
Ellis was a temporary editor of the editorial page for the past seven months, so the change is nothing new for him. He had been chief of correspondents for more than a decade.
The American Society of Magazine Editors announced the finalists for the National Magazine Awards, considered the Pulitzer Prizes for the mag industry, and named a number of business magazines for potential prizes.
Here are the biz glossies up for awards:
1. Harvard Business Review is a finalist in the general excellence category for magazines with a subscription base between 100,000 and 250,000 for its March, September and December issues;
2. Fortune is a finalist in general excellence for magazines between 1 million and 2 million subscriptions for its Sept. 19, Oct. 17 and Nov. 28 issues;
3. Wired magazine is a finalist in the general excellence category for magazines with circulation between 500,000 and 1 million for its July, November and December issues.
4. Inc. magazine is a finalist in the columns and commentary category for Street Smarts, by Norm Brodsky, right, “Subcontracting Made Easy,” February; “Why the Union Canâ€™t Win,” March; “Let the (Political) Games Begin,” June;
5. CNET.com is a finalist for the online magazine category.
BusinessWeek, which under editor Steve Shepard was annually a finalist in a category if not for general excellence, did not receive any nominations.
Review all of the finalists here.
Former BusinessWeek reporter and author Gary Weiss has an interesting couple of posts on his blog about Overstock.com President Patrick Byrne and his use of the Internet to post potentially market-moving information and wonders where such actions stand in relation to Regulation Fair Disclosure, which requires public companies to disclose information to all interested parties at the same time.
What this typically means for companies is that they file a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission disclosing the information.
Weiss writes, “Is it kosher under Regulation FD for a CEO to communicate potentially market-moving news in this fashion? Should the propriety of Byrne’s actions be explored by regulators?
“I certainly don’t have an answer to the first question, but I think the second question is a hearty ‘yes.’ (And by the way, I hope he gets a clean bill of health. I think clearly worded press releases are passe’. Give me a cryptic comment on the Internet any day!)
“Still waiting for that big news, by the way.
“P.S. At least two dozen regulatory people read this blog, judging from the email addresses on the mailing list. Come on, guys! Pitch in with some thoughts on this subject. Anonymous comments are OK, but keep ‘em clean, please.”
Read Weiss here.
Bloomberg Markets magazine was ranked among the top five business publications among investment professionals globally, according to the latest Erdos & Morgan Professional Investment Community Study of 2005-2006. For the first time, the monthly Bloomberg Markets magazine out-delivered Institutional Investor with an average issue audience of 34.1 percent of all investment professionals worldwide, a 10 percent increase from the 2004 survey results.
In overall rankings including all publications measured in the study, Bloomberg Markets magazine ranked fifth in delivering this professional investment community audience, behind only The Wall Street Journal (42.7%), The Economist (41.4%), Financial Times (37%) and BusinessWeek (35%).
The biennial survey, conducted by Erdos & Morgan, a full-service market research firm, is an independent barometer of investment community attitudes and opinions. Officially known as the “2005-2006 Erdos & Morgan Worldwide Professional Investment Community Study,” this survey was first conducted in 1987.
Read the release here.
BusinessWeek announced new leadership for its international editorial staff as it launched Web sites for Europe and Asia. The changes are the first phase in a rollout later this year of customized Web sites for both regions.
â€œOur international editorial team has a crucial role to play in leading BusinessWeek into a new era in global coverage, one that involves producing the best business journalism in the world and delivering it over multiple channels, including our global print edition, local language print editions, and the robust new online editions we are creating for Europe and Asia,â€? says Stephen J. Adler, editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek, in a release.
The Europe and Asia Web sites will spotlight news stories, product reviews and well-known columnists. The Asia site puts an emphasis on coverage of investing, innovation and technology, including a blog called New Technologies in Asia. Another unique component is the special focus on China and India. The Europe site includes top stories from the region as well as an investing sub-channel with Standard & Poorâ€™s Europe, and tech product reviews developed with CNETâ€”an extension of BusinessWeekâ€™s successful relationship with CNET in the U.S. market.
Editorial appointments are:
Christopher Power, Assistant Managing Editor, International. Based in New York, Power is responsible for overseeing international coverage in BusinessWeekâ€™s global print edition, managing and collaborating with both print and online editors. He joined BusinessWeek in 1986 as a staff editor and served most recently as international deputy managing editor. He will report to John Byrne, executive editor of BusinessWeek.
Brian Bremner, International Editor-Asia, BusinessWeek Online. Based in Hong Kong, Bremner will direct editorial coverage in Asia for BusinessWeek Online. He will also continue in his position as regional editor for BusinessWeekâ€™s global print edition, a position he has held since 2003. He will coordinate Asia coverage between print and online with special attention to India, China, Japan, and Korea. Bremner joined BusinessWeek in 1988 as a correspondent in the Chicago bureau, later serving as a correspondent in Tokyo. He will report to Chris Power and Kathy Rebello, executive editor of BusinessWeek Online.
