OLD Media Moves

How the business section interacts with readers

February 1, 2008

Posted by Chris Roush

The American Press Institute’s “Newspaper Next” project is about to issue an update, and the Newspaper Association of America’s A.S. Berman takes a look in Presstime at some strategies that appear to be working, including the Wichita Eagle’s business section.

Wichita EagleBerman wrote, “Lisa Fetter, advertising manager for The Wichita Eagle, remembers listening in on a focus group of local business leaders as they discussed her newspaper’s business coverage and the very fate of the Eagle’s business section. It was a sobering experience.

“In 2006, after years of printing a business section that carried a hodgepodge of consumer and business stories that lacked a clear target audience, newspaper staffers decided to retool it for an audience of business executives at the area’s local companies. What the focus group on the other side of the glass seemed to be saying was, ‘It’s about time,’ Fetter says. ‘It gave us a lot of wind beneath our wings to know we were on the right track.’

“With that reassurance, the newspaper, under the leadership of then-publisher Lou Heldman, launched Business Today in September 2006, a stand-alone, color-packed section that runs in the Eagle on Thursday. Other days, the business page is tucked inside the Metro section.

“Before Business Today, ‘our problem was consistency,’ says Business Editor Tom Shine. ‘Some days, the business section was packed with stories about local businesses, and other days, it was heavy on wire content about everything from personal finance to national business news.'”

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