Tag Archives: Fortune
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.
Betsy Morris, a long-time Fortune reporter who has been based out of Atlanta, is leaving the magazine for a job at Conde Nast Portfolio, the new glossy that will debut next year, the New York Post’s Keith Kelly reported.
Kelly wrote, “‘I have to say, I’m sorry to leave, but I’m really ready for a change,’ said Morris, who will remain based in Atlanta. She’s at least the third Fortune writer to jump to the new venture.
“Jim Ledbetter, a one-time media writer who long ago headed off to London to try to launch the European version of The Industry Standard, is coming home to a job on the financial Web site at Time Inc.
“He’ll be deputy editor at CNNMoney.com.”
Read more here.
Prior to joining Fortune, Morris spent 14 years at the Wall Street Journal as a writer and bureau chief.
She has a B.A. in journalism and history from Stanford University and a M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is married to John Helyar, the author of Barbarians at the Gate, which was on The New York Times bestseller list for nine months and which was made into an Emmy award winning film on HBO. He is also the author of Lords of the Realm: The Real History of Baseball, which won the Casey Award for Baseball Book of the Year in 1994.
Josh Quittner, the editor of Business 2.0, stated at a conference earlier this week that he anticipated all of the writers at the Time magazine to be blogging as a way to differentiate itself.
Rohit Bhargava wrote, “As editor of what I would consider one of the more forward thinking publications in the market today, he talked candidly about the future of the publishing industry, his early efforts at working to create a business model for online content and the current success of CNNMoney in driving actual subscriptions (up more than 300%) and bringing in lots of ad revenue. The most interesting part of his talk came as he described the soul searching as editor of Business 2.0 that came when Om Malik decided to leave the publication to focus solely on his highly popular tech blog GigaOm.
“Josh described this defection as the point when he started to consider that perhaps it would make more sense to move his publication to a new model that embraced blogs as a part of the identity of his publication. Other publications like BusinessWeek, Vogue and many others have integrated blogs into their content – but none has really focused on instilling blogs and the creation of personal media into their culture as far as Business 2.0 is now poised to do. As part of his new directive, Josh has charged every journalist at Business 2.0 with creating a blog and has soft launched in beta release a group contributed model where there is one blog that pulls content from all journalist blogs, as well as 18 individual journalist blogs. He notes that this will eventually replace their current blog and discussed the following benefits for him in taking this approach:
– Allows smarter and more engaged reporters;
– Adding a requirement of 1-2 posts on business per day ensures continually updated content;
– Offers more ad revenue opportunities across multiple sites;
– Has CNN articles pointing directly to journalist blogs, offering reporters a personal stake and individual traffic;
– Preserves the church and state separation issue of editorial versus journalism:
– Releasing some editorial control offers faster turnaround and more cutting edge work;
– Offering an edited “uber-blog” allows Business 2.0 to pull out the best content and feature it consistently.
Read more here.
Slate’s Jack Shafer examined why Bloomberg News has continued to grow and expand its operations while other newsrooms are shrinking.
Shafer wrote, “During this shrinking era, a news service started from scratch and entered in the ultracompetitive field of business journalism and has thrived almost to the point of dominance. The outfit, Bloomberg News, now employs 1,700 reporters and editors in 127 bureaus worldwide, and its wire service routinely supplies most top papers with business news and briefs. As other publications have shed older, high-paid journalists, Bloomberg News has hired them: Al Hunt (Wall Street Journal), John M. Berry and Charles Babcock (Washington Post), Margaret Carlson (Time), and Roger Simon (U.S. News & World Report), just to name a few. Yes, dinosaurs all, but each conveys to readers credibility and cachet that only money can buy.”
Later, Shafer wrote, “Bloomberg’s human-generated news stories are only slightly warmer to the touch. Many are written to an old template that requires lede sentences to contain a number. Words such as ‘but’ (too abrupt), ‘flat’ (markets aren’t curved, how can they be flat?), and ‘uncertainty’ (markets move for a reason) are subject to banishment by editors. Words that signify something demonstrable, such as ‘biggest’ or ‘first,’ are preferred. Even if Bloomberg News reporters desired to produce well-crafted prose, how often would they have the time? In this competitive beat, five seconds separates an ‘atta-boy’ scoop from the shame of getting beat by Reuters. Theirs is the ultimate news-you-can-use for the most demanding and wealthy readers in the world.
“To use an old 1990s software clichÃ©, Bloomberg excels in producing granular news. It doesn’t matter much to your pocketbook if the price of a barrel of oil moves 10 cents, nor is a record of that movement likely to find a place in your daily newspaper. But fortunes are made on smaller price swings than that, which means very small audiences will pay handsomely for the micro-news Bloomberg delivers inside of micro-news cycles. This turns the daily newspaper concept inside out: Dailies strive to discover and report news that appeals to the many. For that reason, nobody should live on a steady diet of Bloomberg. You’d get scurvy. Still, the Bloomberg operation has earned Gerald Loeb Awards, bestowed mostly by a panel of other business journalists, for its work.”
Read more here.
The Daily Southtown, a community newspaper in Chicago owned by the Sun-Times, is being criticized by its readers for a story and a photo about a stripper on the front of its business section recently.One reader stated, “I fail to see why this type of picture (large) had to appear in the Southtown, which I always thought was a family, local newspaper. Is there an explanation, or did you think readers would actually be interested? The Southtown doesn’t need to resort to this type of thing. We enjoy the paper and the local news. You’re not in the Enquirer or Star’s category.”
Another reader told the business editor he should go work for Hustler magazine.
