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Mar 07, 2003
Interview

How to Get the Reporters at BusinessWeek to Notice You

SUMMARY: If you have ever dreamed of seeing your name in BusinessWeek where 5.2 million "global readers" might see it, you will love this fun tip sheet on how to catch reporters' attention there. Includes what NOT to do.
Mark Morrison
Managing Editor
BusinessWeek
1221 Avenue of The Americas
43rd fl.
New York, NY 10020
212-512-2511
http://www.businessweek.com


-> Circulation

BusinessWeek claims a "5.2 million global audience."

-> Morrison's background

Mark Morrison has been Managing Editor of BusinessWeek for ten years. Here is what he has to say about what excites him in today’s business world:

“It’s been a remarkable news period these last couple of years, with the whole Internet boom, the stock market bubble, the Enron scandal. I’ve been in this business for 27 years and have never seen such an interesting time to write about.”

-> Current editorial focus:

Seeks to take readers inside the minds of CEOs and corporate boards, inside rising companies and falling ones, and inside technology and finance and economics.

Sounds pretty broad, right? “There are a number of particularly strong areas that we excel in,” Morrison says. “Our mega trends are high-tech and globalization; we’re better than other publications in those areas because we have bureaus all over the world. We also cover economics and policy from a Washington perspective; and, our bread and butter stories are about companies and management.”

-> Who and how to pitch:

First, of course, read the magazine, study the masthead and understand the kinds of stories the different departments run.

“Figure out where the story idea would most likely get some traction with us,” Morrison says. “It might be the bureau person who covers the geographic area or it might be one of the departments, like information technology or software. You can mix and match and figure out who the right person is.”

BusinessWeek employs over 130 editorial staff, so it may take some work to find the right person to contact. Two tips:

1. If your story idea has a regional focus, you can contact a local bureau. BusinessWeek has bureaus in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, DC, Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, London, Mexico City, Moscow, Paris, Singapore, and Tokyo.

2. Editors are listed in the masthead by the subjects they cover (management, banking, etc.), so you can also contact the editor of the appropriate department.

Once you target your potential reporter, do not send your pitch by snail mail, and you probably should not call, either. Pitch your story by email and keep it brief.

The subject line should be a clear label of what you are sending: “story pitch about so-and-so.” You will not find the editors’ email addresses on the Web site, but the formula follows this pattern: firstname_lastname@businessweek.com.

*** Do not pitch Morrison directly. He does not even open an email unless it is from someone he knows.

What makes his editors sit up and take notice: “We’re looking for smart stories that spot important trends, give fresh analysis,” he says. “We’re not interested in stories that are pitched out to everybody.”

Be very targeted and cut to the chase. Let the editor know:
- Why the story is important,
- How it will help readers do their jobs better, and
- That it is exclusive to Business Week.

Do’s and don’ts in pitching the editors:
- DO tailor the pitch to the magazine and the audience (mostly management-level professionals in business and industry).
- DO send in-depth analysis and commentary that goes beyond news.
- DON’T send press releases. “We can get access to that by reading the newspaper or looking at Web sites,” says Morrison.
- DON’T blanket the entire editorial department with phone messages or emails.

-> Deadlines:

The earlier the better. The magazine’s final close is on Wednesday and it goes to press Wednesday night.

-> Can you meet BusinessWeek editors in person?

“If you’re IBM or Microsoft, obviously we’d meet with you at any time. If you’re smaller, it’s tougher. If you have an interesting insight or story, then you have a subject to
talk about and you’re more likely to get a correspondence going that way,” Morrison says.

-> How can you get Morrison's to check your online pressroom?

First, make sure it is a worthwhile site. Then drop an email to call it to the reporter’s attention. If you are lucky enough to meet an editor in person or speak with them on the phone, let them know that your company has a helpful site.

“The favorites are the ones that keep refreshing themselves and are constantly telling you new things,” Morrison says.

-> Morrison's favorite professional publication:

Columbia Journalism Review

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