Tag Archives: Fortune

bloomberg markets magazine - february 2014 cover hedge fund rankings

Biz magazines underperformed industry in 2013


Business magazines brought in fewer ad dollars in 2013 compared to the previous year, underperforming in an industry saw a slight increase in advertising revenue.

The 14 business magazines reported ad revenue of $1.33 billion in 2013, down 4.8 percent from 2012, according to data from the Publishers Information Bureau analyzed by Talking Biz news. In comparison, the consumer magazine industry reported a 1.1 percent increase in 2013.

In terms of ad pages, the business magazines reported  a 9.0 percent decline to 13288.80 pages in 2013, while the overall magazine industry reported a 9.0 percent decline.

The business magazine comparison includes the 2012 data from Smart Money, a Dow Jones & Co. personal finance magazine that stopped print publication that year. Excluding the Smart Money numbers in the comparison, business magazines still underperformed the industry, with a 3.1 percent drop in ad revenue and a 5.8 percent drop in ad pages in 2013.

The best-performing title among the business magazines was Bloomberg Markets, which reported a 14.7 percent increase in ad revenue to $38.3 million, and an 11.1 percent increase in ad pages to 774.26

Another strong performer was Barron’s, which reported a 9.9 percent increase in ad revenue to $67.4 million and a 6.4 percent increase in ad pages to 1,269.4.

The worst-performing was Black Enterprise, which reported a 38.6 percent decline in ad revenue to $15.8 million in 2013 and a 38.2 percent drop in ad pages to 338.38.

Among the big three business magazines, Fortune performed the best. It posted a 2.4 percent rise in ad revenue to $213.5 million and a 3.8 percent decline in ad pages to 1,408.77.

Forbes remained the top business magazine in terms of ad revenue and ad pages, but it saw declines in both. Its print ad revenue fell 5.3 percent to $260.4 million, while its print ad pages fell 10.4 percent to 1,644.24.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported a 9.5 percent drop in print ad revenue to $200.7 million and a 12.4 percent decline in ad pages to 1,306.26.

See all of the data here.


Erin Griffith

Fortune.com hires Griffith from PandoDaily


Erin Griffith, who covers New York start-ups for PandoDaily, has resigned to accept a position at Fortune.com.

Fortune announced the hire on its Twitter feed. The Time Inc. magazine is in the process of hiring reporters and editors for its website, which will split off later this year from CNN and CNNMoney.com.

Griffith worked as staff writer for Adweek and a private equity blogger for peHUB. Her writing has appeared in Venture Capital Journal, BBC.com, Time Out New YorkHuffington Post, FT.com, and BUST.

She was also a reporter for Mergermarket, where she broke M&A auction news in the consumer products, retail, apparel and food & beverage sectors.

Griffith is an Ohio University graduate.

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair, Fortune switch roles


Eric Starkman, a public relations professional, writes that Vanity Fair magazine and Fortune magazine appear to have switched roles with the hard-hitting business coverage appearing in the former about Yahoo’s CEO.

Starkman writes, “I can’t do justice summarizing McLean’s prodigious reporting in this space, but suffice to say that McLean shatters many myths, including that Mayer’s departure was a major loss for Google. McLean reveals that many of the accomplishments that have been attributed solely to Mayer during her time at Google were more a team effort.  Indeed, her star had been losing its luster there when she left for Yahoo! (a point underscored by McLean’s reporting that there was no shortage of people who actually cheered Mayer’s departure). It’s noteworthy that code-writing Google engineers didn’t follow her out the door despite the fact that Mayer is an engineer; the only Google recruit was a PR person, who, quite tellingly, was Mayer’s first Yahoo! hire. McLean also suggests that if Mayer hadn’t given Dan Loeb a sweetheart deal to go away, the savvy investor quite possibly might have fired her.

“Reporting excellence aside, McLean’s article is also notable for where it appears. Vanity Fair, a glossy monthly better known for its stories on the lives and scandals of the glitterati among Hollywood, Washington, Wall Street and the like, has emerged as a bastion for more thoughtful and insightful explanatory business journalism.  The magazine has published a slew of impressively provocative business features, including Sarah Ellison’s reporting on Rupert Murdoch’s empire (here, here, and here, among others) and her profile on CNN host Piers Morgan, Michael Lewis’ story about Goldman Sachs’ seemingly undo influence with federal prosecutors, and William Cohan’s less-than-flattering profile of investor Dan Loeb.

