JOURNALIST Q&A: Joel Dreyfuss

Silicon Valley is determined not to make the mistakes it made during the tech boom.

Silicon Valley is determined not to make the mistakes it made during the tech boom.

The same can be said for Red Herring. Rising from the ashes of the dot-com bust, the title reappeared in late October as a bi-weekly, with plans to go weekly in 2005. Editor Joel Dreyfuss, who has worked for Bloomberg, Fortune, InformationWeek, USA Today, and The Washington Post, feels the magazine, with a new staff and new backers, can exist in a publishing world where 600-page magazines are a memory. PRWeek: What interested you in working for Red Herring? Joel Dreyfuss: I know the tech area pretty well. I also thought Red Herring was a great brand name. It's the first publication to start with a well-known name. PRWeek: How would you describe the new Red Herring? Dreyfuss: We want to maintain the core competency, which is writing about the financing of technology. At the boom's peak, the focus was on venture money. Part of that mission we want to continue. But we're not all venture-based. We'll also look at different kinds of start-ups, M&As, looking at smaller companies that have merged into larger ones. The magazine also has to be much more global, which is a reflection on how the industry has changed. People said [the previous Red Herring] was a little more parochial. PRWeek: What challenges come in relaunching Red Herring? Dreyfuss: The magazine went bankrupt - a reflection not on editorial, but on management. They over-expanded and ultimately ran out of money. As tech advertising collapsed, the title couldn't shrink itself fast enough. No doubt they had established a loyal base of readers. PRWeek: What's your take on the tech-media landscape right now? Dreyfuss: The industry suffered from the same thing as Red Herring - it thought the boom would last forever. The industry's excesses affected publishing. All of tech publishing was used to double-digit growth in ad spending and IT buying. All titles got fat and routinely put out 500-page issues. All of them are slimmer now. But new challenges exist. Corporate issues are more complex to cover. And the product publications have developed more of a consumer edge. If [Hewlett-Packard] buys a flat-screen TV company, it's a story for us. If HP comes out with five new flat-screen TVs, we won't write about that. PRWeek: Where do you see Red Herring in this environment? Dreyfuss: There's a spectrum. At one end you have IT books like InfoWorld, eWeek, Information Week, which are aimed at people who manage technology, and sometimes buy it. They are very technical. At the other end, there is Wired and Business 2.0, which are more interested in the social impact of technology. In the middle, you have product titles such as PC World and MacWorld. There's a niche for us to cover the tech industry - and cover it seriously - as a business. PRWeek: So what do you consider an interesting story? Dreyfuss: I'm interested in where the money goes and innovation. Companies with cutting-edge technology, IPOs, and VCs interest me. I'm interested in focusing on the people who create, finance, buy, and sell technology. Name: Joel Dreyfuss Publication: Red Herring Title: Editor Preferred contact method:

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