Andy Reinhardt, International Editor-Europe, BusinessWeek Online. Based in Paris, Reinhardt is in charge of editorial coverage in Europe for BusinessWeek Online and will also work closely with the print staff to ensure delivery of the highest quality business news coverage. He came to BusinessWeek in 1996 as a Silicon Valley correspondent and became deputy bureau chief there in 1999, later serving as a correspondent in the Paris bureau. He was previously an executive editor for PC World. He will report to Kathy Rebello.
Harry Jaffe, the national editor of the Washingtonian, notes that Bloomberg is expanding its operations in its Washington, D.C., bureau to increase its presence in the political coverage arena.
Jaffe writes, “Bloomberg News reporter Michael Forsythe wrote a solid investigative story Friday, pointing out that campaign contributions are pouring in to members of Congress, such as Tom DeLay and Bob Ney, who have been linked to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. And Heidi Przybyla wrote a great story about George Bushâ€™s poll numbers.
“Trouble is, few in Washington could read the stories.
“Bloomberg pieces good enough to make page one of the Washington Post evaporate in cyberspace after a short life on Bloomberg.com.
“If you are one of the 186,000 subscribers with a Bloomberg-issued terminalâ€”mostly business and investor typesâ€”you might have read them. And if you are one of the 900 or so Washington heavy hitters who receive free, daily e-mailed lists of Bloombergâ€™s stories, you had a chance to read the stories.
“‘Itâ€™s the invisible empire,’ U.S. News executive editor Brian Kelly says of Bloomberg.
“But the way [Al] Hunt sees it, the empire is about to bust out in a visible way, especially in Washington.
“‘A lot of news organizations are cutting back in Washington bureaus,’ says Hunt. ‘Weâ€™re going to be increasing our coverage.’
Jaffe also notes that Hunt, who joined Bloomberg in January 2005 as Washington managing editor, has hired Rich Miller from BusinessWeek and Matt Benjamin from U.S. News.
Read the article here.
Yvette Kantrow, the executive editor of TheDeal.com, has an incisive piece about how the recent spat of leveraged buyouts is being covered in the business media. Her conclusion is that business journalist come off as being confused about what’s going on and seem to have forgotten the lessons learned in the 1980s covering LBOs.
Kantrow writes: “The media seems to have emerged, well, confused. Witness three recent stories in the big three business glossies: Forbes, Fortune and BusinessWeek. In the past few weeks, each has offered its own take on the buyout boom while reaching divergent conclusions.
“The weirdest and most-wrongheaded of the bunch is Forbes, which takes on private equity in a March 13 cover story. ‘Buyout Bubble,’ the mag’s cover shouts, adding, ‘The mad rush into private equity â€” is your retirement at risk’? The ominous tone continues inside, where its designed-to-scare story is headlined ‘Private Inequity.’ Its over-the-top subhead: ‘Driven by greed and fearlessness, private equity firms are the new power on Wall Street. Investors beware: A reckoning is nigh.’”
Kantrow calls Forbes’ coverage “deeply flawed.” As for Fortune’s article, she notes that things “aren’t quite as rosy in private equity land as Fortune suggests.” BusinessWeek’s piece is “confused” and “simplistic” and turns CEOs into celebrities once again.
“And we thought the age of the celebrity CEO was over,” ends Kantrow.
Read her column here.
CNBC commentator Charles Gasparino, who is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, wrote a commentary for Newsweek magazine on the recent actions of the SEC to subpoena business reporters as part of its investigation into an investment firm. Publicly, the SEC has backed off enforcing the subpoenas.
Gasparino, however, concludes that is not the case from talking to sources within the SEC about the public back-tracking from Chairman Christopher Cox on Monday.
Gasparino writes: “Cox didn’t rule out ever calling reporters in as witnesses, and putting them through the paces that other SEC subjects are put through, meaning they must not only answer questions, but also hand over documents, e-mails and possibly most damning for any journalistâ€”their sources. In fact, my own sources at the SEC tell me that [Marketwatch columnist Herb] Greenberg and the other journalists involved in the Overstock.com story may still be called in to testify about the case. Cox, they say, wants the testimony of journalists to be taken only rarely, and only as a last resort.”
“To be honest, I am not all that comforted by Cox’s go-slow approach. In public, Cox appeared to rebuke Thomsen’s decision to subpoena journalists, but my sources at the commission say he acted much differently privately. One said he called both Thomsen, and the SEC officials leading the Overstock investigation in the commission’s San Francisco bureau and gave them his ‘unflinching’ support. Cox, these people say, wasn’t so much concerned about sending subpoenas to journalists, rather, he didn’t like the public perception that the SEC was somehow trying to curtail the free flow of information about stocks, something it has vigorously defended in the past. In other words, under certain circumstances, Cox might not have a problem hauling a bunch of journalists down to SEC headquarters and having them answer questions and possibly hand over their sources.”
