OLD Media Moves

The overhaul at Harvard Business Review

December 11, 2009

Stephanie Clifford of The New York Times writes Friday about the changes made at the Harvard Business Review to give it more appeal to a broader set of readers.

Clifford writes, “The first part of that is making Harvard Business Review more current.

“When the Review was founded in 1922, it dispensed Harvard Business School research to the public. Its scope widened over the years, but articles tended to be scholarly, rather than news driven. By January 2009, for example, ‘HBR had barely written a thing, even indirectly, about the economic crisis,’ Mr. Ignatius said. ‘There was a sense, in the past, that HBR should not be timely,’ he said. ‘It was the idea that research is ready when research is ready.’

“Mr. Ignatius changed the publication schedule so the magazine could close just three weeks before publication, rather than more than six weeks before. He is adding articles that reflect the times. For example, the January/February issue includes an argument from a top professor that shareholder-focused capitalism is ending.

“The second part is adding standard magazine rubrics. The list of articles has been knocked off the cover (Mr. Ignatius actually removed it this year). ‘The problem was that people look at the table of contents, scan it, and say, no, I’m not interested in it.’

“He is adding columns by the strategy professor C. K. Prahalad and the economist Dan Ariely, a page on someone outside the business world called ‘Life’s Work’ (Condoleezza Rice is the first subject), and a recurring feature called ‘Defend Your Research,’ where academics are quizzed about their studies. And he is arranging a few articles in issues around themes like reinvention and strategy during a weak recovery.”

Read more here.

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