Tag Archives: Fortune
New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera took questions from readers on the newspaper’s Web site on Tuesday, so I posed a question to him about what impact he believed the new Conde Nast Portfolio magazine would have on business journalism.
I thought Nocera would provide an interesting perspective because he once worked for Fortune, and while there he wrote a story about Conde Nast called “The Buzz Factory.”
Nocera replied. He stated, “Hard to know for sure how it will affect other publications. First of all, it is going to be a monthly publication, with glossy pictures and very long articles. Right now the pressure is in the other direction – to do things faster, and get them on the Internet. Forbes is stressing its Internet site almost at the expense of the magazine itself. Fortune and Business Week still are in the business of selling magazines first and foremost, but their Internet sites have becoming increasingly important and their writers are expected to write for it when they have some news or analysis. Conde Nast Portfolio also hopes to have a cool, interesting Web site, but it is much too early to know how it will do against its new competitors. The real question about Conde Nast Porfolio is whether business readers are going to want a magazine that comes out 12 times a year, and is largely lengthy profiles, stories and analysis. If they do, clearly the other magazines will react to that. As for whether it has affected them already, well, Andrew Serwer is the new managing editor of Fortune, my old stomping ground. Maybe that is a coincidence re: the coming of Portfolio. But maybe not.”
Read more here.
Marketwatch media columnist Jon Friedman interviewed new Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer about his plans for the magazine and came away impressed with his attitude toward the job and toward his competition.
Friedman wrote, “Serwer is a new breed of managing editor (the highest editorial designation at a Time Inc. magazine). He is the rarest of modern journalists — a triple threat who can excel as an Internet and magazine writer as well as a television analyst.
“Serwer has strengthened CNN’s morning programs by adding perspective to business and finance headlines. He is adept at translating the arcane world of business-speak for ordinary viewers.
“Portfolio is a concern because Fortune has traditionally been the leading business magazine for providing analysis. Time Inc.’s executives publicly acknowledge Portfolio by speaking in cliches (‘we welcome the competition’ and ‘competition is good for the industry’ are two of their favorites), but Serwer lifted the veil during our conversation.
“‘We’re going to prevail,’ he said. ‘I don’t know what their vision is. But I know what ours is: We do the best damned business journalism in the world.’
“Serwer went so far as to voice the unspoken fear of the magazine community, specifically involving mainstays Fortune, BusinessWeek and Forbes: that Portfolio’s emergence will cause a shakeout. ‘It’s possible that there isn’t room for four business magazines,’ Serwer said. ‘But I know that we’ll still be standing.’”
Read more here.
CNNMoney.com, the world’s biggest business and finance news Web site, launched Thursday streaming video content for its business and finance coverage.
The initiative will utilize the video production of CNN, which will co-produce each segment. As part of the launch, a video module with eight featured video segments will be posted on the site’s home page.
The segments produced for the site will derive from key stories from each of the four magazines housed on the site â€“ Fortune, Fortune Small Business, Money and Business 2.0 â€“ as well as stories by the CNNMoney.comâ€™s editorial staff. In addition, business news from CNN’s broadcast networks will be available directly through the newly-launched CNNMoney.com video player.
“Video is a vital component of the Web experience,” said Vivek Shah, president of Digital Publishing, the Time Inc. Business and Finance Network, in a release. “The access and insight of our magazines combined with CNN’s video production capabilities will translate into a Web video experience unlike any in our category.”
The launch features nearly 50 video segments that build off of some of the magazines’ franchise issues including Fortune’s “Fastest Growing Companies,” Money’s “Best Places To Live,” Business 2.0′s “The Next Disruptors,” and Fortune Small Business’ “Best Bosses 2006.”
Video coverage also includes some of the magazines’ prestigious events and conferences, such as Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit 2006 and Geoff Colvin’s C-Suite Strategies series, featuring exclusive interviews with top executives and business leaders.
General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt met Wednesday with employees of subsidiary CNBC, the business news cable network, and told them he was looking forward to the competition with the Fox Business News channel next year, according to a Hollywood Reporter story.
The meeting, Immelt’s first with CNBC employees in more than a year, also was attended by NBC Universal chairman and CEO Bob Wright and NBC Universal Television Group president Jeff Zucker. Neither executive spoke, however.
Reporter Andrew Wallenstein wrote, “Immelt also singled out CNBC for praise, admitting that not long ago the cable channel’s misfortunes had him questioning its prospects.
“‘And I think you’re ready to play from a position of strength versus 18 months ago, which I didn’t really feel that way,’ he said.
“Immelt alluded to News Corp.’s own business channel, expected to launch sometime next year, as a challenge CNBC was now prepared to face.
“‘I think we’re ready for Fox should they decide to come,’ he said. ‘And you have to have the attitude of bring it on … if it happens, it happens.’
“Immelt’s discussion, which involved a Q&A with employees in attendance, was intended as a pep rally for CNBC as it begins to shake off the ratings doldrums of recent years.”
Read more here.
Diego Vasquez of Media Life Magazine writes that the decision to name a new managing editor at Fortune magazine was in part spurred by growing competition among the biz glossies to attract readers to their online offerings.
