Tag Archives: Crain’s publications

Rance Crain

Rance Crain’s views on the world of biz journalism


Rance Crain is president and editorial director of Crain Communications Inc., which publishes nearly 30 local weekly business newspapers and trade papers.

Crain’s career began as a reporter for Advertising Age in its Washington bureau and later moved to the publication’s New York and Chicago offices. He continues to lead Advertising Age as editor-in-chief and writes a bi-weekly column for the publication.

Crain was named senior editor of Advertising Age in 1965 and he was appointed first editor of Business Insurance in 1967 and editorial director of Crain Communications in 1971. He added the title of company president in 1973.

Crain founded four of the company’s titles — Pensions & Investments, Crain’s Chicago Business, Crain’s New York Business and Electronic Media (now published as tvweek.com).

A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and former sports editor of The Daily Northwestern (1960), Crain is a charter member of Medill’s Hall of Achievement and a proud recipient of the 1992 Northwestern University Merit Award. He is a member of the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame and was the recipient of Kodak’s Print Ambassador Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2009 Missouri School of Journalism Medal of Honor.

Crain ChicagoCrain Communications publishes weekly business newspapers in Chicago, New York, Detroit and Cleveland. The company’s trade papers include Electronic Media, Plastics News and Pensions & Investments, and it has acquired Modern Healthcare, AutoWeek and RCR, serving the wireless communications industry.

Crain spoke by email this past week with Talking Biz News about the current state and future of business journalism. What follows is an edited transcript.

How has business journalism changed since your father started in the business?

When my father started Advertising Age in 1930, nobody was covering the advertising business, so almost all the stories we published were fresh news. Today, everybody covers advertising and so we need to explain the significance of important developments, such as the Publicis-Omnicom mega-merger and at the same time provide new details around the clock.

What about since you started in the business?

When I started as a reporter for Ad Age in Washington, covering such events as the Kefauver drug hearings, advertising was beginning to come under fire from consumer groups. So our job was to tell our readers what the industry reaction was to consumer group demands making headlines in the dailies–and urging advertisers to clean up their act.

What do you see as the role of business journalism publications in society today?

Business journalism today is more important than ever. Business is increasingly complex, and readers need to know the implications of such phenomenon as social media on their particular industry. Big data and privacy issues touches all businesses.

What’s the biggest issue facing business journalism today in terms of attracting readers?

Attracting readers is not the problem. The Ad Age website attracts close to 1 million readers, far surpassing our print edition. Our challenge is to continue to make our print products relevant, and that correlates to how readers in our various industries we report on depend on the Internet. In the advertising world it’s very advanced, whereas auto dealers are not as dependent.

Metro dailies cut back business news coverage in the past decade. What did you think of that move?

It’s a great opportunity for our city business publications.

Do you see the Crian’s papers in Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and New York competing for business news against the dailies?

We always have competed against the dailies for business news of local companies, and as the dailies cut back in other areas it allows us to broaden our coverage into some non-business areas.

What role does the Internet and other new media delivery systems play in business journalism?

The Internet is huge for us and allows us to compete against anybody, anytime. And with video, it gives us the equivalent of a TV station for free.

Do you think there will always be a print publication in business news? Why or why not?

I believe that print will endure because strong print publications provide the “halo” for all our other activities, such as conferences and custom publishing, and of course our websites.

In what area could business journalism most improve going forward?

We need to figure out how to make our print editions compelling and entertaining in a 24-7 news world. Great long-form stories and arresting graphics are part of the solution, as well as the ability to tie seemingly disparate events together.

Would Crain ever try to expand internationally again despite the closing of the Manchester paper?

We have a great opportunity to license our strongest publications to publishers around the world and to export our successful events, such as “Women to Watch,” to run in conjunction with our licensees.

What advice would you give today for someone interested in a career in business journalism?

It’s never been more exciting or challenging, and business journalists need to display a wide range of talents, from reporting the news, using tweets and blogs to advance the story, writing the print version on where things are going, and shooting a video on what it all means. If you want to have fun and do important things, business journalism is right in the middle of the action because it touches every part of our lives.


Crain’s tips for success in business journalism


Steve Jagler, the executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee, writes about the advice that Rance Crain, the president of Crain Communications and editor-in-chief of Advertising Age, Crain’s Chicago Business, Crain’s New York Business and TelevisionWeek, gave at the Alliance of Area Business Publications summer conference in Nashville.

Here is some of his advice, and how it affected, or could affect, his business news publications:

(7) Be opportunistic. Hearing a speech by a publisher in Houston inspired Crain to publish the Crain’s Chicago Business, which he said was a “game-changer” for his company.

(8) Be optimistic. “Don’t let a few naysayers throw cold water on a hot idea,” Crain said. Crain believes digital video production could provide a great platform for publishers. “It is my belief that video will be the best thing that came out of the Internet. I said a few years ago that it’s like we hit the jackpot and suddenly we’ve got the equivalent of a TV station for free,” Crain said. “I can see the day when we’ll have a Crain TV channel with videos from all our publications playing at specific times throughout the day and night.”

