Thursday, October 01, 2009

Has BusinessWeek's Cavalry Finally Arrived?

Help may be on the way for BusinessWeek

Years ago, I used to work at a little Washington outfit called States News Service. It was perpetually struggling for survival, and the boss man always used to keep the staff at bay by saying that the "cavalry" was coming.

I was reminded of that when I read Tom Lowry's scoop in BW Online yesterday that Mort Zuckerman had thrown his hat in the ring. It had previously seemed that Bloomberg was the front runner, but Zuckerman is a serious contender who might actually be able to buy BusinessWeek.

What's refreshing, from a purely parochial media-watching point of view, is Tom's source: Mort Zuckerman. Not an "unnamed source close to the bidding process" (interested in manipulating the news to his or her own benefit) but the guy himself.

Also gratifying was that it was the first major scoop BW had achieved in covering its own sale (word of which first emerged on the Bloomberg wire, whose entry into the bidding was first reported by the NY Post's Keith Kelly).

What's surprising to me is that Rupert Murdoch hasn't expressed interest. BusinessWeek could be an even more significant megaphone for him than the Wall Street Journal, and there would be none of this nonsense about unenforceable editorial controls. He certainly doesn't mind losing money when he feels it's necessary. BW is one hell of a brand name. Odd.

Zuckerman told Keith Kelly that he put in a bid because he's a "junkie for journalism." That's something you don't hear much anymore, even for public relations purposes.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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