OLD Media Moves

Outgoing Economist editor speaks his mind

February 27, 2006

Bill EmmottBill Emmott, right, who announced earlier this month that he was stepping down as editor of The Economist magazine, spoke with Newsweek magazine about a range of topics in this week’s issue.

The Q&A format included this interesting item:

The Economist’s circulation has increased by more than 40 percent in North America over the last five years. How did you manage that with all the competition from Web news outlets?

Globalization has helped us a lot. Globalization expressed as fear and greed: fear of terrorism and greed in terms of new opportunities. I think this has increased the market for the kind of international, political and economic analysis that we offer. And we were starting at a low base [of circulation]. We’re now at more than 550,000 in the U.S., but we are still a niche magazine relative to the mass market. The other thing is that if you can find a crisp, accessible way to provide analysis of the world—whether it’s in print or online—then people are going to want you in such an information-overload world.

Read the entire interview here.

In an interview with the Observer, a British newspaper, Emmott described the magazine’s success in this way: “‘We try to give you two or three things in every issue that you hadn’t thought of,’ says Emmott. The aim is to produce a weekly agenda that marks readers’ cards, that gives information, attitude, policies and a coherent world view. The aim to tell you what you think you ought to know – but didn’t, and couldn’t find anyone else to break the news (while Time was trying to take on television for mass market glory).”

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