“McLean wrote for Fortune magazine a few years back. At the time, standard-setting expository and investigative journalism was the magazine’s raison d’être. As I predicted, however, the magazine didn’t fare well under the stewardship of Laura Lang, who was forced out last year, and is no longer the leader of the pack, partially due to a top talent exodus. In addition to the departure of Hank Gilman, a highly respected managing editor known to favor hard-hitting stories, the magazine also lost James Bandler, a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter who was responsible for some of Fortune’s most noteworthy features (see here).”

Read more here.


Fortune.com seeks news editor


Fortune.com is looking for an experienced, energetic and innovative editor to oversee our growing coverage of business news.

The ideal candidate will have previous online news editing experience, a passion for breaking stories on the web, a proven track record of using social and search to stay on top of trending news, and excellent headline and line editing skills. The ideal candidate should have at least 4 years of business journalism experience, with some background managing staff, as well as strong communication and organization skills to manage the section’s day-to-day operations.

This person will oversee a small group of reporters and will be responsible for setting the news agenda each day. He or she should have knowledge of SEO and social media best practices.

To apply, go here.


Fortune.com seeks London editor


Fortune.com is looking for an experienced business journalist to become its first editor in London.

The ideal candidate will have previous online news editing experience, a passion for breaking stories on the web, a proven track record of using social and search, and excellent headline and line editing skills. This person will be expected to write and edit news stories and he or she should feel comfortable working independently in the mornings before the New York office has opened.

The ideal candidate should have at least 4 years of business journalism experience, as well as strong communication and organization skills to manage the section’s day-to-day operations.

To apply, go here.


Fortune.com seeks news editor


Fortune.com is looking for an experienced, energetic and innovative editor to oversee our growing coverage of business news.

The ideal candidate will have previous online news editing experience, a passion for breaking stories on the web, a proven track record of using social and search to stay on top of trending news, and excellent headline and line editing skills.

The ideal candidate should have at least 4 years of business journalism experience, with some background managing staff, as well as strong communication and organization skills to manage the section’s day-to-day operations.

This person will oversee a small group of reporters and will be responsible for setting the news agenda each day. He or she should have knowledge of SEO and social media best practices.

To apply, go here.

Jean Chatzky

Chatzky begins writing column for Fortune


Personal finance journalist Jean Chatzky will begin writing a regular column for Fortune.com called  “Money Sense From Jean Chatzky.”

The first column, about financial bullies, can be found here.

Chatzky’s column will run weekly online — but she will be contributing to all platforms — so her column could appear in the print magazine at times and she could do video content for Fortune down the line as well. She will also work in Fortune’s conference business, such as its Most Powerful Women conference.

“Jean is someone I have known for a long time, just in the biz,” said Andy Serwer, the magazine’s managing editor, in a phone conversation with Talking Biz News. “I have a lot of respect for the kind of stuff that she does. Personal finance is very appealing, both toward men and women, but maybe more toward women. And she has built up a brand for herself.”

Chatzky is the author of at least eight personal finance books. She has worked at Forbes and SmartMoney and was eventually brought on as the financial editor of “Today” on NBC. She has also written a column for the New York Daily News. Chatzky has also contributed to a number of other magazines, including Money, O Magazine, and More.

In 2009, the Consumer Federation of America awarded Chatzky the Betty Furness Consumer Media Service Award for her nearly two decades of pioneering personal finance education. She has also received the Clarion Award for magazine columns from the Association of Woman in Communications and a Gracie Award from American Women in Radio and Television Inc. The Chicago Tribune named Chatzky one of the country’s best magazine columnists.


Forbes cover Blakely

Why Time Inc. should buy Forbes


Lucia Moses of Adweek writes Tuesday about why a Time Inc. purchase of Forbes magazine makes sense even though it already owns Fortune.

Moses writes, “Fortune has a meager online presence, having been a channel of JV partner CNNMoney.com over the course of their 8-year partnership. (Fortune doesn’t say what its dedicated traffic is, but one person familiar with the business estimated it to be around 2 million monthly uniques.) Come next May, that partnership is set to dissolve, leaving Fortune on its own to start a new financial news website.

“But that’ll be an uphill battle in a category already crowded with bigger, more established online competitors like The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and, of course, Forbes. Forbes would give Fortune instant online scale, with 28 million uniques worldwide (per the company, citing comScore). It also would give Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp a way to boost his digital credibility and appear to be a risk-taker with the Street, as Forbes now gets more than half of its ad revenue from digital. (There’s also been talk that getting a deal done pre-spinoff also benefits Time Inc. because the bill would be paid by Time Warner.)

