Thursday, December 03, 2009

Goodbye BusinessWeek, Hello Bloomberg BusinessWeek


A new sheriff is in town

Just in case anyone cares, it's now official, BusinessWeek is now Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The above photograph of the reception area at BusinessWeek, by copy editor David Sleight and posted on Flickr, says it all.

According to David's caption on Flickr, "The morning the sale closed [Dec. 1], a work crew arrived and replaced the plexiglass logo. No time wasted there."

David's Flickr pages have dozens of other great pictures of BW as its 123 departing staffers packed their things and left.

Meanwhile I had, well, mixed feelings about a kind of backhanded tribute paid to me in the last issue of BW to appear on the stands. The inside spread of the cover story screams "Wall Street Versus America" in full-color, 80000 pt. type. Oh well, great minds think alike, and besides, to quote the great Boris Lermontov, it is "much more disheartening to have to steal than to be stolen from."

Also meanwhile, hints of the new Bloomified BW are emerging. The new magazine will have column by Charlie Rose, continuing in the somewhat dubious tradition of "celebrity" columnists that had plagued the magazine in its final, declining years.

Another significant personnel move: longtime BW editor and former ace writer John Byrne is leaving. He had been among the people offered jobs at Bloomberg, but he turned 'em down and is going off on his own. He posted a sobering Q&A with himself on his blog:
As tough as the past three years have been for traditional media, the next three are going to be nothing less than brutal: more closures, greater losses, increasing layoffs of highly talented journalists and editors.
I'm not sure that John is necessarily right, given how his views may be colored by BW's decline, but his sentiments bear watching. Meanwhile, he's starting a new venture:
It’s too early to tell everyone what our first products will be, but I do envision more than a single platform. It will be a network of niche products for the business audience with an emphasis on mobile applications. I think there are three core ingredients and all of them start with C which is why my company is called C-Change: content in the form of high quality, original journalism and opinion; curation of new content being published elsewhere in the world; and community based on highly engaged users.
Clear? I knew John before he talked like this. Personally, the only "platform" I use is the one under Sixth Avenue at West Fourth Street. But what the hey, it's a new world and all that, and I wish him all the luck in the world.

UPDATE: Talking Biz News describes the first issue, which came out Thursday night. As expected, the magazine now draws on the talents of the entire Bloomberg staff. This is the first time an integration like this has been attempted, and it will be interesting to see how it goes. BW lost some of its best people in a layoff that took place in late 2007, so the addition of Bloomberg resources will even up the scales.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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