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Jan 06, 2008
Interview

PR Interview: How to Pitch BusinessWeek's Reporting Staff

SUMMARY: BusinessWeek relaunched its magazine and website last fall to improve the content and design. The magazine’s total readership is up 3% to 4.9 million, and the website gets 6.5 million monthly visitors. A business editor tells us how its staff members like to be pitched.
Contact Information
Lauren Young
Personal Business Editor
1221 Avenue of the Americas
43rd Floor
New York, NY 10020
212-512-2495
Lauren_Young(at)BusinessWeek(dot)com
http://www.BusinessWeek.com


Background
Young is a department editor for the Personal Business section. She joined the magazine in 2003 after working at SmartMoney. Young also has written for the Dow Jones Newswires and has been a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal. She is an honors graduate from Pennsylvania State University and holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Circulation & Readership
Total readership: 4.9 million decision makers, business leaders, senior managers and CIOs. Total paid circulation: 919,343. Unique monthly website visitors: 6.5 million

Print readers: average household income, $219,479; median portfolio value, $329,105; median asset value, $1,653,485.

Website visitors: 42% business decision makers; 59% male; average age: 47; $93,708 average household income; and 70% have college/post-graduate degrees.
Sources: Audit Bureau of Circulation, Omniture & Mediamark Research Inc.

Current Editorial Coverage
The publication focuses on the most important news in finance, technology and economics. It completed its first major redesign in four years in fall 2007. The magazine’s relaunch focused on improving reader experience and bringing the magazine up to current technological standards.

Content changes reflect the publication’s focus on featuring stories from international sources (78% of BusinessWeek’s readers say they enjoy experiencing different cultures; 8 in 10 like to try new things and explore new places). Because of the fast pace of global business news, the magazine offers only what it sees as the most important and useful information presented succinctly by the most authoritative sources.

Some sections have been renamed (Personal Business instead of Personal Finance) while others were relocated (opinion moved to the back, news moved to the front). Additions include Links (directs readers to related website content) and What’s Next (features trends and products). Executive Life was eliminated, but the popular wine column stayed.

Content is divided into six main categories: The BusinessWeek (news, business outlook, numbers, next week, BTW and facetime); News; In Depth (philanthropy, innovation, cover story); What’s Next (InfoTech, marketing, scandals, finance, entrepreneurs, entertainment); Personal Business (includes Parker on wine); Opinion (tech & you, media centric, inside Wall Street, feedback, outside shot, books)

Special editorial reports include Information Technology, Focus on Retirement, Hot Growth Companies, Corporate Leadership and Finance & Investing.

Website
Businessweek.com is updated more than 10 times a day. The website includes a variety of interactive tools: more than 14 blogs; the debate room (editor-moderated reader forum); and MBA forums for B-school students. Podcasts, video and slide shows offer Web 2.0 features.

Readers can access the publication on mobile devices. Those who prefer to read via email newsletters can choose from BWOL Insider, Market Week Ahead, Small Biz, MBA Express, Careers Insider, Tech Insider, European Insider, Asia Insider and Top Stories.

How to Pitch BusinessWeek
Contact Young only when you are sure your query is something she would find interesting. “Unconventional” and “fresh” are words she uses. Don’t contact her unless you are pitching exclusive personal finance trends or compelling profile subjects.

Here are 13 tips on pitching Young and other BusinessWeek journalists:

Tip #1. Don’t fax, phone or send pitches via the postal service.

Tip #2. Check out the masthead, read the magazine, determine who the best journalist is to contact and compose a short customized email with a clear subject line using the following formula: first name_last name@businessweek.com.

Tip #3. Don’t pitch ideas on topics the magazine has recently covered. Pitch exclusive new takes on hot topics relevant and useful to the weekly’s audience.

Tip #4. Avoid sending queries that have no relation to a journalist’s beat.

Tip #5. Never send press releases; your pitch needs to be tailored to BusinessWeek.

Tip #6. Don’t even think about sending a mass email to the editorial department.

Tip #7. Keep in mind that the magazine comes out on Wednesday nights.

Tip #8. Include a thorough analysis of your idea in your email. Don’t confuse that with prewritten contributions; all BusinessWeek stories are written by their own staff.

Tip #9. Be aware that some editors are now in charge of both print and online operations (science, technology and personal finance).

Tip #10. Decide whether it makes sense to pitch a regional department or one that covers your query’s subject matter.

Tip #11. If your story has a local focus, contact one of BusinessWeek’s many global bureaus first.

Tip #12. Consider creating an online press room so that journalists have easier access if they require more information on your pitch.

Tip #13. Anticipate journalists’ needs for stories; provide the necessary available sources.

Contribute to BusinessWeek
You can respond to the magazine’s articles on its website. Editors will share your opinions in the weekly feature, Feedback, which highlights the best online conversations from BusinessWeek.com.

Meet Young
Young occasionally goes to lunch or sets up face-to-face meetings. She tries to limit these to once a week, though, so plan ahead.

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