Vasquez wrote, “Both Business Week and Fortune were far slower than Forbes in developing their web presences, cutting back during the ad recession when Forbes was building up Forbes.com, and that has left both playing a game of catchup, and a late one at that.
“Stephen J. Adler was hired two years ago as editor of Business Week, lured away from The Wall Street Journal, and his mandate was to beef up that magazine’s online presence. But it’s been a slow go. The magazine continues to be in turmoil following a string of staff cuts.
“Back in January, CNNMoney.com was relaunched as a super site for Time Warner business news, including Fortune, Money, Fortune Small Business and Business 2.0, and as of June that site ranked No. 4 among top business news sites, ahead of Forbes.com at No. 7 and No. 10. But Fortune’s share of CNNMoney.com traffic is presumably a fraction of the total, leaving it still well behind Forbes.com.
“The arrival of Portfolio will make the race of online readers all that more intense. While Conde Nast is saying little about the title, it is expected to offer a strong online component and an emphasis on news under Joanne Lippman, also a former top Wall Street Journal editor.”
Read more here.
Katherine Seelye of the New York Times wrote about Andy Serwer replacing Eric Pooley as the managing editor of Fortune magazine in Wednesday’s paper, and she termed the change as “abrupt.”
Seelye quoted Serwer about when he found out about the change: “I found out about it a couple of days ago,â€? he said. â€œIt was a surprise to me that John wanted me to do this job.â€? He added that Mr. Huey â€œhas a way of making surprising moves sometimes.â€? John Huey is Time Inc. editor in chief.
Later, Seelye wrote, “Mr. Huey announced the change at a hastily called staff meeting yesterday. People who were there said they were stunned. They said they perceived Mr. Pooley, who took over as managing editor in April 2005, as a strong advocate for long-form journalism and a rigorous if sometimes over-involved editor. The McKinsey consulting firm has been examining efficiencies at the magazine.”
Read more here.
Meanwhile, Keith Kelly of the New York Post wrote that one Fortune staff member called the change “a lightning bolt out of the blue.”
Kelly wrote, “Pooley had little hard-nosed business experience, and his style was said to have rankled the closely knit staff. Many began voting with their feet: Editor-at-Large Joe Nocera, who himself had hoped one day to run the magazine, last year jumped to the New York Times as a columnist. Another star writer, Dan Roth, jumped to Portfolio, the new CondÃ© Nast business title slated to launch next year.
“Pooley, who was seen as aloof and detached, frequently worked behind closed doors. At one point in February, he called the staff together to do a public mea culpa, and pledged a more open policy.”
Read more here.
Meanwhile, Serwer’s skills as a business journalist were called into question by reporting done by Stephanie Smith at Women’s Wear Daily.
Smith wrote, “Serwer, who said Huey approached him ‘a few days ago’ for the position, lacks editing experience, save for a stint editing front-of-book pieces for Fortune a decade ago when Huey was its managing editor, nor has he managed a staff of any size. Moreover, his columns and features for the title were considered fluffy by many of his peers (one said his column read like it resulted from making one phone call) and sources close to the magazine heard Huey gripe about Serwer’s inability to write big middle-of-the-book features in his early years. ‘He’s everywhere and has done a great job with the brand of Andy Serwer,’ sniped one business journalist, who described Serwer’s columns as ‘bad jokes behind Wall Street and basketball.’”
Read more here.
Andy Serwer, who has been an editor at large, has been named managing editor of Fortune, according to a news release issued by parent company Time Inc. and obtained by Talking Biz News.
Serwer, 47, succeeds Eric Pooley, who will work with Time’s editor in chief John Huey and managing editor Jim Kelly on investigative projects. The appointment is effective immediately.
“No matter what project Andy takes on, he handles it with intelligence, wit and energy,â€? Huey said in the release. â€œIt is also safe to say that no journalist knows todayâ€™s business story better than Andy Serwer. I am confident that he will bring his knowledge of both the story and the multimedia landscape to the helm of Fortune in exciting ways that will work to its great advantage in the future.â€?
“I really am thrilled to be running a magazine with such a rich history and such a bright future,â€? Serwer said. â€œI look forward to working with my longstanding colleagues â€“ the best business journalists on the planet. We’re going to have a blast.â€?
As editor-at-large at Fortune since 1998, Serwer writes the â€œStreet Lifeâ€? column as well as stories about the personalities and behind-the-scenes action on Wall Street. His work has ranged from his provocative column in every issue to major cover stories on everything from the young Michael Dell to Michael Price (â€œThe Toughest S.O.B. on Wall Streetâ€?) to the business of the Rolling Stones to the first look inside the financial and philanthropic workings of Americaâ€™s richest family, the Waltons.
In addition to his magazine work, Andy became one of the industryâ€™s first internet stars nine years ago with his daily market round-up on Fortune.com, also called “Street Life,” that has more than 50,000 e-mail subscribers. He has also been the very successful business anchor of CNNâ€™s American Morning news show. He will continue to have an on-air presence on CNN.
