Interview: Beth Ewen

Beth Ewen, 43, has been a reporter since high school. Today she's the editor and co- founder of Upsize, a 20,000-reader small-business magazine in Minneapolis that competes with two other business journals in the same market.

Beth Ewen, 43, has been a reporter since high school. Today she's the editor and co- founder of Upsize, a 20,000-reader small-business magazine in Minneapolis that competes with two other business journals in the same market.

"I'm a business journalist covering small business, and I'm a small-business owner myself," she says. "That gives me a unique perspective on what I'm covering and the level of sophistication I'm trying to hit."

PRWeek: Tell us about Upsize.

Beth Ewen: It's 3 years old, and its mission is to help small-business owners build bigger and more profitable companies. Our definition of a small company is under 1,000 employees. We try to help them get bigger.

PRWeek: What do you need from PR people?

Ewen: I am always looking for straight access to the presidents and CEOs of these small companies, and I really depend on PR people to give me the skinny on who tells the real story. Small-business people are great in that they're not overmanaged. I love the PR people who get that. I want people who can really express their business philosophy. The magazine is trying to help other people.

PRWeek: What's your biggest pet peeve about PR people?

Ewen: The people who call me and say, "This person was featured on the cover of that other, competing business magazine, and you must put them on your cover now." I don't want to copycat other publications.

PRWeek: What's the best way to pitch you story ideas?

Ewen: A short e-mail paragraph about the business owner, especially something that can give me an idea of what that person is all about. And I always want company revenues. To me as a business journalist, that's basic information. We're always looking for that revenue figure - not necessarily earnings, but we do need to know the top line.

PRWeek: What's your publication schedule? When do you begin working on stories?

Ewen: We publish 10 times a year, with double issues in December and June and no January or July issue. I assign three months in advance of the publication date, and I'm thinking really hard about what I'm going to assign three-and-a-half months before publication.

I report and write about a quarter of every issue. I write an interesting first-person interview [for] the back [of the magazine]. I keep the most interesting assignments for myself.

I've been a reporter since 10th grade in North Dakota. Part of my joy in starting and running Upsize is that I get to be a reporter again.

PRWeek: What types of stories are you looking for?

Ewen: How-to is in everything we do. How long did it take them to start their company? Who did they talk to? What were things they did wrong? What worked out great? What are they going to do with all that money that [they] raised to start the company? We want to answer those types of questions in our stories. We also have a business advice column and publish three to five how-to contributed stories every issue, including a piece called "Lessons I Learned."

We're extremely parochial. We cover exclusively Minnesota-based business owners - 80% in the Twin Cities themselves, perhaps 20% out [of] state - and we've done some regional focuses.

Name: Beth Ewen

Magazine: Upsize

Title: Editor and cofounder

Preferred contact method: bewen@upsizemag.com

Website: www.upsizemag.com.

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