Later, he concludes: “SEC may be on firmer ground than we journalists may think. Remember last summer when The New York Times’ Judith Miller was thrown in jail for not revealing her sources in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case? Public opinion wasn’t on the side of Miller as she languished in jail before finally announcing that her source had given her permission to reveal his name before walking free. And I bet, if Linda Thomsen and the SEC chose to pursue journalists in the Overstock case, public opinion would come out the same way.”
Read Gasparino’s column here.
Former BusinessWeek writer Gary Weiss comments about Gasparino on his blog. He writes: “But with whom are the subpoeanaed journalists (Herb Greenberg, Carol Remond and Jim Cramer) ‘consorting’? ‘Malefactors’? Or stock analysts dedicated to rooting out overvalued and manipulated companies? What’s out of kilter here is that the SEC is investigating people who are indeed on the same side as the agency– that is, on the occasions when it deigns to pursue stock fraud.
“Meanwhile, the bad guys — the stock touters promoting the fictitious ‘stock counterfeiting conspiracy’ — are the ones cheering on the feds.
“This is not the first time that the anti-shorting crowd has screamed ‘stock manipulation’ and tried to push the feds into engaging in a wild goose chase. A good example came in the mid-1990s, and involved a company called Solv-Ex that also blamed shorts for its crummy stock performance. The company’s top officials pressed hard for SEC action.”
The New York Times’ Joe Nocera wrote a column this weekend about the efforts of Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne to discredit financial journalists who write negatively about his company or who question the “naked short-selling conspirary” that he has espoused for the past year. Nocera’s column is part of Times Select, so I haven’t posted about it until now since it is appearing in other newspapers and can be read for free.
Some background: Earlier this year, Byrne responded to interview questions from BusinessWeek’s Timothy Mullaney and the New York Post’s Roddy Boyd by posting his answers on an Internet site. Byrne took this tactic to circumvent what he thought were going to be negative storis written by journalists being fed a story line by short sellers. In fact, Byrne has sued the alleged short-selling firm.
Then comes this week, and one of the business journalists — the Marketwatch’s Herb Greenberg — is subpoenaed by the SEC, along with Dow Jones reporter Carol Remond, looking into Byrne’s allegations against the short sellers. According to Nocera’s column, Byrne has knowledge of the subpoenas and sends some strange — and menacing — e-mails to Greenberg. One of them read: “”As I take a sip, ‘I find myself curious: do you guys know? Are you sitting somewhere, blithely oblivious, still chuckling about Whacky Patty, and all that? Or do you understand now that this is going to end badly for you?”
Nocera’s analysis: “This is what Bryne does: along with O’Brien, he bullies and taunts and goads the small handful of reporters who dare to write about Overstock, making it clear that there will be a price to be paid for tackling the company or its chief executive. And as a result, financial reporters have become very chary of taking him on.”
I am sorry to say that I missed Byrne’s appearance earlier today on CNBC’s Kudlow & Co. But apparently he called Greenberg, one of the most respected business journalists in the field, a “crooked reporter.” That’s at least what former BusinessWeek reporter Gary Weiss, an acquaintance of Greenberg’s is stating on his blog.
Greenberg replied on Jim Cramer’s Mad Money show, saying that Byrne had libeled and slandered him. “I’m proud of what I do,” said Greenberg. “The SEC and I, we’re kind of doing the same thing. What I do for a living is help people avoid getting taken advantage of.” At the end of the segment, Cramer said to him: “Listen buddy, you’re not corrupt.”
I don’t expect this to be the last we’ve heard of this.
When Byrne posted his interviews on the Internet, I took it as a case of the changing relationship between business journalists and sources with the Web coming into play. But to go onto cable television and call a journalist “crooked” smacks of vindictiveness and a thin skin. I can see now why a lot of people think that Byrne is strange.
SEC Chairman Christopher Cox issued the following statement in response to media reports over the weekend that the agency had “ordered columnists at two Dow Jones publications to provide information about conversations that they had with stock traders and analysts”:
“The issuance of a subpoena to a journalist which seeks to compel production of his or her notes and records of conversations with sources is highly unusual. Until the appearance of media reports this weekend, neither the Chairman of the SEC, the General Counsel, the Office of Public Affairs, nor any Commissioner was apprised of or consulted in connection with a decision to take such an extraordinary step. The sensitive issues that such a subpoena raises are of sufficient importance that they should, and will be, considered and decided by the Commission before this matter proceeds further.”
In other words, the career SEC employees did something that made the politicians running the agency look bad, and now they’re getting their knuckles rapped by the school marm.
Former BusinessWeek reporter Gary Weiss said pretty much the same thing on his blog: “I have to admit, I am having a bit of trouble understanding how nobody in authority, not even the spokesman’s office, knew what was going on until the weekend when the SEC’s top spokesman was saying things like that on Friday.”