Multi-millionaire magazine publisher and presidential candidate Steve Forbes is a great believer in the power of the Internet.
Multi-millionaire magazine publisher and presidential candidate
Steve Forbes is a great believer in the power of the Internet.
Back in March, Forbes became the first person to announce his candidacy
on the Web. And he is also reinventing the Forbes business empire
While the magazine’s readers are around 45, the average reader of
Forbes.com is about 10 years younger. Online users, as opposed to print
readers, are more likely to be power breakfasting on marshmallow
Snoballs at home than eggs Benedict at the Four Seasons, as the ad
’It’s a new game,’ says the company’s advertising campaign. It focuses
on the ’no-salary earning, old underpants wearing, billionaire on paper,
CEO,’ nouveau riche of the Net. But though the readers of Forbes and
Forbes.com may have different tastes, they have one thing in common.
They want to know about money - who’s got it and how they can get
The site’s most popular story this year was the annual list of the
world’s richest people, which featured Bill Gates at the top with a cool
dollars 90 billion.
The story boosted the number of unique individuals visiting the site
from an average of 100,000 per day to 270,000.
The site also made a name for itself when Adam Penenberg, who writes for
Forbes magazine and Forbes.com, broke the story about the notorious
reporter Stephen Glass from the New Republic. Glass was given his
marching orders for fabricating stories.
But Forbes.com isn’t the only player in town. Trying to create a strong
business as well as a technology-oriented web site is a tough task with
the rivals lining up as thick as the stock quotes in the financial
Cnet, the Industry Standard, Red Herring and The Street.com are all
vying for a piece of the action.
Currently, Forbes.com does not charge for access. Content from the
magazine and its lifestyle and hi-tech supplements FYI and ASAP are
added online over the course of two weeks. A subscription charge for
access to certain areas is currently under consideration as management
figures out how to turn 2.5 million unique visitors per month into
Not a trendy start-up
The 40-strong web team works in a building not far from the Double Click
billboard on Fifth Avenue, at the edge of New York’s Silicon Alley. But
the office has little in common with other trendy dotcom start-ups. At
those less-than glamorous spaces, the reporters claim that they share
their office with mice and that only the sales executives get windows.
But Forbes.com is vacating its rented space to move somewhere a little
more in line with the new economy by September.
Although Forbes.com uses content from its paper-based bigger brother,
the web version competes for stories with the magazine, creating further
Editorial is overseen by editor David Churbuck and managing editor Steve
Johnson. The two head a team of around 20, who file between five and 15
stories a day on the fluctuating markets.
Johnson has had a long history with Forbes. The 36 year old spent many
years in banking before joining the magazine. He then leapt to the web
site as a finance writer and was later promoted.
This month he recruited two new staff, Jon Swartz from the San Francisco
Chronicle and John Shinal from Bloomberg. Swartz will focus on profiles
of computer industry titans, large cap tech companies and industry
trends.Shinal will cover a new area, virtual crime and Net hacking.
Johnson says that a host of developments are in the works: ’We are
planning to add new sections and break out some of the themes.
E-business is getting quite a big section. We may break down into
subsets and add telecoms and media groups.’
The features follow a rigid pattern with technology coverage appearing
on Mondays. The section is written by West Coast bureau chief David
Staff editor Charles Dubow writes on convergence, which appears on
Tuesdays while senior editor Om Malik files on start-ups on Wednesdays.
Malik’s coverage includes profiles of the computer industry small
timers, IPOs and venture capitalism. Swartz’s industry stories appears
Friday’s E-Business section is written by staff writer Penelope Patsuris
who covers Internet business plans and their impact on media politics,
law and popular culture. Managing editor Johnson is also hiring another
writer to cover personal finance on the weekends.
The reporters have a news meeting every morning after the 9:30 am news
deadline has been met. Feature ideas are knocked around on Tuesday
afternoons and are usually written around three days ahead of
If you are pitching to the site, Johnson warns that the Internet
reporters tend to hold the same skeptical views as their magazine
But he also encourages PR pros to follow up pitches with phone calls or
faxes. He explains his approach: ’We have a technology and financial
focus. We don’t do product reviews - we do company profiles. But we
leave the Ford Motors pieces to the magazine.’
Johnson is looking to develop the calendar section of the site, which is
a run-down of the week’s major financial events. He suggests PR pros
make contact with conferences and events to help make the section less
generic. PR pros are also free to contribute to the interactive forums
attached to the reporters’ work - they exist for readers to make
comments about their stories.
In commercial terms, Forbes.com is hoping to expand its business
relationships beyond editorial bounds. In June, the web site signed a
deal with financial information provider Stock Smart to offer a new
web-based information service titled Forbes Markets. The service will
combine online journalism with institutional-quality research and will
have both free and pay services.
Forbes also appointed Kevin McKean last month as executive editor.
McKean, joining from Time Inc.’s New Media division, will be responsible
for seeking out new business opportunities. Forbes.com may help boost
Steve Forbes’ place on next year’s rich list, if not his presidential
Forbes Digital Media
85 Fifth Avenue - 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003
Email:First name first initial of last email@example.com
Editor David Churbuck
Managing editor Steve Johnson
Executive editor Kevin McKean
West Coast bureau chief David Einstein (technology)
Start-ups Om Malik Convergence Charles Dubow
E-Business Penelope Patsuris Networking John Shinal Companies/technology
Staff editor (news) Marius Meland.