BusinessWeek gets it

BusinessWeek gets it: A couple weeks ago, I was on a panel with BusinessWeek’s Rob Hof during which he spoke some about how he integrates blogging into the work flow of reporting for the magazine and BusinessWeek Online. I thought he did a good job explaining how blogging is a part of the process — not just one more responsibility and hassle as many publishers and editors in the audience apparently perceive it to be.

Today, there’s a great example of how BusinessWeek is rapidly embracing new forms of social and conversational media and how the role of journalists can expand, rather than be threatened, in the context of social media (or whatever you want to call it).

BusinessWeek’s Heather Green’s research and reporting on “the business of podcasting” first led to posts on her blog about the topic and then to a story in the magazine. With the knowledge gained in that research, she then created a follow-up analysis piece for BusinessWeek Online. And then, on her blog, she’s links to the first of a series of accompanying podcasts on the topic that use the recordings of some of the interviews she conducted while working on the story — or perhaps, interviews she’s set up afterward.

Now, is this an example of a news organization trying to get three-times the work out of one reporter? I don’t think so: I see a magazine that is making an investment in Heather on behalf of the magazine’s readers: “Go out and discover all you can on this topic,” they are saying. When she returns, BusinessWeek (editors, I assume) are giving her a wide array of options to do one thing — tell her story. Perhaps not in these words, they are saying to her something like this:

How can you tell this story as fully as possible? On your blog, you can share what you’re learning and engage in a conversation with those who are extremely passionate about this topic. In the magazine, you can give the general business reader a snap shot of what is taking place. On the website, you can go indepth to analyze the topic for those who want to more deeply understand its business implications for investment and other strategic reasons. Via podcasting, you can use the very technology you are exploring to give listeners direct access to the best “voices” on the topic.

I continue to believe BusinessWeek is one of the few old school magazine/online “brands” that is not running from, but is embracing new forms of social and conversational media. In talking with some folks there (like Rob), I have discovered them to be quick to admit they’re learning by doing, but aren’t we all? They’re not perfect by any stretch. But by the time everyone else wakes up, they’ll be way out of the gates.

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