Tag Archives: The Economist

Voice of the global elite

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Aram Bakshian Jr. writes for The National Interest about Economist magazine and how it has become a must read for business people and politicians across the globe.

Bakshian writes, “Admittedly, there are times when the Economist leans a little heavily on plummy English props and mannerisms. Michael Lewis, the popular American financial writer and author of Liar’s Poker, once attributed the magazine’s sometimes laboriously polished prose and tone to the fact that the Economist ‘is written by young people pretending to be old people,’ adding that if American readers ‘got a look at the pimply complexions of their economic gurus, they would cancel their subscriptions.’ This may be the reason almost all of the publication’s articles still lack bylines, much less accompanying photos of the writers. Besides, that hint of pseudo-Dickensian creakiness in its prose is part of the Economist’s charm and its distinctive brand. It also helps to explain its success among educated English speakers around the world who still prize good writing that requires a modicum of sophistication and literary grounding on the part of its readers rather than being written down to the lowest common denominator. As for Fallows, someone should have reminded him that, for the most part, ‘smarty-pants’ tend to be much better writers than sans culottes.

“The American journalist who has come closest to pinning down the Economist’s winning formula is Michael Hirschorn, in a perceptive essay in the July/August 2009 issue of the Atlantic. He suggests that the secret of the Economist’s success

is not its brilliance, or its hauteur, or its typeface. The writing in Time and Newsweek may be every bit as smart, as assured, as the writing in The Economist. But neither one feels like the only magazine you need to read. You may like the new Time and Newsweek. But you must—or at least, brilliant marketing has convinced you that you must—subscribe to The Economist.

“This may explain how an idiosyncratic publication — produced by an allegedly pimply writing staff of about seventy-five from a cramped space in London’s St. James’s quarter — has proved to be David to rival American Goliaths such as Time and Newsweek.”

Read more here.

How social media is changing biz journalism

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Rob Grimshaw of the Financial Times writes for The Economist about the growing influence of social media in today’s business journalism.

Grimshaw writes, “At the Financial Times, we recognized early on that the continued success of our business depended on our ability to adapt to changing reader habits. Our response to audience fragmentation was to create a multi-channel subscription model that allows our subscribers to move easily across formats at their convenience. A single log-in and password gives access on desktop, tablet and smartphone at any time.

“This focus on flexibility in the face of fragmentation has paid dividends. Digital now represents over 30% of total FT revenues and with over 300,000 digital subscribers we have now reached the point where we have more digital subscribers than print circulation. Our channel-neutral strategy has proven digital to be a supplemental source of new FT subscribers, and this year the FT reached a total paid circulation of 600,000, the highest circulation in our 124-year history and rising.

“We believe that this ability to adapt will continue to be vital to our success because there are undoubtedly further shifts in reader habits to come. One of the most important factors is likely to be social media, which is challenging the fundamentals of news publishing by tying readers up elsewhere. One in six internet minutes is now spent on a social site of some description and the proportion is rising.”

Read more here.

Forbes, Economist to be available behind Chicago Tribune paywall

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Jeff John Roberts of PaidContent.org writes about how content from Forbes and The Economist will be made available on the Chicago Tribune website.

Roberts writes, “The Economist and Forbes content is being supplied via NewsCred, a news platform that relies on technology to rapidly curate and license content from over 800 partners. Adee says the Tribune will be able to get the other publishers’ content for rates equivalent to a newswire service and that the paper is in the process of adding another business news partner in coming weeks (it could be Bloomberg — a NewsCred client — but that is just a guess).

“‘If you ask people to pay more than you asked before, they’ll expect more from you,’ explained Adee, adding that the Tribune also plans to make several dozen e-books available to online subscribers. The paper’s own account of the changes is here.

“The Chicago Tribune is among the last major papers in the country to introduce a paywall which has given it times learn from others’ efforts. These include the ‘metered’ strategy (allowing casual readers to see a certain number of articles for free) which is now nearly universal and a decision to make content shared via social media available to everyone. The Tribune is also following the LA Times‘ effort to make online subscribers feel that they are buying a membership to more than just the paper; the latter does so by offering tickets and event discounts to its subscribers.”

Read more here.

Reuters, WSJ, Milwaukee and Detroit papers among Loeb winners

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Felix Salmon of Reuters and The Wall Street Journal are winners of Gerald Loeb Awards, considered the Pulitzer Prizes of business journalism.

Salmon won in the blogging category. Reuters also won in the news service category for “Shell Games” by Brian Grow, Kelly Carr, Laurence Fletcher, Nanette Byrnes, Matthew Bigg, Joshua Schneyer, Cynthia Johnston and Sara Ledwith.

Mark Maremont, Tom McGinty, Jon Keegan, Palani Kumanan, Sarah Slobin and Neil King Jr. were the team at the Journal who won for “Jet Tracker” in the online enterprise category.

Walter Isaacson won in the book category for his Steve Jobs biography. Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo received an honorable mention in the book category for “Poor Economics.”