“A Forbes deal also could accomplish symbolic, but still important goals. Ripp has been trying to change the company’s culture and move into new ad formats. Forbes has built its business on the unorthodox practice of letting advertisers (as well as unpaid outside contributors) publish on the site alongside paid staffers—a controversial move, but one that’s been widely imitated by other online publishers. Forbes expects one-fifth of its ad revenue to come from its BrandVoice native ad platform this year.”

Read more here.

Carol Loomis

Loomis inducted into NY Journalism Hall of Fame


Fortune senior editor-at-large Carol Loomis was inducted into the Deadline Club’s New York Journalism Hall of Fame on Thursday.

Anne VanderMey of Fortune writes, “Loomis, who started at the magazine 60 years ago, was one of the first prominent female financial journalists. She began as a research associate at age 24 and climbed through the ranks, churning out influential stories. One piece compelled the government to begin releasing corporate-style annual financial statements. Another, in 1966, introduced the world to a new financial concept of a ‘hedged’ fund. In that story, Loomis first mentioned a relatively obscure company called the Buffett Partnership, touching off a long friendship with Omahan investor and sometime world’s richest man, Warren Buffett (see her book, Tap Dancing To Work).

“Her secret sauce: ‘I will confess that almost all my inspiration has come from one emotion, fear,’ she joked in her acceptance speech. ‘And terrible dread of the moment when I will finally be exposed as a fraud.’ Her salve has been a mammoth commitment to thorough reporting. ‘I have never met a document I don’t like,’ she wrote in a retrospective at the 51st anniversary of her Fortune start date. Fortune’s editors posited another theory: ‘Her colleagues know where these business-changing, Congress-stirring stories really come from: her conscience. Carol is the soul of this magazine.’

“Among her other honors are two Gerald M. Loeb Awards, the Gerald M. Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award, and the first-ever Henry R. Luce Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Loomis, who is 84 years old and still breaking news, has few words to say on retirement: ‘I probably have to do that one of these days.’”

Read more here.

Ken Otterbourg

Life as a freelance business journalist


Ken Otterbourg left the traditional journalism world of daily newspapers in early 2010 and hasn’t looked back.

For nearly four years, Otterbourg has made a living as a freelance business journalist, publishing his work in national publications such as Fortune, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. His work can be found at www.kenotterbourg.com.

Prior to his freelancing, Otterbourg had been managing editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, a Media General newspaper in North Carolina, since 2005.

Otterbourg, a native of New York, graduated in 1983 from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He worked as a news assistant at The Wall Street Journal and a reporter at The Register-Citizen in Torrington, Conn., before coming to the Journal in 1986 as a business reporter.

Otterbourg left the Journal in 1988 to take a job at the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, but returned to Winston-Salem two years later to report from the General Assembly in Raleigh. He was later promoted to assistant metro editor and became the newspaper’s metro editor in 1996.

In 2002, he was named the Journal’s assistant managing editor for news, and in December 2004, he was promoted to managing editor.

Otterbourg spoke Wednesday morning by email with Talking Biz News about his life as a freelance business journalist. What follows is an edited transcript.

How did you decide to leave the daily newspaper world and go into freelancing?

A little background. I became managing editor of the Winston-Salem Journal in 2005, so I was watching the water drain out of the pool for a long time. We were shrinking the staff, cutting the news hole, etc. In addition, many of our most talented journalists were leaving for other publications or other careers. I had always prided myself on being able to make good hires and trade up, and that was no longer the case. So we were not just a smaller staff, but a less capable one.

In 2009, Media General began developing a plan to consolidate the copy-editing and layout of our paper at a satellite location. I thought it was a bad idea that compromised the independence of our newsroom, and when it was clear that I couldn’t win the fight, I realized it was a deal breaker on my values. So I voted with my feet and resigned. That was in January 2010. At the time, freelancing was not on my plate. I wanted to do public-policy work, but Winston-Salem isn’t exactly the public-policy center of the world, so here we are.

How hard was it to build up a list of publications to write for?

It was extremely hard and continues to be so. Editors are very busy people and as a freelancer you have very little negotiating power over the relationship with the folks in charge. It’s frustrating, but that’s the world we live in. That said, if you deliver stories that editors wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, they can be very appreciative and supportive of your work.

What was the hardest part about making the switch to freelancing?

