Tag Archives: BusinessWeek

McGraw-Hill CEO saw bonus increase in 2005

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McGraw-Hill CEO Harold McGraw saw his bonus increase by about $63,000 in 2005, according to a Dow Jones story about the company’s proxy statement. McGraw-Hill is the parent company of BusinessWeek magazine, which late last year shuttered its Asian and European editions and laid off a number of employees.

Harold McGrawThe Dow Jones story reported, “According to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the executive also realized $17.8 million in value from the exercise of stock options to acquire 946,000 shares in 2005.

“McGraw also received a salary of $1.17 million in 2005, up from $1.12 million in 2004.

“For 2005, the CEO also got 1.07 million securities underlying options, up from 728,630 he got for the previous year.”

Read the story here.

I briefly scanned the proxy this morning. I didn’t find anything that interesting other than what was mentioned in the Dow wire story.

Betting on the next editor of The Economist

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Apparently a booking agent in London had been taking bets on who would be the next editor of The Economist magazine, but the bookie shut down the business after receiving a large number of bets on a certain internal candidate.

The London Times reports, “SOMEONE at The Economist knows something we don’t. Paddy Power, the bookmaker, has been offering odds on the new editor, to replace the departing Bill Emmott. Several punters this week started to put large sums ranging up to £500 on Ed Carr, the business and financial editor, at 6-1.

“The bookie yesterday suspended all bets, after even more tried to open accounts. Any of them e-mails with “theeconomist” somewhere in the address? ‘We haven’t seen anything quite that unsubtle. They’re more intelligent at The Economist. Mind you, when we ran a book on the editor of The [Daily] Mirror . . .’”

Earlier, the Press-Gazette in London had reported, “Journalists with the inside track on who is to succeed Bill Emmott as editor of The Economist could cash-in at the bookies.

John Mickelthwait“Paddy Power has offered odds on what it sees as the ten front-runners. It has Economist US editor John Micklethwait as even-money favourite followed by the million-selling mag’s UK editor Emma Duncan.

Emma Duncan“The runners are: even-money Micklethwait, 6/4 Emma Duncan, 6/1 Matthew Bishop, 7/1 Ed Carr, 8/1 Gideon Rachman, 10/1 Christopher Lockwood, 16/1 Clive Crook, 100/1 Boris Johnson.”

Betting on whether a business journalist will get a job. Now, that’s a new concept. I wonder if we can convince a Vegas casino to start accepting bets on who will replace Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger?

I also think it’s be very cool if the general public could place bets on other business journalism concepts, like how soon will it be before new Fed chief Ben Bernanke appears on the cover of BusinessWeek, Fortune or Forbes? I am setting the over/under on that one at four months.

Magazine covers as investment tools

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Barry Ritholtz, who is president of a money manager in New York and writes a blog called “The Big Picture,” has an interesting comment today about using the covers of major magazines as indicators of how to invest.

Ritholtz notes that there are 56 covers of major magazines with Apple’s Steve Jobs on the front. Writes Ritholtz, “So the key question for afficianados of the magazine cover indicator is simply this: Which cover was your sell signal?

“The collage above shows why the cover indicator is not really applicable to single companies . . . ”

Ritholtz argues that the magazine cover indicator is more applicable for trends, such as the stock market, or the boom in industries like the Internet or nano-technology. He states, “In my experience, the Cover Indicator is useful for determining when large social phenomena are reaching an emotional crescendo. Oftentimes, emotions take over at the extremes, as things become either giddy or bleak.”

The Death of EquitiesI’ve got to agree with him. Business magazines are notoriously bad when it comes to predicting trends, especially in the stock market. I recently came across a stock chart from Ned Davis Research that superimposed famous magazine covers with the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

To give you a sample of how bad the predictions have been, here are a few examples:

1. BusinessWeek’s Nov. 2, 1968 cover called “The Boom that Just Won’t Stop” came out when the Dow was at 975. By the middle of 1970, the Dow was at 660.

2. The Barron’s dated Jan. 8, 1973 had the headline “1,200 on the Dow” when the index was at 1020. By the end of 1974, the Dow had dropped to below 600.

3. Then there is BusinessWeek’s infamous Aug. 13, 1979 cover called “The Death of Equities,” which came out when the Dow was at about 800. We all know what happened to the Dow in the next two decades.