Brent Snavely, Greg Gardner and Chrissie Thompson for “GM-UAW Contract Negotiations” in Detroit Free Press  won in the breaking news category.

In medium and small newspapers, there were two winners: Raquel Rutledge, Rick Barrett, John Diedrich, Ben Poston and Mike de Sisti for “Shattered Trust” in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Spencer Soper and Scott Kraus for “Inside Amazon’s Warehouse” in The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa.

The Journal Sentinel’s John Fauber won in the beat reporting category for “‘Side Effects’ Beat Reporting.

Peter Elkind, Jennifer Reingold and Doris Burke won the Loeb in the magazine category for “Inside Pfizer’s Palace Coup” in Fortune.

Penelope Wang, Kim Clark and Lisa Gibbs won the Loeb in the personal finance category for “‘Protecting Your Parents’ Series“ in Money.

Zanny Minton Beddoes, Edward Carr, John Peet, Patrick Foulis and John O’Sullivan won the Loeb in the commentary category for “Euro Zone” in The Economist.

In the broadcast enterprise category, the winner is Laura Sydell and Alex Blumberg for “When Patents Attack,” a collaboration between NPR and This American Life.

“60 Minutes” won in the explanatory category, while Ken Bensinger for “Wheels of Fortune” in the Los Angeles Times won in the large newspaper category.

The awards are being handed out at a dinner in New York, and this prestigious award program recognizes and honors journalists who have made significant contributions to the understanding of business, finance and the economy.

The Economist’s digital strategy explained

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The Economist explains its digital strategy in a new post on its website by Oscar Grut.

Grut writes, “The web provides a completely different experience from print. Yes, visitors to Economist.com do read content there, but the web offers an interactive, snacking, lean-forward and, increasingly, a social and shared experience. That realization has taken us in a completely different direction online, where we now focus on giving readers the opportunity to read our journalism but also to engage with our journalists and with each other, not just on Economist.com but on Twitter and Facebook and elsewhere too. Happily, therefore, the web has been additive to the business rather than replacing print, and it has given us the ability to reach millions more people with our distinctive journalism and to begin to build a community among our readers.

“What is revolutionary for magazines like The Economist, however, is the reinvention of long-form reading triggered by Amazon when it launched Kindle in 2007 and fuelled dramatically by Apple’s iPad. We are fortunate because tablets, e-readers and smartphones allow our readers to enjoy the ritual, lean-back, immersive experience of reading The Economist that they love in print. Many of our readers tell us that this experience is, in fact, even better than print, because as well as being lean-back, digital editions are delivered immediately and reliably (much more so than via the postal service); the backlit screens display images, maps and charts beautifully; and the devices offer opportunities to innovate and deliver more functionality — so, for example, our tablet and smartphone apps also deliver the full newspaper in audio each week. (That said, we continue to proceed cautiously with extras, in terms of both functionality — we are always conscious of the importance of keeping the reading experience free from distractions — and content, because the weekly, finishable package is so important to our readers and no one ever complains that The Economist is too short!)

“Digital reading is likely to grow fast. Forrester predicts that by 2016 there will be 760m tablets and 1 billion smartphones in use. Last year, in a study we carried out among our subscribers in America, the vast majority of respondents told us that while at the time of the study their preferred way of reading The Economist was in print, over 60% expected that by 2013 their preference would be for a digital format.”

Read more here.

Quartz plans to break some molds

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Lucia Moses of Adweek looks at Quartz, the new business news site coming from The Atlantic.

Moses writes, “With the launch, Atlantic Media is opening up a second front in its battle with the Economist Group.

“The two brands already compete head-to-head in the white-hot Washington, D.C., market, where both have ramped up their government news and data products for Beltway elites.

“With Quartz, Atlantic Media believes there’s an opening for a ‘digital-first’ brand for the business set. It’ll have a website, but Quartz is seen as being primarily a mobile and tablet product, for the globe-trotting executive. Justin Smith, Atlantic Media president and a former Economist Group exec, said he’s targeting advertisers ranging from financial, energy and technology to luxury goods and automotive.

‘Under Kevin Delaney, the Wall Street Journal vet who was tapped as editor in chief, Quartz’s editorial approach also is taking shape, and like the business model, it also plans to break some molds. Delaney said rather than adopt a traditional beat structure, he’s going to organize coverage around certain big issues, like, say, the Chinese consumer, deemed to be of high interest to business readers.”

Read more here.

Remembering The Economist’s Peter David

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The latest issue of The Economist has a tribute to its Washington bureau chief, Peter David, who died earlier this month in a car accident.

It states, “Had Peter David come to pen his parting thoughts, he might well have reflected on American exceptionalism. Sadly, this column must now celebrate his own.

“To begin with there was his range. From leaders to book reviews, Peter spread himself thick. He joined The Economist in 1984 to write about science, then became a specialist writer on the Middle East, ran the paper’s business sections, turned Bagehot columnist as political editor, took over as foreign editor (‘the job I’m told I’ve always wanted’) and in 2009 moved to Washington, DC. He wrote special reports on everything from Islam to international banking.

