Tag Archives: TheStreet.com

Changes at TheStreet.com beginning under new editor Inman

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

William Inman was named the editor in chief of TheStreet.com, replacing Glenn Hall in a move shortly after the financial news and information company also hired a new chief executive officer.

Inman had resigned as editor of Institutional Investor in January. He joined the publication in March 2009.

Before that, he spent 17-plus years at Bloomberg News, where he created a content publishing unit — eventually including magazines, books, and a public website.

He had been a reporter for United Press International, where he was nominated for Pulitzer prizes for stories on organized crime, Russian import/export corruption and Pentagon contract abuses. He was also once North American editor of  Business magazine, a joint venture between Conde Nast and the Financial Times.

Inman spoke Thursday by e-mail with Talking Biz News about his plans for the editorial side of TheStreet.com. What follows is an edited transcript.

Why did you accept the job as editor in chief of TheStreet.com?

It has a great brand and editorial tradition, with some obvious areas that could be improved.

As an outsider, what did you perceive as its editorial strengths?

Its core coverage – stock picking, plus some notable category strengths, among these gold, biotech, emerging markets, technology.

What were its weaknesses?

IMHO it lost the markets focus that was a founding mandate 15 years ago. Somehow the line got blurred about what constituted good investment coverage. Previously, for instance, we posted stories on luxury travel and brands of whiskey, even celebrities at play.

Clearly some of these were driven purely by advertising, but the shift in focus did a disservice IMO to our traditional reader – the non-professional individual investor. So we have returned to our roots in a sense … I also felt there was a tendency toward compartmentalization that hurt coverage.

Previously, for instance, there was a small team in Boston that handled ALL of editorial’s social media contacts. Now everybody finds time to tweet and post stories on Facebook, Google plus, Pinterest, etc.

Lastly, I was keen on bringing back the joy of solid, impactful journalism–encouraging more wins, scoops, hard-edged reporting that changes things for the better.

What have you been working on in your first month on the job?

Doing a pivot from a large, full-time staff with few contributors and specialist writers, to a smaller core staff and many, many more expert contributors. (Editor’s note: There were layoffs at TheStreet.com recently.)

With a new CEO, is the strategy of TheStreet.com changing?

Yes, along the same lines as editorial—–creating a core body of staffers supplemented by best contractors.

How does editorial fit into the company’s overall strategy?

One and the same

How has the program of providing editorial content to newspaper web sites help?

It broadens readership, brand awareness and opportunities via revenue sharing.

How will you tweak the editorial strategy of the company?

It will become a focus on telling smart people things they don’t already know about the markets.

Is the future of business news more paid online content?

I think a balance. There are still tremendous opportunities selling advertising on a popular free site. By building that audience, we also expand the pool of potential subscribers — a strategy Bloomberg has used effectively.

One of the company’s big attractions is Jim Cramer. How do you keep him involved in editorial?

Jim Cramer is our greatest strength, but he won’t always be around. So I’m seeking to grow editorial talent – future Jim Cramers if you will. That is no easy task.

Where would you like to see TheStreet.com’s editorial content in five years?

Mobile and global.

Layoffs hit TheStreet.com

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Nicholas  Carlson of Business Insider is reporting that there are huge layoffs occurring at TheStreet.com, which earlier this month named a new CEO and a new editor in chief.

Carlson writes, “A source in contact with TheStreet.com employees says it has cut all of its Main Street staff, three people in Boston, and some tech employees.

“‘Apparently there was some bouncer guy in the hallway in case anyone lost it,’ says a source.

“Layoffs suck and we’re sorry to hear anyone is having to go through this today.

“We’d go over the names of people we’ve been told who are laid off, but it’s easier to say who is staying.

“People who will remain at the company include: Chris Westfall (finance editor), Dan Freed, Shanthi Bharatwaj, Antoine Gara in finance reporting,  and James Rogers, Deb Borschardt in tech. Video producer Gregg Greenberg will also remain.

“TheStreet.com declined to comment.”

Read more here.

The Street names Inman new editor in chief

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

William Inman, the former editor in chief of Institutional Investor magazine, has been named the editor in chief of TheStreet.com, Talking Biz News has learned.

Inman replaces Glenn Hall,  who joined TheStreet.com in June 2008. A news release has not been issued, but Inman has changed his title on his LinkedIn page. It is unclear at this point what Hall will be doing, but Talking Biz News has been told that the editorial staff is aware of the change.

UPDATE: In an e-mail to Talking Biz News late Tuesday, Hall said, “Bill, who I knew during my decade with Bloomberg News, has a depth of experience and journalistic integrity that I admire and respect. I look forward to seeing TheStreet prosper and grow under the leadership team being assembled by new CEO Elisabeth DeMarse. I will provide them with my full support during the transition.”

The news comes less than a week after the New York-based company, which was founded in 1996, named a new chief executive officer, Elisabeth DeMarse.