Serwer joined Fortune in 1985 as an intern from the Columbia Journalism School, and was later promoted to associate editor. He quickly went on to become one of its most insightful, popular and productive writers. In addition to covering Wall Street, investing, information technology, and entertainment for the magazine, Serwer has also edited and written the front of the book section of Fortune, which includes breaking news and features focusing on business personalities, media, and technology.
Gawker writes that Serwer’s appointment shocked “anyone with a stake in the matter, apparently — an inside source dismisses his work as ‘stock chit-chat stuff, pretty shallow.’” It also quotes Huey’s internal e-mail explaining the appointment: “We all know that the world of business journalism has increasingly become a multi-media proposition, involving not only the magazine but its brand representations on the internet, on television and radio, wherever the reader wants his or her information. And no one is more qualified to lead FORTUNE on those multiple fields of battle than Andy.”
Julia Seymour of the Business & Media Institute critiques CNN’s coverage of the economy and noted that with the exception of Fortune editor Andy Serwer, most of the comments are negative.
Seymour wrote, “Firing the first shot, host Jack Cafferty said on October 28, ‘The Gross Domestic Product was a little on the gross side when it came out on Friday morning, disappointing to say the least.’
“Andy Serwer, editor-at-large of Fortune magazine, and a show regular, responded with a voice of reason to Caffertyâ€™s attack.
“‘See, I think we gotta take a step back here and tell ourselves that as far as the economy goes, it doesnâ€™t get any better than this. I mean, think about it, the Federal Reserve didnâ€™t touch interest rates. That means it thinks the economy is neither too hot, nor too cold. The stock marketâ€™s going up, energy prices are down, what more do you want?’ asked Serwer.
“But CNN business anchor Jennifer Westhoven disagreed with Serwer and said ‘the housing market looks pretty bad and you know heating costs are gonna be really tough this winter.’”
Read more here.
Most of the major business magazines saw a decrease in advertising revenue in September compared to the same month a year ago, according to statistics on the Magazine Publishers of America web site.
Only Barron’s, The Economist, Fast Company and Inc. showed increases in ad revenue. Barron’s ad sales increased 17.7 percent to $5.9 million in September, while Inc.’s ad sales rose 10.6 percent to $9.6 million in the month. The Economist‘s ad sales jumped 18.6 percent to $10 million, while Fast Company’s ad sales rose 10.7 percent to $2.6 million.
As for the rest of the biz magazines, the results were abysmal. Here are the specifics:
–Business 2.0′s ad revenue fell 7.4 percent to $3.7 million for the month. Its ad sales had been up in August.
–BusinessWeek‘s ad sales fell 8.9 percent to $28.1 million in September after seeing its August ad sales rise 14 percent.
–Forbes reported a 4.2 percent decrease in September ad sales to $30 million. Its ad sales had been up 32.9 percent in August.
–Fortune‘s ad sales fell 28.1 percent to $26.1 million in September after declining 12 percent in August.
–Kiplinger’s ad sales dropped 19 percent to $3.1 million. Its ad sales fell 7.7 percent in August.
–Money magazine dropped 6.6 percent of its ad sales to $12.2 million in September.
–Smart Money fell 5.4 percent to $4.0 million in ad sales.
For comparison, total ad sales for the magazine industry rose 6.5 percent for September. In other words, business magazines are lagging behind their competitors.
Here are the year-to-date totals. For the first nine months of the year, all of the above magazines except BusinessWeek, Fortune and Money have seen an increase in ad revenue.
Gregory Millman, writing in the 75th anniversary issue of Financial Executive magazine, notes that the history of business journalism has been impacted the most by technology.
Millman wrote, “Computers replaced lead type; color presses created whole new palettes. Television evolved from a small, gray box to high-definition and plasma. Correspondents, many hired less for their knowledge than their looks, now chatter with executives and analysts on cable TV programs. Even now, the Internet now seems to be the future of much of communication in an attention-deficit world in which depth is often disappearing.
“Thatâ€™s not to say, however, that serious and important stories about business arenâ€™t being done. They remain a staple of major newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as the major business magazines like Fortune, Forbes and BusinessWeek. Thereâ€™s a bigger audience for business news than ever before, and a greater capacity to deliver it. Financial executives, especially public company CFOs, are often in the forefront of those supplying information, be it filtered through analysts or investor relations departments.
“Indeed, todayâ€™s business press does have a real impact on business, perhaps greater than ever. Sometimes the influence is overt, as happened earlier this year when press coverage of a professorâ€™s research into backdated options spurred intensified regulatory interest and a stock market response. Sometimes, the influence is subtle.
“One study, for example, found that press coverage alone can influence auditorsâ€™ opinions on a company. Presented with information about companies that had defaulted on their loans, auditors were more likely to issue a negative opinion if the press had covered the default. ‘What was startling about this research is that there was no new information in the press, just a repetition of information available in the audit work papers, yet auditors were more conservative once they saw an article,’ says Jennifer Joe, assistant professor of Accounting at the Georgia State Universityâ€™s Mack Robinson College of Business.
Read more here. Registration is required, but this is a nice article about how business journalism has evolved in the past 75 years.