First is the lack of a steady paycheck. I won’t lie. It was nice getting five weeks of vacation and coming back from a trip and finding you had been paid for not being at work. Second is the endless hustle. I have had to learn to sell myself, which is something I’m not naturally wired to do.

How have you kept yourself focused when there is no office to go into every day?

I’ve always been a pretty disciplined person and understand that work is called work for a reason. I try to plan out each day with what I want to accomplish, whether writing, research or just cogitating an approach to something. Having met deadlines for 25 years helps. Usually, I am toggling between projects.

There’s the stereotype of the freelancer typing away in his pajamas, and while I get dressed every day, I don’t always shave. Within the framework of going to work every day, I also try to take advantage of my freedom. You can get a lot done without the distractions of a conventional office. I’ll take the dog for a walk to clear my head, and I often write on weekends or at nights. I probably work the same amount as I did when I was managing editor, but it is different work spread over a different flow.

Otterbourg and AlcoaYou’ve been writing regularly for Fortune. How did that relationship develop?

I went to college with Andy Serwer, and we’ve stayed in touch. I’m not saying this because he’s the managing editor there, but he has a great sense of story. After I left the paper, I was doing a couple of consulting projects and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and I sent him an email suggesting he have someone write a story about the controversy in North Carolina regarding Alcoa and its dams on the Yadkin River. He asked me if I wanted to do it.

I know that sounds fishy, but it was not my intent to get back into journalism. I was still a little burned out. Anyway, I did the story, and they liked it, and for me it was a lot of fun to be a reporter again after all those years in the management grind. So I’ve kept at it with them. The editor I work with most often is a guy named Tim Smith. I call him the reporter whisperer. He can be alternately cryptic and blunt, but his editing skills are really pretty stunning, and he’s been a big advocate of my work.

And you’ve also written for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. How did you get those?

One of my former reporters, Valerie Bauerlein, is a reporter at the Journal. I’m really proud of her. I knew she was a star way back when. She reached out to me and put me in touch with their editors for a couple of short-term assignments. One of those was covering part of the trial of Sen. John Edwards. At that trial, I met a couple of folks from the Times and then contacted  them during the controversy over the Duke-Progress merger. I knew they were interested in the story but might need a more efficient solution than putting a staffer on a plane to Raleigh.

Are you pitching ideas more now, or are these publications coming to you with ideas in the region?

Both. I don’t think you ever stop pitching — which is a good thing — but it is gratifying when editors recognize your value. My last piece for Fortune was on the TVA, and they assigned it to me because I had written for them about other energy issues and also about the barge industry, which supplies a lot of the TVA power plants with coal. So often it comes full circle.

Have you turned down anything that you felt uncomfortable doing?

No. Usually when I turn something down, it’s not for ethical reasons but more that the money/topic balance is out of whack. For example, I write for Business North Carolina magazine. It’s a really well-edited regional business publication in an era when most of its peers have fallen by the wayside. They don’t pay all that well, but I do stories for them because the assignments are good and I believe in their mission. If your name is on the story, you want it to be something you’re proud of.

What about non-journalism writing? You’re doing some work for some non-profits, right?

I work for a company called Capital Development Services, which is based in Winston-Salem. They help nonprofits raise money, and I do case studies for them. It isn’t journalism, but you use a lot of the same muscles, and I enjoy learning about these organizations and their challenges. I’ve also done grant writing, report writing and contract editing. One key to freelancing is to try to diversify your income stream and create a bit of stability in an unpredictable world.

Do you ever see yourself getting back into a full-time journalism job where you went into a newsroom?

I loved the energy of a newsroom and many of the most important moments of my life were spent gathered around a table or a computer trying to hash out projects and stories, often on deadline. So, it’s not out of the question, but it’s not top of my mind. That said, I would never want to return so I could be the guy in the newsroom telling everybody about how great and noble everything was back in the day. That would be totally obnoxious, and I would hate that guy.

What do you like the most about freelancing?

I’ve been very fortunate on my assignments. I’ve gotten to travel to some incredible parts of the country and spend time with interesting people doing outrageous things. That’s a privilege, and when I am working on a story I try to keep that front and center, that someone is paying me to write and ask questions and think. I don’t want to let them down.

What’s been fun for me is to learn/relearn the craft of narrative writing. All long-form journalism, but particularly financial journalism, has gotten very difficult because of the Web. It’s very rare that an article is completely revelatory. So the challenge is to tell a story and to tell it well.

What do you like the least?

The unpredictability. You are only as good as your next assignment.