OLD Media Moves

A BusinessWeek staffer offers his advice on fixing the magazine

July 16, 2009

Stephen Baker, a senior writer at BusinessWeek, offers some suggestions on how to improve the magazine now that it’s for sale, noting that he spent the bulk of his time this week on the “final 5 percent” — or tweaking and polishing an article right before it goes to print.

Baker writes, “The  future (or current) owners of BusinessWeek will have to figure out how to cut costs and fit the product to the readers’ varied needs. Much of this, of course, will occur online. But here I’m talking about the magazine, which still delivers most of the revenue and will have to sustain, at least for a while, much of the news operation that emerges from the painful process ahead.

“I see two possible solutions: communities and algorithms.

“First, communities: If we published the stories online earlier, before the last 5%, ‘the reader’ could tell us what he or she wants to know. We wouldn’t have to guess quite as much. Perhaps that process could inform what we eventually publish in the magazine.

“I’ll deal with the algorithms in a later post. It’s much more relevant to BusinessWeek.com than to the paper magazine. But suffice to say that plenty of sophisticated information companies are grappling with the idea of customizing news to individual readers.”

Read more here.

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