OLD Media Moves

What's really wrong with BusinessWeek

July 15, 2009

Former BusinessWeek staffer Gary Weiss responds to Fast Company co-founder Alan Webber‘s solutions for what ails the business glossy now up for sale with his own analysis of the situation.

Weiss writes, “Webber says ‘Most of all, BW needs to create a franchise.’ Excuse me? BW had a franchise before Adler came on board, and that franchise has since evaporated. I have nothing against the guy personally (I’ve never met him, and I left BW before he came on board), but that’s a fact.

“BW’s franchise, which it built up in the 1980s and 1990s, was an emphasis on interpretive reporting and scoops. Sure, good stories appeared and BW continued to break news in recent years, but it didn’t seem to do very much good. The damage was done. True, Adler didn’t have the ad pages and money that Shepard had in the 1990s. But my feeling is that his 2007 redesign went in the wrong direction, that he made a mistake by building up a bureaucracy of middle-management while staff was being chopped, that the new columns were a waste, and that he generally did not make optimal use of the magazine’s resources and brainpower.

“It’s a shame, and hopefully the new owner, if there is one, will recognize what went wrong and act accordingly. Personally I’d like to see something of the old BusinessWeek spirit revived, which is why the idea of BW coming under Joe Mansueto, publisher of Fast Company, appeals to me.”

Read more here.

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