BizWeek Bulks Up

The realignment of the magazine segment of the business media continues today as BusinessWeek‘s new editor Josh Tyrangiel announced former Fortune Managing Editor Eric Pooley would become Deputy Editor of BusinessWeek and New York Magazine Editorial Director Hugo Lindgren would join him there as an Executive Editor.

The two hires are something of a confirmation that Norm Pearlstine’s role at Bloomberg is to bring in the talent to create a business franchise like the one Fortune magazine had during the 20th Century. Tyrangiel and Pooley have both worked closely with Pearlstine in the past; Pooley and Lindgren each spent their journalistic formative years at New York Magazine together. (Lindgren was also key contributor behind the scenes on Andrew Ross Sorkin’s bestseller Too Big to Fail.)

These hires fill the top of BusinessWeek’s masthead. Now they’ll have to get to work finding writers to put out the kind of magazine that fits their vision. Their timing couldn’t be better. The Wall Street Journal‘s franchise in the pre-Murdoch era was magazine-length stories that peeled back the inner-workings of companies, government and the economy. Now that Murdoch has abandoned those stories for a newsier newspaper, there’s a huge void.

With Fortune‘s advertising-drought induced retreat to 18 issues a year, the old stalwart doesn’t have the frequency or the visibility to step in where the WSJ used to be. That offers a big opportunity for Bloomberg and BusinessWeek if they can figure out the formula (and staff.)

That raises the last piece of the puzzle: promotion. Which also brings us to the question of what to do with BusinessWeek‘s website. Here’s how James Ledbetter put it on The Big Money this morning:

The external message seems to be that BW is going to put a premium on the high-quality writing that Pooley and Lindgren prize. That clearly can’t hurt the magazine, but it’s not necessarily what the publication truly needs. I wrote last year that Bloomberg’s purchase of BW was really all about the Web site. I still think that is largely true; the problem is that traffic to, while still formidable, is dropping rather steeply. Tyrangiel, who came from, knows he has to address this, and will probably do it with someone other than these two editors.

Interesting . . .

The BusinessWeek Supergroup
by James Ledbetter
The Big Money; January 29, 2010

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