Anniversaries are always a time to reflect -- and to look ahead. The first issue of BusinessWeek, on Sept. 7, 1929, appeared just seven weeks before the stock market crash that ushered in the Great Depression -- hardly an auspicious moment to start a business magazine. And in our bones, we seemed to know that trouble lay ahead. In the magazine's very first Business Outlook section, we wrote: "Stock prices are generally out of line with safe earnings expectations, and the market is now almost wholly 'psychological'...properly apprehensive of the inevitable readjustment that draws near."
Yet we thrived and prospered, in part because of the editorial vision that was established on Day One. As Malcolm Muir, president of McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., put it: "The Business Week [as it was called then] will never be content to be a mere chronicle of events. It aims always to interpret their significance.... The Business Week always has a point of view, and usually a strong opinion, both of which it does not hesitate to express. And all the way through, we hope you will discover it is possible to write sanely and intelligently of business without being pompous or ponderous."
We've stuck to our founders' wise vision, some 3,903 issues later. You can see some of the excitement reflected in our photo gallery of 75 years of BusinessWeek covers.
FOR OUR 75TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE WE DECIDED to focus on innovation. Why? Because technological change has been such a prominent feature of the business and economic landscape during our lifetimes. It has been critical to BusinessWeek's coverage from radio days to the Internet Age. And we believe the years ahead could well bring an era of innovation surpassing the one that brought us antibiotics, jet travel, television, and computers. You'll find many of the possibilities in the pages that follow in our special report, "The Innovation Economy."
This anniversary issue is the joint effort of more than 80 BusinessWeek staffers from around the world under the direction of Assistant Managing Editors Bob Dowling and Frank Comes. My thanks also to Rose Brady, Don Besom, Neil Gross, Mike Mandel, Larry Lippmann, and Jay Petrow for their special contributions.
So after a brief moment for celebration, please join us in looking forward to the next many years. It promises to be a great ride.
By Stephen B. Shepard, Editor-in-Chief