OLD Media Moves

BW made a mistake when it fired Bernstein

October 11, 2006

The New Republic’s John Judis wrote that BusinessWeek made a mistake two weeks ago when it laid off labor writer Aaron Bernstein.

Aaron BernsteinJudis wrote, “Bernstein was terrific at it. If you had wanted to follow the growing conflict between afl-cio President John Sweeney and his former protégé, Andy Stern (of the Service Employees International Union), you had to read Bernstein. In September 2004, well before the conflict burst into the open, Bernstein wrote a cover story on Stern for BusinessWeek.

“But Bernstein didn’t just cover the labor movement. He covered the ferment over trade, outsourcing, immigration, inequality and the minimum wage. He wrote cover stories for BusinessWeek about the growing income gap between workers and managers; he covered the backlash against globalization that led to the anti-World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle in 2000. For his reporting, he won Gerald Loeb and George Polks awards and accolades from the Overseas Press Club, the New York Press Club, and the Sidney Hillman Foundation.”

Later, Judis speculated about his firing: “A serious writer–and particularly one who writes about the American worker–has no place at a magazine that aspires to be the People of the business world.

“Perhaps this new BusinessWeek will make more money than the old. Then [Editor Stephen] Adler will be vindicated in the new cutthroat world of magazine publishing, which sees magazines as simply another commodity to sell. But I somehow doubt that a magazine named BusinessWeek can attract the narcissistic readers that advertisers love. My guess is that, under Adler, BusinessWeek will become a magazine that is neither particularly profitable nor socially useful. In any case, it has already lost at least one reader.”

Read more here.

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