Business Week Reinvents The Magazine--Make Way For Curating The Conversation Through Aggregation, Briefings, And Story-Telling.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on October 10, 2007

I’ve been part of a secret process of reinventing the magazine medium that will be unveiled on Friday when a new kind of Business Week hits the stands and peoples’ desks. We’ve been working with Modernista, the Boston-based ad agency that designed Inside Innovation, our quarterly innovation magazine. We wanted to go beyond a redesign and do a rethink of how people get information and analysis today, given the web and the way we live and work.

The result, as I look on the wall and see it take life, is a new kind of print medium that I think will be the model for magazines to copy in the years ahead. I realize this is a bold statement but the next issue of Business Week does to magazines what Vibe did to magazines when it was introduced some years ago. It set a new template for print.

What’s different? When I was Editorial Page editor, I was The Voice Of Authority. Now, as a blogger, editor of IN and contributor to the Innovation & Design channel, I am a curator of conversations that I have with smart people “out there” in the world. Actually, sometimes I lead the conversation and sometimes I follow someone else. It’s about aggregating information and opinion. The very best blog thread is about aggregating a conversation. It’s a new form of journalism and it’s terribly exciting.

We’re introducing this type of open source aggregation into the new magazine, with blog items, quotes, and content from unusual, global sources surrounding stories, sometimes enhancing them, sometimes disagreeing with them. It’s a conversation, not a lecture.

We’re also doing briefing, setting the agenda for what’s important. In the flood of information flowing over the web today, we need editors or curators to prioritize what’s important and what’s not. Slow things down to highlight trends or insights, make things meaningful in a fast-moving day. Online, most of us have our half dozen bloggers who help do that for us in our own spaces. In print, we’re going to have smart people do that for the business space. There will be a big section you can just rip out and scan on the train or over drinks.

The third big change is a feature well, a special place for great narrative and story-telling, with great photos and illustration. As we all know by now in design, advertising, life, connecting with people through authentic narrative is key.

And yes, there will be a new logo.


I think Friday’s Business Week will be a bold move to reshape the print medium and I think it works. Lemme know what you think when you get a chance to look at it.

Reader Comments

Crawford

October 10, 2007 5:24 PM

Sounds gooey, one notch above sticky.
Looking forward to it.

andrew

October 10, 2007 6:24 PM

First: your blog is my all-time-favorite. I am a young designer (almost out of school) who loves business, marketing, technology, and living in an exciting time for them all. Reading your blog really highlights a lot of things I love to hear about.

Second: I'm ultra pumped for the new Business Week. Can't wait to give it a read.

Pranay Gupte

October 11, 2007 12:05 PM

This is one of the most eloquent statements I've read on design and redesign of a publication for our post-modern, digitral age of journalism. I'm looking forward to the rebranded BusinessWeek.

Mike

October 11, 2007 2:26 PM

So it's a web summary. That you have to pay for. Good luck with that.

Mc.Lovin

October 11, 2007 2:45 PM

sounds like you just copied The Week. I love it when old guys get enamored with the web and all of a sudden think they're like Guttenberg with the printing press or something. Dude get over yourself nobody cares. Or I guess the problem is, you do.

Tech Reporter

October 11, 2007 4:43 PM

{The very best blog thread is about aggregating a conversation. It's a new form of journalism and it's terribly exciting.}

Maybe the very best THREAD, but the very best BLOG is about original reporting, thinking, and writing. Likewise the very best journalism.

Reminds me of this quote:
"Most honest journalists will admit that they never really understand the events they attempt to organize and clarify, and that more often that not it makes a 'better story,' one that comes closer to the truth, to swim around in the mystery of things." - Roger Rosenblatt, Time

Content aggregation is exactly that: Endless contemplation, no conclusions.

I hope the folks at BW haven't sipped too much blogger Kool-Aid.

goman88

October 11, 2007 6:19 PM

Ugh is all I can say to this gushing bit of news. We buy Businessweek for expert editors and writers telling us what's important. I'm up to my eyeballs in ignorant, uniformed stuff on blogs, comment boards, etc. By threading this crap into the mag (You'll even have quotes!) in a sad attempt to be more relevant, you put a giant exclamation point on why magazines can't survive in their current form, or maybe any other.

Bates

October 11, 2007 11:31 PM

I know a couple of dozen BW staffers from the magazine's glory years who want to know what the hell you're smoking over there.

We have three words we would like you to tattoo on your eyelids: Content, Depth, Quality.

Without that, nothing.

Dorothy O'Bara

October 12, 2007 1:01 PM

I am an older student back in school and found your blog VERY interesting. Times are changing and with that our magazines and newspapers need to change too. I think you have moved in the right direction and I can hardly wait to see your new magazine!

Anastasia

October 12, 2007 1:09 PM

Hi Bruce, It's already a great magazine. I hope all I love about it is still there. By the way, when you say it will hit peoples' desks -- the word people is plural. So the possessive of people is people's not peoples'. I do hope that is NOT an indication of what is to come.

Steve Fawthrop

October 15, 2007 12:56 AM

Unique enterprise stories, depth (as appropriate) and analysis that is distinct is going to be the difference in your success.

I do think that some of the negative comments regarding the aggregation approach and citing others in print and the web site miss the point.

Part of the quality that distinguishes any good publisher is editing. Part of the value of a subscription is to help me, the reader who places trust in you, get to information of value quicker because you have taken the time to examine, analyze and evaluate the information before it gets to me.

The fact that you reference other sources I can now access easily, which was not the case before, is only helpful.

That helps you be the distinguishing point of entry to informaton of value.

That is what makes you more than just another blog, another web site or another magazine.

I know the challenge (I work for a trade magazine publisher) but this is the way to go for the future.

Jim Hock

October 17, 2007 5:57 PM

Are you going to do away with the "Outside Shot" section of commentary in the new version?

Jeremy Greenfield

October 18, 2007 8:16 PM

hi bruce--

thanks for the link, but, unfortunately, it's not up to date. here, i think, is the story you're looking for: http://www.minonline.com/min/5300.html

it might be another one. please let me know if you have trouble finding it.

best,
jeremy

ps - nice story....

Richard

October 20, 2007 6:04 AM

I prefer to shop online....Couponalbum.com is my favorite site...I found there many coupons and coupon codes for shopping...!!

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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