What’s Up at Adweek?

The story behind the changes you see in this week’s issue

It all started four years ago. As the newly appointed editor of Adweek, I was meeting with my new boss, Sid Holt, who had just arrived at the company to oversee the editorial operations of our media and marketing magazines.

Since I had already logged six years at Adweek, Sid was interested in hearing my thoughts about the magazine, its history and heritage, the state of the ad industry and what the future might hold for those we cover.

I explained that the lip service that ad agencies had paid to marketing communications since its advent had turned into real conversations—and, more important, had begun to generate real revenue. We talked about globalization and the evolving landscape of the U.S. agency community. And we wondered how we could better harness the speed and power of the Web.

Then there was my oldest frustration: that because we published six regional editions, no single reader had easy access to the 60 distinct news pages we cranked out 51 weeks a year.

“So, what do you want to do about it?” Sid asked. I didn’t have a plan at the time, but we agreed that Adweek needed to evolve along with the advertising business. And so we began to plan our transformation. The seeds we planted at that meeting back in 1998 grew into the new Adweek you see today.

We spent the next year exhausting researchers, troubleshooting potential problems and identifying new challenges. One key issue was figuring out a way to maintain our regional focus while adding more global and marketing communications coverage and welcoming new features and departments.

We finally settled on a plan: create a fully integrated editorial product that delivers more news faster via the Web and gives readers more perspective and insight in print. We’ve been calling it: “In print. Online. All the time.”

As the project grew, we struggled to find the right words to describe it. We began with “revamp,” then moved to “repackaging” and “refocus.” These last two were unceremoniously ditched in seconds. One was cumbersome, the other vague. But the real issue was that neither fully captured the depth and breadth of our new product.

There was no way around it: The word was relaunch. What we are doing is completely relaunching our editorial operations. What you see here is not just the new way we cover your business, but the new way we conduct our own business.

Once we settled on the vision, we hired the best talent to help us execute it. We brought in Roger Black of DaniloBlack, one of the foremost designers of publications. He and his associate Robb Rice led the redesign of our new national edition. We’ve updated the look and opened up the pages to allow for longer, more analytical stories.

At the same time, we jumped on the opportunity to add new departments, such as Finance and Careers, and expand existing ones. One notable example: We’ve taken our popular Accounts in Review page and built a New Business section around it. In it you’ll find news briefs related to review activity, and we’ve also brought back Inside the Pitch, our monthly look at the personalities and politics behind the scenes of a review.

For the Web, we hired Digitas, a leading interactive shop. Guided by Rich LaFauci, a team of Web experts spent months reconceiving, rethinking and rebuilding our Web site. In the end, we created six regional online communities that feature daily updates on account moves, personnel changes, new campaigns and more.

Also on the Web is a new Creative section, featuring Mark Dolliver’s Portfolio, overviews of breaking campaigns and Best Spots, which viewers can watch via streaming video.

What does this mean for our readers? Now, each subscriber gains access to all the content we produce: the print edition and the national and regional areas of Adweek Online.

You’ll get a sense of our new direction in this inaugural issue. The expanded news well includes more in-depth reporting and analysis. In Finance, Noreen O’Leary talks about corporate governance with WPP’s Paul Richardson. Debra Goldman, who is turning her weekly Consumer Republic column into a bigger, bolder monthly feature, tackles an age-old question: Can money buy happiness?. In Careers, Jennifer Comiteau discusses proper (and not so proper) interviewing behavior. Here in Art & Commerce, Larry Weber of IPG’s Advanced Marketing Services discusses the morphing of marketing communications.

And that’s just a sampling.

We hope you like the changes. More important, we hope you find them useful.

We think you will.