If you’re a BusinessWeek staffer, you’re on tenterhooks right now as you wait to see whether you’ll still have a job after new owners Bloomberg take over.
But, as Peter Kafka reports, it could have been much, much worse.
flickr: Jean-Marc /Jo BeLo/Jhon-John
If rival bidder ZelnickMedia had taken control of the mag (which it thought McGraw-Hill would pay it to do), the magazine would have been gutted, which we knew. What nobody knew was the extent of the damage.
ZelnickMedia planned to:
- Wind down BusinessWeek’s print business “as profitably as possible”â€“the company would have to honor existing subscriptions and could still sell ads in the magazine. But the focus would be on building up BusinessWeek’s Web site, which has a decent-sized footprint, though not a huge one.
- Dump almost all of the company’s newsgathering staff and outsource most of that work to Thomson Reuters (TRI).
- Employ a small handful of editorial employeesâ€“perhaps 20, down from the 200-plus who are there now. Some of them would run a Huffington Post-style aggregation site that produces no original content, and some more expensive hires would produce a smattering of high-quality reporting and writing designed to burnish/sustain the BusinessWeek brand. “Just to give it uniqueness and sizzle,” my source tells me.
- Dump most of the existing business side, as well, but overhaul and bulk up the sales force.
Check out Kafka’s story of near-averted media tragedy here.