MEDIA PROFILE: They make the news everyone's business

Over its 71 years of existence, Business Week has become one of the most respected publications in the industry. Robin Londner discovers how it has earned that reputation

Over its 71 years of existence, Business Week has become one of the most respected publications in the industry. Robin Londner discovers how it has earned that reputation

Over its 71 years of existence, Business Week has become one of the most respected publications in the industry. Robin Londner discovers how it has earned that reputation

Marcia Vickers, an associate editor in the finance section at Business Week, would rather be pitched stories about the Nasdaq and NYSE than be told about a new product promotion.

'I can't tell you how many PR people call and think I cover marketing instead of the markets. It happens a lot,' says Vickers.

With 171 editorial employees at the New York headquarters, 51 correspondents in 15 US news bureaus and 22 international correspondents in 13 international bureaus, trying to figure out who covers what at Business Week can be a daunting process.

But staffers at the 71-year-old weekly business magazine pride themselves on analysis of fresh, timely material, which reaches Business Week's 8.2 million readers worldwide.

How issues emerge

Most deadlines are at the beginning of the week, with the exception of features, which usually close on Fridays. The book, owned by McGraw Hill, closes on Wednesdays.

Michelle Conlin, editor of the 'Working Life' section files her stories on Mondays. She says a pitch's timeliness is key. Conlin advises PR people to watch the news and then e-mail her, mentioning their new angle or idea in the subject header. Conlin's focus this year will be how the labor shortage intersecting with an economic slowdown will affect individuals and corporations.

'I came aboard during the heyday of the economy,' says Conlin. 'It was fascinating to cover the whole perks and pay bonanza and how so much power was being transferred to the employee. But now we're seeing an about-face. Now I'll be covering the dimmer side.'

Business Week's main departments include news and economic analysis, international business, science and technology, management trends and marketing, corporate strategies, government and personal business. However, if a story does not fit the Business Week mold, it might pay to pitch the magazine's two periodic supplement issues. Nine times a year, focuses on e-business trends, products and players. The other supplement, Frontier, comes out once or twice a month and covers issues facing entrepreneurs and small business owners. Frontier is not available on newsstands; it is mailed directly to Business Week subscribers who identify themselves as small-business oriented or working in a business with less than 100 employees. The Web sites for all three publications are updated every weekday, with most stories from print editions published on the Web sites on different days of the week.

What's news

Business Week's headquarters may be in New York, but many of the stories do not originate there. Thirty percent of the magazine's correspondents are posted to 28 bureaus worldwide. For example, media editor Tom Lowry gets many of his stories out of the Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago bureaus.

His special interest is how technology issues affect media and media consumers.

However, Lowry says he is not averse to unusual ideas.

'We tend to focus on large companies, but if there is a great media story to be told about an off-Broadway show, we'll cover that,' says Lowry.

'I don't want to rule anything out.'

Associate editor Vickers says the thing to remember in pitching stories to Business Week is its writers aim to break news, not re-hash things already covered in other business publications.

'We don't do puff pieces very often,' says Vickers. 'We try to do additional analysis and more investigative type pieces. That's Business Week at its best, when we dig deeper into a subject and come up with pieces that have not been covered before.'


Business Week, 1221 Ave. of the Americas 43rd floor, New York, NY 10020

Phone: (212) 512-6839

Fax: (212) 512-4938


E-mail: first name_last name@ (Check for exceptions)

Editor-in-chief: Stephen B. Shepard

Editorial page editor: Bruce Nussbaum

Department editors: Books: Hardy Green; Computers: David Rocks; The Corporation: Diane Brady, Nanette Byrnes; E-Business: Timothy J. Mullaney; Finance & Banking: Emily Thornton, Debra Sparks, Heather Timmons; Frontier: Larry Kanter, Robin D. Schatz; Industrial Management: Adam Aston; Internet: Spencer E. Ante; Management: Louis Lavelle; Markets & Investments: Mara Der Hovanesian; Media: Tom Lowry; News: John Protos; People: Susan Berfield; Personal Finance: Susan Scherreik, Anne Tergesen; Science: Ellen Licking; Scoreboards: Frederick F. Jespersen; Technology Strategies: Marcia Stepanek; Telecommunications: Steve Rosenbush; Up Front: Robert McNatt; Working Life: Michelle Conlin; Associate editor: Marcia Vickers (finance).

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