Tag Archives: The Economist

Biz journalism apps engaging readers


Sean Callahan of BtoB Magazine writes about the success of media that have been at the forefront of rolling out applications for smart phones and tablets.

Callahan writes, “Since its debut, the Journal’s app has had about 1.1 million downloads, said Mark Fishkin, VP-digital sales for The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. The app updates with new content every 15 minutes, and about half of the app’s regular paid users visit it daily, he said.

“Pearson’s Financial Times rolled out its app last May, and it already has had 480,000 downloads. ‘We’re seeing [the app] drive our new digital subscribers,’ said Stephen Pinches, group product manager-emerging technologies for FT. ‘Over 10% of FT.com’s new digital subscribers are coming directly from the iPad.’

“Additionally, advertising on the iPad generates 20 times more click-throughs for FT than similar ads on the Web. ‘That’s huge,’ said Jon Slade, global digital and strategic advertising sales director for FT, who said the elevated click-throughs came not from the novelty of the iPad but from the nature of how people interact with the device. While Web users search for a specific piece of information, print readers are more engaged with the entire product, including ads.

“The Economist launched an app late last year, and while it includes video and audio attributes, it is essentially the weekly magazine transferred to the iPad. Oscar Grut, managing director of digital editions for The Economist, said the goal was to not muddy the magazine reading experience with constant news updates from the Web. ‘What our readers tell us is that they like that there’s a beginning and an end; there’s a ‘finishability’ to the experience,’ he said.”

Read more here.

Bloomberg Businessweek hires two staffers


Bloomberg Businessweek announced Tuesday that Ashlee Vance, former New York Times enterprise technology writer, and Brendan Greeley, former technology and policy correspondent at The Economist, have joined the magazine as staff writers.

“Ashlee and Brendan are incredibly talented reporters with deep knowledge of their industries,” said editor Josh Tyrangiel in a statement. “I’m thrilled to have them join our editorial team.”

Prior to joining Bloomberg Businessweek, Vance was a reporter for the New York Times covering enterprise technology.

Vance joined The New York Times in 2008 after working for five years as editor of The Register, a British technology Web site. Vance is also the author of Geek Silicon Valley and has written freelance stories on technology for The Economist.

Greeley joins Bloomberg Businessweek from The Economist, where he’s spent the past three years as technology and policy correspondent. Greeley also launched, edited, and contributed to the publication’s Babbage blog. Before joining The Economist, Greeley was “blogger in chief” for the Web version of “Open Source,” the Public Radio International program.

Write for the Economist


OK, so it’s only 30 characters, but the Economist is holding a contest for the best photo caption for its next issue.

Here are the details:

“READERS often assume that The Economist has a dedicated department of skilled wordsmiths who hone its humorous picture captions. Actually, we just make them up on the spot, usually in the Thursday-morning hubbub as the newspaper goes to press.

“Our journalists receive no special training in caption-writing, which suggests that anyone with suitably disrespectful instincts can do it. This week we intend to put this theory to the test by asking you, our readers, to write a caption for this picture. It will illustrate an article in our International section about the growth of road-safety vigilantism (or public-spirited individuals trying to prevent drivers from speeding, depending on your point of view).

“We have chosen a suitably silly picture, but it’s up to you to provide the words. Please suggest a caption in the comments thread below. It should be short and snappy, and no more than about 40 30 (including spaces) characters long (the width of a single column of text on a standard Economist page). We will choose the best caption and use it in this week’s print edition—so you’ve got about 48 hours. The only reward is that the winner can then truthfully claim to have written (at least a few words) for The Economist. Over to you.”

Go here to post your caption.

Top biotech writers named


FierceBiotech, a web site that covers the biotechnology industry, has named its top biotech beat reporters.

They are:

1. Adam Feuerstein, TheStreet.com

Writes John Carroll of FierceBiotech: “While he doesn’t always get it right — and no one can — his analysis of these companies cannot be ignored. Few biotech writers have his grasp of the issues and his understanding of the key players. Feuerstein also has excellent sources on Wall Street to tip him off on key events. And woe unto the CEO that incurs his scorn, which is seemingly endless. No one delights more in calling out a CEO with feet of clay, which is why TheStreet is both respected and feared.