(9) Make your workplace a nice place to work. “And your good people will stay forever,” Crain said.

(10) Have fun. “What’s the point of all the hard work? And if you’re having fun, so will all your people, and what a great place to work that will be,” Crain said.

Read more here.


Biz reporter Stanley Cohen dies at 93


Stanley Cohen, the longtime Washington editor of Advertising Age, died earlier this month at the age of 93.

A story on the National Press Club website states, “An elevator ride away from the Club was Cohen’s Advertising Age office, where he was the Washington editor from 1943-1984. He retired as a corporate vice president of Crain Communications, the publisher of Advertising Age, in 1987.

“At Cohen’s Washington funeral, Rance Crain, the editor-in-chief of Advertising Age, praised Cohen for courageously advocating for truth in advertising. He said it influenced Crain’s attitude towards business journalism.

“Known as the dean of consumer journalism for his award-winning coverage of excessive or false advertising claims, Cohen’s articles and editorial columns resulted in the creation of an advertising-industry-sponsored review panel that self-regulated commercials, said Rick Gordon, who worked with Cohen for 10 years.

“‘Stan taught me lessons about thoroughness, about integrity, about perseverance and what high standards in journalism really are,’ Gordon said.”

Read more here.


Ad Age promotes two to deputy ME


Ad Age has promoted Michael Learmonth and Rupal Parekh to deputy managing editor roles.

A story on its website states, “Mr. Learmonth, who has led Ad Age’s digital coverage for the past three years, will direct editorial programming on Ad Age’s digital channels. He will continue to editorially direct the Ad Age Digital Conferences and other digital coverage. Ms. Parekh will be charged with building out Ad Age’s Creativity brand, working with the Creativity staff to elevate the importance of the subject in the broader marketing world. She will also continue to oversee Ad Age’s Agency News channel.”

Read more here.

Learmonth joined Advertising Age in 2008 after working at Alley Insider, Variety, Reuters and The Industry Standard.

Parekh joined the publication in 2007 after two years at another Crain’s publication, Business Insurance.



Sports biz reporter leaving for Cleveland Indians


Joel Hammond, who covers sports business for Crain’s Cleveland Business, is leaving the weekly business newspaper in a month for a job at the Cleveland Indians.

Hammond writes about the change, stating, “Why am I leaving? There’s no one answer, but at 30, the future looms large. Crain Communications is a healthy, debt-free company despite all the challenges facing print media, even in a niche like business publications. But there is uncertainty in the industry as a whole right now, with daily newspapers left and right, near and far cutting publication schedules and staff. More people than ever are consuming more media, but those getting paid to produce those media are getting paid less and less and facing uncertain futures.

“On the flip side, the unique and exciting opportunity to join a major-league club, with a tradition as rich as the Indians’, was what drew me to initial conversations with the team. I will be handling public relations, media relations and social media, with a dash of interacting with corporate partners and community relations folks and whatever else may arise; those duties obviously will broaden my professional experience and allow me to offer the team a unique perspective on some of its issues that perhaps officials there haven’t had in-house before. I’m excited to learn how the other side works and hopefully help the team re-connect with fans and other stakeholders along the way.

“Why am I telling you now? Because you’ll see a noticeable lack of Indians — and also baseball-related posts in this space, as you might expect; I don’t want to be accused of, or put the publication in a spot where it has to answer questions about, pumping up the team or casting it in a more favorable light. Conversely, I don’t want to be put in the position of criticizing my new employer; that’s bad business, as you all can understand.”

Read more here.


Crain’s New York moving to metered subscription plan


Crain’s New York Business will introduce a new metered subscription plan for its website, CrainsNewYork.com, beginning Dec. 10.

Under this new plan, CrainsNewYork.com will provide readers with access to all of its content, including original articles, blog posts, the complete weekly issue, our comprehensive lists of top New York businesses, original videos and a library of 10 years of Crain’s archives.

Crain’s has been charging for the weekly print issue online since 1991, but under this new metered plan, all site visitors will be able to read up to 10 Crain’s articles per month at no charge.

After site visitors read 10 articles, they will be asked to pay $57 for an annual digital subscription or $67 for a print/digital combo subscription. Current subscribers will see no change in their subscription plan.

The majority of users will see no change.

“We have enhanced the user experience of our website and instituted a current and fair subscription model that allows our editorial team to continue to provide high-quality journalism. It satisfies the heavy website user’s need for deeper Crain’s content while leaving lighter users’ access to the site unaffected,” said Jill Kaplan, vice president and publisher of Crain’s New York Business.

Read more here.

Ron Leuty

Crain’s paper, ACBJ paper place wager on World Series


Crain’s Detroit Business and the San Francisco Business Times have placed a small wager on the outcome of the World Series.

