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Nov 22, 2002

How to Get Your Company Mentioned in Fast Company Magazine

SUMMARY: 725,000 subscribers get Fast Company Magazine each month. We interviewed Founding Editor Alan Webber to find out how you can stand a better chance of them writing a story about you or your clients.
Alan Webber
Founding Editor
Fast Company
77 North Washington Street
Boston, MA 02114-1927
phone: 617-973-0300
fax: 617-973-0373

-> Circulation:

725,000 paid magazine subscribers (demographic) highly educated, high-income, median age of 44. 67% men, 93% in professional managerial positions.

"Thereís an interesting split between high level executives in large corporations and self-employed free agents, small business owners, and entrepreneurs."

-> Webberís background:

Webber earned his BA in English from Amherst College but his journalism training comes from running his college, high school, and Sunday School newspapers before going on to work at 'Willamette Week,' an alternative news weekly in Oregon.

In Oregon Webber also worked for the Mayor of Portland, Oregon, who later became the Secretary of Transportation in the Carter administration. That was when Webber moved to the Harvard Business Review where he wrote a book on the auto industry called, 'Changing Alliances.'

Webber was the Reviewís Managing Editor when Bill Taylor arrived fresh from his position as Editor of the Sloan Management Review. "Things got interesting when we met," says Webber.

In 1993, Webber and Taylor wrote a business plan for a new kind of business magazine. "At that time, most of the traditional business magazines (Fortune, Forbes, and Business Week) werenít focusing on change but were locked in the world of big industrial America circa 1950," Webber says.

"It was before anything involving the dot-coms came to the surface, before the Internet revolution. We felt the business world was about to undergo a fundamental change which we tied to four factors: the advent of technology, globalization, a generation shift (more baby boomers in corporate positions), and gender and diversity shift (more women in the workplace)."

-> Current editorial coverage:

"The simple idea is to offer smart, ambitious, business people context on whatís happening in business. We want to combine big ideas, best practices, and profiles of change makers with a fresh, energetic, fun-to-look-at design."

"We donít focus on celebrities or news. We concentrate on big ideas that are shaping business, best practices you need to learn in order to compete, and the best examples of how to out-think, out-implement, or out do the competition. Basically: how to be faster, smarter, and better."

In addition to monthly columns from staff writers, there are a variety of sections:

- 'Ideas on the Edge' about the future of business
- 'Who's Fast' identifies someone, "a new breed of business innovator"
- 'Business at its Best' companies and business units that are achieving amazing results
- 'All in a Day's Work' gives hands-on tactics for the effective executive
- 'Personal Best' provides portraits of people wrestling with success
- 'Reality Check' offers glimpses of the darker side of business
- 'Next' profiles whatís to come in business
- 'Fast Talk' offers crisp and unconventional insights from top leaders and influential thinkers

-> What Webber looks for in a story pitch:

Webber stresses the magazine is not looking for news stories, or celebrity profiles. "We want leads about people who are flying beneath the radar and doing something quite remarkable."

"Your best bet is to offer a story very grounded in best practices. Give us a company that no one has really heard about before, or a new effort from a fascinating company that is trying something different. An example could be Levi Strauss, their launch of a new line of jeans and how theyíre reorganizing themselves or changing operations internally to do that."

Email is the best way to contact Webber or his staff.

-> Where you can meet Webber or his staff:

Editors attend a variety of conferences each year, from TED to Agenda, and all points in between. "We tend to shy away from standard issue trade shows, and instead go to conferences that feature new ideas, intriguing case studies, and fresh thinking," Webber says.

Of course, they attend the Fast Company conferences. For more information on those:

-> Deadlines:

"Everything is rolling forward here so itís pretty much constant - there is no window of opportunity so just take your shot." (Fast company hits the newsstands mid-month.)

-> What Webber looks for in an online pressroom:

Webber does not pay much attention to them.

-> What Webber looks for in print materials:

"We donít like press releases - we donít cover news stories or the typical business story."

-> Webberís favorite professional publication:

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and USA Today.
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