“The magazine is not integrated enough into the rest of our editorial operations,” the memo said. “And BBW’s business model has also not evolved as quickly as the market around it — and does not have enough of a focus on digital innovation. The revenue model is still too reliant on declining print advertising rather than digital or multiplatform subscriber revenue. We don’t feel that the franchise fully reflects the scale of Bloomberg’s global presence.”
In order to help “modernize” the magazine, which was acquired in 2009 from McGraw-Hill, the execs have appointed Megan Murphy, the firm’s Washington bureau chief, as editor of BusinessWeek. As a result, editor Ellen Pollock and deputy editor Brad Weiners are out. Otis Bilodeau will step in as deputy editor under Murphy.
Pollock joined the magazine two years before it was acquired, and after 18 years at the Wall Street Journal. As editor, she has helped oversee important stories, including Baltimore’s surveillance city to “How to hack an election.” Bloomberg’s New York-based staff were encouraged by Micklethwait and Smith to gather at 4 p.m. to discuss the changes and “pay tribute” to Pollock, who was named to the role after then-editor Josh Tyrangiel decamped for Vice Media last year.
Smith and Micklethwait called the shake-up “an opportunity.”
“We have both spent much of our careers helping to modernize magazine brands. We worked together here on the new redesigned Markets magazine, which has brought in readers and revenues. We are convinced that we can embark on an exciting new phase in BBW’s storied 87-year-old history — by transforming both its editorial mission and its business model. We hope to do that not just in print, but on the web, in a daily App and through live events,” the duo said.
The plan is to launch a new BusinessWeek by the end of the second-quarter of 2017, a feat that requires massive planning and “deep change.” This includes a fuller integration of BusinessWeek’s journalists into Bloomberg’s newsroom.
They explained: “Our content needs to become more targeted on business and finance, more global and more digital, with daily offerings of news, insights and analysis that help readers understand and compete in the world. And the commercial model will also change. BBW will remain our broadest business brand. But we will dramatically sharpen its utility and value to readers.”
The reorganization will also include a different reporting structure, as well as a slimmed down editorial team. Aside from Murphy and Bilodeau, BusinessWeek will retain managing editor Kristin Powers, who will oversee the production of BusinessWeek, Pursuits and Markets. She is charged with developing a multiplatform existence for the magazines. On the business side, BusinessWeek will add the role of publishing director, a job that will include a bigger focus on consumer marketing, advertising revenue generation and digital subscription expansion. That’s a task that all print publishers are trying to focus on as consumers — and advertisers — opt for digital over print.