Business editor Bob Bong replied, “The Daily Southtown has been running the pictorial feature called On The Job in Saturday’s Business section for several months. Along the way, we have featured a fortune teller, sewer worker, prison guard and hatmaker among the workers who ply their trades in the Southland. On Saturday, we featured an exotic dancer in a photo portrait that revealed no more than one might see on television and revealed less than what can be seen in many lingerie ads. It just so happens that some jobs are just sexier than others.”
Read more here.
Has there ever been a time where there was more upheaval and change in the business magazine business than what has occurred in the past four to six months?
I can think of only one other period — the time between September 1929 and February 1930, when both BusinessWeek and Fortune launched to compete against Forbes. Ironically, it was also a time of great upheaval in the business world as well, and I don’t see anything comparable in today’s corporate America.
Just to provide the big picture of what’s been going on, we’ve seen the naming of a new magazine Conde Nast Portfolio that won’t publish its first issue until the spring of 2007, yet has hired a number of high-priced business journalists for its masthead and generated a lot of attention for the money being thrown into its launch. Making things more interestins is the fact that Conde Nast is a private company, so profits aren’t an issue — at least not in the beginning.
Speaking of private companies, Forbes has remained a private for nearly 90 years, yet earlier this year the company sold a big minority stake in the business to a venture capital firm that counts U2 lead singer Bono as one of its investors. Forbes said that it needed the money to continue expanding, and it has made a big push to expand the presence of its Internet web site.
Fortune, meanwhile, is part of a public company that has announced that it wants to sell some of its magazines, but not Fortune, so that it can concentrate on some of its higher-profit publications. Fortune has also been in the hiring mode, as evidenced by some recent hires, and it has successfully fended off Portfolio from poaching some of its stars — notably Bethany McLean.
And then there is BusinessWeek, also owned by a public company. Under new editor Stephen Adler, the past 18 months have been a whirlwind of change, as he has added new columns by CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo and former GE CEO Jack Welch and his wife, Suzy. Having said that, there appears to be a number of talented people leaving the weekly, as evidenced by 12 people getting cut from the staff in late September. In addition, there is some institutional memory disappearing with the retirement of former ME Mark Morrison and others leaving for new jobs outside of McGraw-Hill.
And then there are those below what will become the Big Four once Portfolio hits the newsstands. Morninsgtar founder Joe Mansueto is trying to turn around Fast Company and Inc., while Time Warner’s Money has undergone an overall as well.
Right now, the winners appear to be Fortune and Forbes. What are they doing that the others aren’t? My impression is that they have identified an audience that was virtually unaffected by the changes in the businessworld in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble collapse. BusinessWeek, after dominating magazine awards for much of the 1990s, seems to be looking for a new identity that it has yet to find, and readers have noticed.
I also wonder if BusinessWeek is being affected for being too bullish on the Internet and technology companies that were the darlings of the 1990s. Having said that, Fortune doesn’t seem to be affected for having named Enron one of the most admired companies for years.
It will be interesting to see which one of the existing players will be affected by Portfolio, or whether Portfolio expands the business magazine market to new readers.
New York Post media writer Tim Arango will leave the newspaper for a writing job at Fortune magazine, according to a short item in Women’s Wear Daily.Stephanie Smith wrote, Fortune “managing editor Eric Pooley poached two staffers from The New York Times and the New York Post this week, proving that Portfolio’s Joanne Lipman is not the only magazine editor scouring newspapers for talent. Times information graphics editor Sarah Slobin will join Fortune on Oct. 24 as senior editor and Post media reporter Tim Arango will join Oct. 16 as a writer. Arango, whom Pooley said “is really great at penetrating big media organizations,” worked at TheStreet.com and Budapest Business Journal (really!) before joining the Post in 2002.
Arango joined the New York tabloid in September 2002 after reporting for the financial news site TheStreet.com. He is a native of Essex Junction, Vt., and earned his undergraduate degree from Saint Michael’s College and his graduate degree from Brown University.
Business magazines posted a second straight strong month in terms of ad sales in August after reporting bad numbers in June, according to statistics on the Magazine Publishers of America web site.
For August, all business magazines except for Fortune and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance showed an increase in sales from the same month in 2005. Business 2.0 led the way with a 41 percent jump in ad sales.
Here are the specifics:
– Business 2.0′s ad sales for August were $3.8 million, up from $2.7 million in the same time period a year ago.
– BusinessWeek‘s August ad sales were $14.6 million, a 13 percent increase from the $12.8 million sold in August 2005.
– The Economist sold $3.7 million worth of ads for the month, up 21 percent from $3.1 million sold in August 2005.
– Forbes sold $8.3 million worth of ads last month, up 32.9 percent from the $6.25 million worth of ads sold a year ago.
– Fortune sold $14.8 million, a 12 percent decline from the $16.8 million sold in August 2005.
– Inc. magazine reported $5.8 million in ad sales, a 16.7 percent increase from $4.9 million sold in August 2005.
– Kiplinger’s sales fell to $2.4 million a 7.7 percent decrease from $2.6 million in the same time period a year ago.
– Money magazine sold $12.8 million worth of ads, a 27 percent jump from the $10.1 million sold in August 2005.
– Smart Money sold $3.9 million in ads, up from $3.6 million, or a 7.2 percent increase.
There were no August stats for Fast Company. The August numbers can be seen here.
Meanwhile, the year-to-date numbers show that BusinessWeek remains down 7.4 percent with $180 million sold through the end of August. It’s still behind Forbes, which has sold $189 million in ads for the first eight months. A year ago this time, BusinessWeek was ahead of Forbes by $22 million. Fortune is less than $2 million behind BusinessWeek at $178 million.