According to a story on the Crain’s Detroit site, “Native Michiganian and now Bay Area resident Ron Leuty, the biotech reporter for the Business Times, admits to being ‘conflicted.’ He loves his new adopted team, but still keeps Tigers gear in his pocket when he goes to a Giants game. But he’s ready to be a little competitive with us, he wrote in his blog on Wednesday in the Business Times.

Bill Shea, business of sports reporter for Crain’s Detroit Business, tweeted at the end of Wednesday’s game: ‘Will the #Tigers be among the 37% of teams to lose Game 1 of the #WorldSeries but come back to win it all?’

“We’re willing to bet on it.

“So we’re entering into this not-so-high-stakes wager with our business-publication brethren from the West Coast.

“The stakes? Each publication has chosen a charity — CATCH here in Detroit, the Junior Giants in San Francisco — and the losing team’s publication will donate $100 to the winning city’s charity. Publishers at both publications also have agreed, in the event of their team’s loss, to wear a jersey or hat from the winning team to a public event.”

Read more here.


Crain’s New York launching Insider blog


Crain’s New York Business stand-alone newsletter will no longer be delivered by email every morning. Instead, subscribers can now get the weekly business newspaper’s online content on a blog.

Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke of The New York Observer writes, “‘Crain’s Insider newsletter will be turned into an online blog that offers news on the business of politics during the day,’ Crain’s announced. Unlike the newsletter, which cost a separate fee, blog access will be included with a Crain’s subscription.

“If the format is reminiscent of City and State‘s old Notebook blog, well, the writing may be as well. Crain’s reporters Andy Hawkins and Chris Bragg are both former City and State staffers. ‘The city’s hundreds of thousands of business owners, executives and professionals will need these stories more than ever as Mayor Michael Bloomberg completes his final 15 months in office and the people of New York choose his successor. The mission of the new Crain’s Insider blog is to deliver that ‘insider’ coverage – as only Crain’s New York Business can – to the city’s entire business community,’  the magazine’s editor Glenn Coleman said in a press release.

“The blog will launch on Monday, October 15 and the last newsletter will go out the previous Friday.

Read more here.

Crains Chicago

Crain’s Chicago to launch iPad app


Crain’s Chicago Business will release an iPad application next month, furthering the publication’s efforts to put its digital strategy first while maintaining a “strong” print product, announced publisher David Snyder.

A story on its website states, “The new app will be downloadable for free; Crain’s also will sell a $59-a-year subscription to access content on an iPad, smartphone and computer, said Mr. Snyder, who leads the weekly business publication, one of the two dozen titles produced by Detroit-based Crain’s Communications Inc.”‘We no longer view ourselves as a print business that has a nice website attached to it, but a digital media business that’s fortunate to have a strong print publication associated with it,’ Mr. Snyder during a speech to the City Club of Chicago.

“He noted that the need to focus on the publication’s digital strategy comes at a ‘very challenging time in publishing.’ Print advertising and subscription revenue has been dropping over the past decade across the industry as both advertisers and readers shift to a broader range of online publications, blogs and other sites.

“Mr. Snyder, who became publisher in 2010 after rising through the publication’s ranks, also noted that Crain’s Chicago Business in June launched an metered pay system online, which prompts readers to register or subscribe after they view a certain number of articles a month.”

Read more here.

Cotton Delo

Ad Age names San Fran bureau chief


Cotton Delo has been named San Francisco bureau chief for Advertising Age, a Crain’s publication.

Michael Learmonth of Ad Age writes, “When I first met Cotton, I was expecting someone male, maybe wearing seersucker, which is why I looked right past the woman sitting in Ad Age’s lobby for an interview a little more than a year ago. Once we got that confusion out of the way, she joined Ad Age as a reporter covering social media, which largely meant Facebook and Twitter, but also a wide range of topics dear to Ad Age, such as media, politics, privacy and startups — including the first forays into business for Foursquare, Pinterest and Tumblr.

“As head of Ad Age’s San Francisco bureau, Cotton will expand her coverage to Bay Area ad agencies, consumer-focused startups, ad tech and venture-capital firms. She will, to put it in old-fashioned journalism terms, ‘follow the money,’ which increasingly flows from the world’s biggest brands to tech platforms such as search, social and video to reach consumers. She’ll also cover the personalities creating change, so expect to see her at meetups, parties and events.

“Prior to Ad age, Cotton was northeast editor for AOL’s lifestyle and culture site, City’s Best. Before that, she joined a nameless, stealth-mode startup that would soon be known as Patch, where she helped launch three sites in her hometown of South Orange, N.J.

“She has been a reporter at The Jersey Journal (along with fellow Ad Age-er Jason Del Rey), covering Hoboken, transportation and writing the “Fix It” column. She speaks Portuguese and taught English in Vitoria, Brazil after earning a B.A. from Yale.”

Read more here.