“Some great journalists venture boldly into war zones. Peter did that occasionally, but his forte was to stride fearlessly across minefields of ideas. Politicians who dabbled in demagoguery — a shameless attempt by William Hague, then Britain’s opposition leader, to exploit the killing of an intruder, or Newt Gingrich’s bluster over plans for a mosque near the site of the twin towers in New York — quickly found themselves under fire. Peter’s two-page cover editorials, such as on the eve of the first Gulf war (‘Don’t save this face‘, January 12th 1991) or on the latest crisis between Arabs and Jews (‘The hundred years’ war‘, January 10th 2009), were models of mind-clearing prose. He shunned the limelight and left behind no great tome — indeed, he was fond of mocking the one volume he did write, a coffee-table book on the first Gulf war called ‘Triumph in the Desert’ — yet few people did more to shape this newspaper’s views on the great issues of geopolitics over the past quarter-century.”

Read more here.

Economist launches digital “Economist Radio”

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Steve Smith of MinOnline writes about how The Economist is expanding its digital offerings, including the launch this week of Economist Radio.

Smith writes, “Also surprisingly popular in the digital editions is a unique audio feature that reads articles to you and lets the user switch easily between the two modes. In fact, the audio experience has proven so compelling for Economist readers that the magazine introduced this week Economist Radio as a Facebook and Google Chrome app or available online. The content includes the best audio from the brand’s podcasts, live events and the digital editions. Again, it is about Lean Back 2.0.

“Rossi acknowledges that his is a content category that can get by without dense multimedia enhancement. But the modest enhancements that are here are all aimed at the specific use case and needs of his target audience. ‘It is about knowing the value that they play on you and delivering that,” he says. “Don’t confuse the idea that just because tablets can do all of these things that customers want them to do all of these things.’

“One thing that devices really don’t change about the magazine business is the nature of the value proposition of the content itself. Rossi says it is ‘what we unexcitedly call The Package.’ The curatorial function and editorial authority of the classic 169-year-young brand remains telling readers (sometimes listeners) ‘these are the things you need to worry about this week.’ The perennial genius of the magazine, whether in print or on a tablet, is that it is a finite experience. You put it down.

“His argument: ‘You can finish The Economist. You can’t finish The Huffington Post. The Internet is un-finishable.’”

Read more here.

Economist reveals digital edition subscribers

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Lucia Moses of Adweek writes Monday about The Economist and its digital edition subscribers.

Moses writes, “In addition to the print circulation stats that are in every magazine’s ABC Publisher’s Statement, The Economist’s CMR reveals that its digital edition averaged about 48,000 in sales for March—about 6 percent of total circulation, putting it at the high end of magazines. There were 255,000 readers. At $105 for an annual subscription, the digital edition commands a premium as the print does.

“Figures are for North America only. They refer to editions sold on the iPad, iPhone, Android and Kindle. They exclude The Economist’s replica editions that are sold on the Kindle Fire and Nook Color and Zinio subscriptions.

“‘What we wanted to do in putting it out is have some transparency,’ said Paul Rossi, managing director and evp, Americas, for The Economist. ‘No one is requiring them, but there is a lot of grumbling that [magazines] aren’t transparent and we aren’t giving them the information the agencies want.’

“Rossi shared other digital details not included in the report. He said that 70 percent of The Economist’s digital subscribers are not former print subscribers and that 20 percent of The Economist’s single copy sales are of back issues — evidence that digital platforms are expanding rather than cannibalizing the reader base.”

Read more here.

Economist hits 1 million Facebook fans

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The Economist has reached the milestone of 1 million fans on Facebook, reports T.J. Raphael of Folio magazine.

Raphael writes, “Nick Blunden, global publisher of digital editions for The Economist, says the print brand’s status has translated well to the social Web.

“The number is interesting — The Economist has a global circulation of 1.5 million, which includes print and digital figures, according to an Audit Bureau of Circulations July-December 2011 report. While the number of online fans could surpass that of actual circulation, The Economist is still coming out ahead of its competition: TIME  has just over 489,000 fans; The Wall Street Journal has just over 471,000 fans; The Atlantic with just over 91,000, and Bloomberg Businessweek with just over 47,500.

“‘We have focused, primarily, on the best ways and the most engaging ways to put content into social media and primarily Facebook,’ says Blunden. ‘Our view is that The Economist has always been a very social brand and had a great deal of social currency, even long before social media existed. People used to wander around with a copy of The Economist under their arm to signify they were interested in the world. Now, in the social media world, if you want to associate yourself with The Economist and show you’re interested in the world, you share our content on Facebook and Twitter. What Facebook has allowed us to do is unlock the inherent social value of our content.’

“Blunden says the best way for his brand to post content on Facebook is through timing and targeted editorial choices instead of taking content and posting it online as and when it becomes available.”

Read more here.