DeMarse knew Inman from their time together at Bloomberg, where DeMarse was head of marketing and launched a series of Bloomberg cartoon books with The New Yorker. She also ran Bloomberg Personal Finance.

Inman had left Institutional Investor in January. He joined the publication in March 2009. Before that, he spent 17-plus years at Bloomberg News, where he created a content publishing unit — eventually including magazines, books, and a public website. He had been a reporter for United Press International, where he was nominated for Pulitzer prizes for stories on organized crime, Russian import/export corruption and Pentagon contract abuses.

He was also once North American editor of  Business magazine, a joint venture between Conde Nast and the Financial Times.

Hall had been pushing TheStreet.com editorial content into other delivery formats, striking deals with newspaper companies to publish the financial news site’s content on the business sections of newspaper websites.

For example, in October TheStreet struck a deal with GateHouse, formerly Liberty Group Publishing, to publish its content across its 79 newspapers. Its newspapers include the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin, the Register-Mail in Galesburg, Ill., the Rockford Register-Star in Rockford, Ill., and the Quincy (Mass.) Patriot-Ledger.

According to the company’s fourth quarter earnings call last week, the business desk service is now at more than 230 sites, including the Dallas Morning News, Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News.

TheStreet had revenue of $57.7 million in 2011 and a net loss of $8.2 million after losing $5.4 million in 2010. It has not recorded a profit for an entire fiscal year since 2008.

The company’s shares were trading at $1.89, up 4 cents, in late Tuesday afternoon trading.

TheStreet.com names new CEO

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Elisabeth DeMarse has been named the new CEO of TheStreet.com, effectively immediately. She replaces Daryl Otte.

A story on the financial news company’s website states, “Otte announced plans to step down by the end of March. DeMarse has previously served as CEO of Bankrate and CreditCards.com.

“‘We are thrilled to announce that Elisabeth will be leading the Company in the next phase of its growth,’ Woody Marshall, chairman of TheStreet, said in a press release. ‘Elisabeth is an ideal fit for this key role at the Company — a highly experienced and tremendously skilled digital media executive with a deep background in the financial information vertical.’

“DeMarse praised TheStreet’s ‘fantastic collection of assets,’ saying in a statement that the company ‘is a pioneer in the field with a strong and recognized brand and has a unique position as a nimble, independent, purely digital player in a high-value media vertical. Moreover, the company immensely benefits from the many contributions of its founder and director, Jim Cramer, a true market savant who is certainly the most recognized personality in financial media.’

“TheStreet shares closed Wednesday’s regular trading session at $1.80.”

Read more here.

How to write for specific financial media

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Joshua Brown writes on his Reformed Broker blog about what it takes to write for specific financial media outlets.

Here are some of his examples:

“How to write a stock article for CNNMoney or MarketWatch: Line up quotes from a bull and a bear on a given stock – give a paragraph to each to state their case on the company, conclude by saying it’s too early to tell who’s right.

“How to write a column in Barron’s: Take a random statistic from Bespoke Investment Group.  Use it to tell a story.  Nap the rest of the week until deadline.  Wake up and repeat.

“How to write a book on investing: Grab your favorite rules and ideas from a few of the other 20,000 books on investing that came before yours.  No one will notice and the rules are evergreen anyway so they probably should be repeated.  Have your PR agent send me an email about your book twice a day until they get the auto-responder announcing my premature and tragic death.

“How to write for Motley Fool: For your subject, pick a stock with a high message board-to-headline ratio on Yahoo Finance (thus guaranteeing interest and clicks).  Promote the CAPS community within the first paragraph, the last paragraph should essentially be an ad for Hidden Gems or Rule Breakers of some such newsletter product.

“How to write for TheStreet.com: Be Doug Kass.

“How to write for the Forbes or HuffPo network:  Doesn’t matter, it’ll be buried amid seven million other pieces of content, no one will read it.”

Read more here.

Top 10 biz journalism events for 2011

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

Here are the top 10 events in business journalism in the past 12 months:

10. Randall Lane’s hiring as editor of Forbes in August. The business magazine has undergone a design and conceptual overhaul under Lewis Dvorkin. Now it’s time for Lane to execute with improved content that will draw in readers.
 
9. TheStreet.com strikes content deals. The financial news site is now providing stories and other content to newspapers owned by Gatehouse Media, Freedom, and the Journal Register Co., among others, in its bid to become the business news section of the Internet. It’s a strategy that bears watching as the company looks for a new CEO.
 
8. Reuters expands its staff. Under new editor Stephen Adler, the business wire has been hiring new reporters and editors, including many who used to work at The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones, Adler’s former employer, such as former Journal front page editor Alix Freedman. It’s caused some grousing by long-time Reuters staffers as the two cultures collide.
 