Dow 36,0004. The Fortune magazine dated Oct. 26, 1987 had the headline “Why Greenspan is bullish” and came out just days before the crash that lopped 25 percent off the market in one day.

5. After the crash, U.S. News & World Report’s Nov. 9, 1987 cover was titled “How to Ride out the Bull Market.” The Dow was at 2,000, and would rise to 11,000 in the next 14 years.

6. BusinessWeek’s Dec. 24, 1990 cover title was “The New Face of Recession.” The country was about to enter the longest time period of economic prosperity it has ever seen.

The point here is that the business media have been incredibly bad in predicting the economy and the stock market. There are lots of investors out there who look at covers such as these and do the opposite with their money.

Thoughts from New York

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As mentioned earlier, I took a group of students in my “Business Reporting” class to New York during Spring Break last week and met with people from the business journalism world. Here are some of the things that the students heard and saw that I thought were most important:

1. At BusinessWeek, they met a relatively young Roben Farzad, who is the magazine’s Wall Street editor and has been with the magazine less than a year. Roben has worked on Wall Street and recently completed an MBA. The question the students were asking afterward was whether the MBA was standard for biz journalists today. I don’t think it is, but I do see it becoming more common. In addition, they got to here from another writer, Arlene Weintraub, how she put together her March 20 cover story on the $56 billion anti-aging industry.

2. At WSJ.com, the online operations of the Wall Street Journal, editor Kate Schlegel and writer Worth Civils explained to them how the online operations differs from the print side in that it is increasingly offering readers the opportunity to massage statistics online to fit their needs. One nifty item we were shown was how you could click and add — or takeaway — specific retailers to look at same-store sales for certain categories over a specific period of time.

3. Although these weren’t business journalism specific visits, I think it was important for the students to see the Bear Stearns trading floor, which we visited on Thursday, and the opening of the New York Stock Exchange, which we saw Friday morning. There was a PR person from the NYSE there who was able to tell them about their media operations, and they were able to see CNBC’s Bob Pisani do his morning report from the exchange. In addition, we saw where CNN did its market reports, and the locations for Bloomberg radio and Marketwatch. A number of media outlets have small offices at the exchange.

4. In contrast to some of the huge biz media operations we visited, the students got to see tiny MarketNews International, which follows the bond and fixed income market and has about 75 reporters overseen by managing editor Tony Mace. He explained how their news operations attempts to fit a niche that others in the business are avoiding. For example, MarketNews is well known among traders for its coverage of the Treasuries market and of international banks such as the European Central Bank.

5. A visit to Bloomberg’s new digs on Lexington Avenue was simply overwhelming for the students. The interior is quite impressive, and the free snacks and drinks were enticing. The students got to see the main newsroom on the fifth floor, as well as one of the few curved escalators. They talked briefly to New York bureau chief Frederic Wiegold, who joined the operation a couple of years ago from the Wall Street Journal, and met with a current intern from the Northwestern program, Elizabeth Hester, who has been writing IPO stories.

6. Lastly, the students had a beer with the Wall Street Journal’s Dennis Berman, who covers M&A for the paper and had the most bylines in the Journal last year. Berman, who had broken his hand the night before playing basketball, was constantly checking his Blackberry and his cell phone, and I made it a point to ask him about working on the weekends in front of the students since that is when most M&A stories break.

Conclusion: It’s good for students interested in a career in business journalism to see it living and breathing in the epicenter of business news. They got a lot of different perspectives and ideas about what it’s like to be a business journalist.

BusinessWeek changes

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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.

Biz magazines nominated for awards

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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:

Norm Brodsky1. 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 Can’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.

CEOs posting on the Internet and Reg FD

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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 outperforms Institutional Investor

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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.

Bloomberg MarketsIn 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 announces new international editorial managers

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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.

In December, BusinessWeek restructured its international operations, which led to a number of layoffs. The restructuring was due to the closure of the print editions for Asia and Europe.

BusinessWeek“Our 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,� 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 & Poor’s Europe, and tech product reviews developed with CNET—an extension of BusinessWeek’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 BusinessWeek’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 BusinessWeek’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.

Bloomberg increasing presence in Washington

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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 Bush’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.

Al Hunt“If you are one of the 186,000 subscribers with a Bloomberg-issued terminal—mostly business and investor types—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 Bloomberg’s stories, you had a chance to read the stories.

“‘It’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. ‘We’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.