OLD Media Moves

Bullish about business journalism

October 22, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Paul Pendergrass, who writes the Jack Flack blog that analyzes the relationship between PR people and business journalists on Conde Nast Portfolio‘s web site, was interviewed by PR Week’s Hamilton Nolan about business journalism.

Here is an excerpt:

Jack FlackPRWeek: What do you think about the ongoing changes business news landscape itself?

Pendergrass: I think it’s going through the same changes that the rest of the news is going through. You’re going to see a bifurcation between immediate news—speed, fast as you can, and then turning the crank to the next thing, on one end—and then the other pole, which is great, in-depth, analytical, long-form journalism. So I continue to see a lot of change. It’s going to keep changing for another 20 years. I don’t think anybody’s figured out the formula yet. But I also think a lot of the negativity that journalist have about their own industry is a little overwrought. The means of distribution are changing, and because of that there will be the classic sort of creative destruction. There are going to be good strong players that emerge that figure it out. People want news, people want analysis, people want to read stories.

Business, I think, has a better future. If you look at what’s happened to business news in the last 30 years—half the people in America are shareholders of some kind. It’s a huge change since the Seventies, and I think you’re going to see more and more of that going on around the world, where business news just becomes more important. It’s a small audience in the overall news audience, but it’s a lucrative audience. Those that figure out how to do it best are going to do well.

PRWeek: Portfolio itself has come in for some criticism in its short life—does it seem like a stable enterprise to you?

Pendergrass: I think it’s a very strong idea. Obviously you’ve got to make it work, but everything I’m seeing is it’s going to work. As an outsider to that world, I think the New York media world is one of the most intensely self-focused communities on the planet, and that the scrutiny that you undergo when you try to do anything of significance in that world is that you automatically gotta assume that you’re going to take a few arrows in the back coming out of the gate. And I think everybody I’ve come across at Portfolio is fairly savvy to that dynamic.

Read more here.

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