2. Matthew Herper, Forbes

Writes Carroll: “Knowledgeable, opinionated and a careful student of drug science, when Herper has something to say, he has an uncanny knack at zeroing in on the crux of every issue. “

3. Ben Hirschler, Reuters

Writes Carroll: “Hirschler can spot a trend better than virtually anyone else in this business, and he’s not the least bit reluctant to tell readers the bottom line on the news regarding critical data or a pending M&A move.”

4. Robert Langreth, Forbes

5. Derek Lowe, In the Pipeline

6. Andrew Pollack, New York  Times

7. Ed Silverman, Pharmalot

8. Luke Timmerman, Xconomy

Read more here.

Seven classic bad calls in business journalism


Charles Wallace of DailyFinance.com has compiled a list of the seven worst “calls” made in business journalism, further proof that business reporters should never get in the prognostication business.

Here is part of his list:

2.Time magazine anointed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos “Man of the Year” on Dec. 27, 1999. Just a week earlier, Amazon stock hit a high of $113 a share. By Oct. 1, 2001 the stock was trading for $5.51.

3. Time
ran a cover story on June 13, 2005, called “Home $weet Home,” which explained “why we’re going gaga over real estate.” If you went out and bought a condo on that news, you could be underwater: Average house prices plummeted 28% in the ensuing five years.. (And TIme‘s cover this past Sept. 11, “The Case Against Homeownership,” may be a signal to buy.)

4. Time has also been behind the curve on the auto industry. Its Nov. 9, 1992, cover was entitled “Can GM Survive in Today’s World?” After that piece ran, GM stock rose 60%. This was followed a year later, in December 1993, by “Autos: Back on the Fast Track,” when the industry really began to run out of gas.

5. The Economist, ever the highbrow, can still be a contrary indicator. In March 1999, the magazine published a cover story headlined “Drowning in Oil.” “The world is awash with the stuff and it is likely to remain so,” the Economist predicted. At the time, oil sold for the rock-bottom price of $10 a barrel. It’s $83 today.

Read more here to find out who is No. 1.

Biz magazines outperform industry in third quarter



The 14 business magazines that report advertising data to the Publishers Information Bureau outperformed the rest of the magazine industry, according to data released Monday that was analyzed by Talking Biz News.

The magazines reported a 7.9 percent increase in advertising revenue and a 5.4 percent rise in advertising pages. That compares to a 5.3 percent increase in ad revenue and a 3.6 percent increase in ad pages for the overall magazine industry.

Only Bloomberg Businessweek and Fortune reported declines in advertising revenue and ad pages for the quarter. The biggest gains were recorded by Black Enterprise, which saw a 39.9 percent jump in ad revenue to $8.25 million and a 45 percent increase in ad pages to 179.77 for the quarter, and Wired, which recorded a 45.8 percent increase in ad revenue to $20.9 million and a 32.8 percent increase in ad pages to 211.06.

Fortune retained its position as the business magazine with the most ad revenue — it had $50.8 million for the quarter. But The Economist sold the most ad pages, passing Fortune during the quarter. It sold 405.48 pages, compared to 398.44 pages for Fortune.

Forbes reported the strongest gains among the big players in the sector. It had a 6.9 percent increase in ad revenue to $42.4 million and a 0.7 percent increase in ad pages to 305.78.

By comparison, Bloomberg Businessweek reported a 5.2 percent drop in ad revenue to $33 million and a 9.3 percent drop in ad pages to 244.64. Fortune reported a 2.3 percent drop in ad revenue and an 8.5 percent decline in ad pages.

Among the personal finance magazines, Money reported the biggest increase in ad revenue — up 7.6 percent to $30.2 million — while Kiplinger’s Personal Finance had the biggest gain in ad pages — up 2.5 percent to 64.31.

Barron’s recorded strong gains as well. Its ad revenue rose 22.5 percent to $10.8 million, and its ad pages rose 16.2 percent to 229.34.

See all of the data here.

Economist, Businessweek, Harvard Business Review win Olin prizes


The Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis announced the winners of the first Olin Corporate Strategy Prize honoring the best business journalism covering a company experiencing significant strategic change.

The business school hopes the annual prize will help to expand awareness and understanding among business school students and the general business public about the importance of successful strategic change to the ongoing vitality and competitiveness of the firm.

