OLD Media Moves

Byrne: Business journalism will rise again, but online

February 1, 2010

Former BusinessWeek executive editor John Byrne writes in the latest issue of PRWeek that he believes that business journalism, despite the monetary and staff losses from the past few years, will return to its glory days soon, but it will be on the Internet.

Byrne writes, “Amid all the havoc and pain, I’ll make a bold prediction: Over the next three years, we’re going to witness one of the biggest booms in media ever. It will occur not in print, of course, but in the online world. And it will largely be fueled by forced media entrepreneurs, laid-off writers and editors, lower barriers to entry, and the opportunity for tens of thousands of well-trained journalists to create something of value that they can run and own.

“That old line about freedom of the press belonging only to those who own a press is just that — old. For years now, pretty much anyone with access to a computer and the Internet owns a press. But there was still a missing ingredient: vast numbers of journalists with the courage and skill to use the Web to do their own thing. That’s much less true today. Many laid-off journalists will not be able to find jobs in the field; they’ll have to invent their jobs, resulting in this new media boom.

“A funny thing happened after Bloomberg laid off more than a third of BusinessWeek‘s editorial staff in early December: longtime journalists and editors who were axed began launching their own mini-publishing enterprises. The title’s veteran books editor, Hardy Green, started a blog, Business Books Guy. Tech and You columnist Steve Wildstrom began blogging at Steve Wildstrom on Tech and accepted a deal to blog at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show for chipmaker Nvidia. As BusinessWeek.com’s former editor-in-chief, I launched C-Change Media to build a network of new business sites online.”

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