The realignment of the magazine segment of the business media continues today as BusinessWeek‘s new editor Josh Tyrangiel announced former Fortune Managing Editor Eric Pooley would become Deputy Editor of BusinessWeek and New York Magazine Editorial Director Hugo Lindgren would join him there as an Executive Editor.

The two hires are something of a confirmation that Norm Pearlstine’s role at Bloomberg is to bring in the talent to create a business franchise like the one Fortune magazine had during the 20th Century. Tyrangiel and Pooley have both worked closely with Pearlstine in the past; Pooley and Lindgren each spent their journalistic formative years at New York Magazine together. (Lindgren was also key contributor behind the scenes on Andrew Ross Sorkin’s bestseller Too Big to Fail.)

These hires fill the top of BusinessWeek’s masthead. Now they’ll have to get to work finding writers to put out the kind of magazine that fits their vision. Their timing couldn’t be better. The Wall Street Journal‘s franchise in the pre-Murdoch era was magazine-length stories that peeled back the inner-workings of companies, government and the economy. Now that Murdoch has abandoned those stories for a newsier newspaper, there’s a huge void.

With Fortune‘s advertising-drought induced retreat to 18 issues a year, the old stalwart doesn’t have the frequency or the visibility to step in where the WSJ used to be. That offers a big opportunity for Bloomberg and BusinessWeek if they can figure out the formula (and staff.)

That raises the last piece of the puzzle: promotion. Which also brings us to the question of what to do with BusinessWeek‘s website. Here’s how James Ledbetter put it on The Big Money this morning:

The external message seems to be that BW is going to put a premium on the high-quality writing that Pooley and Lindgren prize. That clearly can’t hurt the magazine, but it’s not necessarily what the publication truly needs. I wrote last year that Bloomberg’s purchase of BW was really all about the Web site. I still think that is largely true; the problem is that traffic to, while still formidable, is dropping rather steeply. Tyrangiel, who came from, knows he has to address this, and will probably do it with someone other than these two editors.

Interesting . . .

The BusinessWeek Supergroup
by James Ledbetter
The Big Money; January 29, 2010

Category: Financial Press

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7 Responses to “BizWeek Bulks Up”

  1. Joseph T says:

    Business Week got rid of Michael Mandel who used to offer a unique perspective on economics. Now with some exceptions, the magazine reads like a bunch of rehashed Associated Press stories.

  2. “…step in where the WSJ used to be. That offers a big opportunity for Bloomberg and BusinessWeek if they can figure out the formula (and staff.)”

    big ‘if’, big Reward, if they can pull it off.

    they should remember that BW’s archives are valuable, and put them to good use.

    for BBerg, the BW acq. is a good risk..

  3. Jojo says:

    As a long time BW subscriber, I find the quality of the magazine and the stories to be improving since Bloomberg took over.

    The mag seems more focused now with less nonsense. They’ve gotten rid of some fluff (including that sorry ass “economist” James Cooper and the Jack Welch & wifey corporate rah-rah column at the end). Also, have noticed no more photo’s of columnists.

    Yes, the website could use a redesign. The reader comment UI really needs to be revamped. McGraw Hill wasn’t exactly a paragon of good design skills.

  4. kaleberg says:

    I’m a big fan of Fortune magazine from the 1930s, their first decade. They came out monthly, and had lots of multi-page articles describing the nuts and bolts of various businesses. Back then they made cans, compressed gases, radios, cameras, leather, corn and pork, and the articles explained the product, the structure of the business, their costs, their profits, their internal conflicts and their history.

    The article on the pork business was excellent. I haven’t even seen an article on the pork business in years, but I know I can still buy pork, so surely someone is producing it. Did you know that they used the squeal for radio static? So much for that old canard about using everything but the squeal. In fact, the only thing they didn’t use was the paunch manure. They sold that to chemical processing specialists.

    There it was in one twelve page article: process, business, balance sheets, history, prospects. That was journalism, and it didn’t need to be yesterday’s news. Too much business coverage is about events, not business. In fact, most investors don’t have the slightest clue as to how the company’s they own make money. That’s what Fortune once covered, and the facts didn’t change from day to day. Fortune published monthly and offered great insights into the business world. I’d love to see a more modern version of such in-depth coverage.

  5. DM RTA says:

    I agree with your take on the WSJ. It was valued too high, and in order to run the store after the deal the business had to be changed (and yes, it has suffered compared to past days). A good analogy might be a cash rich property investor making a play for a property in a declining neighborhood (if that makes any sense). If you think about why this analogy fits, what it really says is that the changing needs of the market is what is being recognized. So the issue is really a product need…and less a promotion need. As channels of digital communications proliferate more focus should be placed upon both product design of content and how users interact with it. This may well sound obvious but it isn’t being done by cost conscious mangers worried about their jobs.

    The market for the WSJ’s old style articles you mentioned above is being absorbed by the blogs and website universe. The fish or cut bait challenge is how will they find you or should we find them? That’s the part of the media world evolving most quickly right now. Google readers or Netvibes? Surfing has become more occasional for many. Social media links? What design will funnel the demand effectively?
    I see obvious answers but most of the world is still broadcasting and not interacting yet….even though the technology suggests otherwise. In short the days of making it and retailing it are over. The consumer deserves better and its on its way. Your blog has been part of that process.

  6. DM RTA says:

    one more thing….

    the new iPay model will probably be a miss because the funnel is too wide.

  7. bsneath says:

    There is definitely a need for a higher quality business magazine. BW had become the McDonalds of business news with little in-depth or insightful reporting and analysis.

    Bloomberg has an excellent track record in business & financial info services and I’ll bet he turns BW around.

    I never could comprehend Mandel’s “intangible capital” thesis. I think it was an attempt to explain the results of what we now understand was a monumental liquidity bubble.