7. Michael Arrington leaves Tech Crunch. The tech blog is now owned by AOL, and founder Arrington left after he decided to run a venture capital fund investing in tech companies. The potential conflict of interest raised many questions and caused a rift with the site’s staff, which
 
6. New York Times biz section doesn’t rebuild, it reloads.  Business editor Larry Ingrassia hired Amy Chozick and Nick Wingfield from The Journal and Quentin Hardy from Forbes. It also plucked Charlotte Observer business editor Patrick Scott to be finance editor. But the hiring of Pulitzer winner Jim Stewart as Saturday columnist shows that the paper still is a force to be reckoned with.
 
5. “Nightly Business Report” overhaul. The business news show seen on more than 250 PBS stations opened new bureaus, introduced new segments and  trimmed its staff, firing its managing editor. It was also sold for the second time in two years.
 
4. Wall Street Journal publisher Les Hinton resigns. Hinton was also the CEO of Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Journal, Marketwatch.com, Barron’s and Dow Jones Newswires. He got caught up in the News Corp. phone hacking scandal occurring in Britain, leaving a management void at the top of the business news operation.
 
3. Death of CNBC anchor Mark Haines. Haines took no crap from his colleagues and the guests he interviewed on CNBC. His untimely departure from the No. 1 business news network has left a big void that has yet to be filled.
 
2. Pulitzer wins by biz journalists. There were four winners and five finalists of the Pulitzer Prizes that were forms of business journalism, from investigative pieces to commentary to editorial writing about business and economics news and issues.  It’s the best showing for business journalism in the history of the awards.
 
1. New technology transforms biz journalism. Stories, charts, graphs and other business journalism content is no longer just delivered by newspapers, magazines and websites. It’s now found on cell phone apps, tablets and various other gadgets, transforming how the content is produced and how it is digested, which has forced some business media to change how they report and write their content.

TheStreet.com targeted by activist investor as CEO steps down

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TheStreet.com, which today announced that CEO Daryl Otte is stepping down, is under attack by an activist investment fund called FiveT Capital, reports Eric Savitz of Forbes.

Savitz writes, “The Zurich-based fund, run a German investor named Johannes Minho Roth, has acquired a 6.3% stake in the company. FiveT disclosed the stake in a form 13D filing with the SEC.

“The filing included a copy of a letter the firm sent to the board of TheStreet, agitating for change and requesting a board seat. The letter points out that the company’s market cap is less than its balance sheet cash, and suggesting that the company’s assets might be worth more sold off in pieces.

“Here’s a copy of the letter:

To the Members of the Board,

As strategic investors, we (FiveT Capital AG, the Advisor of the FiveMore Fund) believe in the long-term perspectives of TheStreet. However, after years of patience, we now feel the time has come to take immediate action and are expressing our views to the board in public.

TheStreet is in urgent need of a strategic and financial review to ascertain best options for shareholders.”

Read more here.

A new business news term?

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TheStreet.com‘s top headline for the unified central bank action taken Wednesday morning coins a new word.

Is this something that your media organization would use as well?

WSJ’s coverage of AT&T beats that from NYT

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TheStreet.com media critic Marek Fuchs thinks that The Wall Street Journal did a better job than The New York Times in covering news from AT&T during the Thanksgiving break.

TheStreet.com plans to become the Internet business section

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Daryl Otte, the CEO of TheStreet.com, discussed the financial news information company’s strategy of providing its content to other media providers during the company’s earnings conference call on Wednesday.

Otte said:

TheStreet sites performed well in terms of user engagement as measured by time per visit for the quarter, ranking among the top of the leaders in our field. Engagement is an important measure of the intensity and interest with which users consume contents on a site. And our performance in this statistic shows that as we grow audience size, we are retaining quality.

Our robust traffic growth is due in part to investments we have continued to make in improving natural search discovery of our content, the rollout of our new mobile offering and expanded third party content distribution arrangements. These three sources deliver new high quality qualified users. And as a group have become an important source of audience for us in recent quarters.

Let’s turn follow our business we know that we are increasing the size of our audience via content distribution agreements to withstand some important new deals or signs in this past quarter. Among them are arrangements with a variety of horizontal news outlets including large newspaper chains, such as Gatehouse, Media Network and Freedom Communications.

These agreements when fully implemented present an opportunity for significantly expanded distribution of the company’s content putting it in front of the incremental quality audiences. Many of these arrangements were signed in conjunction with the rollout of our newly launched TheStreet Business Desk service, which is the right offering at the right time in my view for horizontal quality publishers seeking comprehensive business and market coverage for their audiences.

We ended the quarter with agreements for this service, which will bring a number of instances for the service to over 300. You will begin to see them online soon as we have built some proprietary technology to develop and manage these quite efficiently. Even after its current early stage of our build-out TheStreet Business Desk, will reach an unduplicated national business audience of scale reaching underserved audiences in high economic pockets in 2016. With the rollout of this new service TheStreet is becoming the internet business section.

Read the full transcript here.