The winners of the 2010 Olin Corporate Strategy Prize are:

1st prize: “The World According to Chambers,” a profile of Cisco Systems by Ludwig Siegele, technology correspondent at The Economist.

2nd prize: “The Transformer: Why VW is the Car Giant to Watch,” a profile of Volkswagen by David Welch, Detroit bureau chief at Bloomberg Businessweek.

3rd prize: “How GE Teaches Teams to Lead,” a profile of General Electric by Steven Prokesch, senior editor at Harvard Business Review.

“This new prize provides a wonderful opportunity for the worlds of academia, business and media to intersect,” says Mahendra R. Gupta, PhD, dean of the Olin Business School and the Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor of Accounting and Management, in a statement. “It allows us to spotlight today’s best reporting on leaders who are managing strategic change and to share those examples with our students who are tomorrow’s business leaders.”

The Olin Corporate Strategy Prize grants honorariums of $5,000 to the first prize winner, $3,500 to the second prize winner and $1,500 to the third prize winner. Submissions were received from leading business publications worldwide and judged by a distinguished panel of leading journalists, journalism professors, business leaders and faculty.

Read more here.

The job of economics writers??


Ryan Avent, who writes the “Free Exchange” blog for The Economist, has a commentary Monday where he ends with a statement about the role of economics writers.

Avent writes, “There is a growing sense of despair among some economic writers that policymakers will not do much more to bolster the flagging global recovery. And critics who note the limits of policy intervention have a bit of a point—not all of the shortfall in demand and employment can be fixed by government intervention. But much of it can be and should be. And if it isn’t, that’s not because we lack the ability to conceive of helpful policies. It’s because policymakers are unwilling to do what they should be doing.

“It’s not the job of the economics journalist to take that as a given and declare that America will have to muddle through. It’s their job to correctly identify the problem, and name the names of those causing it.”

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones replies, “But while columnists certainly have a responsibility to explain political realities to their readers, they have an even stronger responsibility to explain the economic realities as they see them. If they legitimately think there’s nothing more that can be done, fine. But if they don’t, they shouldn’t use politics as a cover for throwing up their hands. The federal government can’t wave a magic wand and make everything OK, but there are still plenty of things left in its armory. We don’t have to accept 8-10% unemployment for the next four years if we don’t want to.”

Economist to launch iPad, iPhone apps later this year


Rob O’Regan of EMedia Vitals reports that The Economist will launch iPhone and iPad applications later this year.

O’Regan writes, “The goal of the new apps is to replicate the magazine experience, while taking advantage of the devices’ unique features. ‘As closely as possible, we want it to feel like you’re reading The Economist in print,’ said Oscar Grut, the Economist Group’s managing director of digital editions.

“Grut believes the iPad and other e-readers like the Kindle offer an opportunity to replicate the lean-back experience of the print magazine.

“‘The strong message we’re seeing is that people are using these devices in a completely different way than they use desktops,’ he said. ‘We’re seeing increasing evidence of the enjoyment people derive from reading on these devices. For us it’s a complete departure from the old world of digital. It’s much more like print.’

“Which, of course, plays right into the type of analytical, long-form journalism The Economist offers.”

Read more here.

Selling the Economist to new U.S. readers


Jeremy Peters of the New York Times writes about The Economist, which is looking for new subscribers in markets across the United States.

Peters writes, “About four years ago they began focusing on large urban areas like Austin, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, places that also happen to have well-educated populations that are likely to find The Economist’s global perspective appealing.

“The magazine’s branding executives have also carefully selected what stores can carry it, and not just any supermarket or general merchandise store will suffice. Two they selected were Whole Foods, the high-end, high-price organic food chain, and Costco, a warehouse club.

“‘Whole Foods is actually a psychographic, not a demographic,’ said Paul Rossi, The Economist’s managing director and executive vice president for the Americas. ‘One of the things people say is, ‘You go after an affluent audience.’ But we don’t define our audience by their demographic. We define our audience based on what they think.’

“He said that above all else the magazine’s marketing tries to stir intellectual curiosity. But he acknowledged that some will inevitably see The Economist as a status symbol. ‘For some people it will be a badge, for some it won’t,’ he said, adding that the magazine does not intentionally shoot for that image. ‘If we ever started to market ourselves to be cool, it would fail.’”

Read more here.