There is more interest, argument and passion surrounding the future of American business than there has been in several generations. And yet, in the space of three months, Portfolio was
closed and BusinessWeek has been put up for sale.
The problem: The category's core advertisers - financial services, automotive and business-to-consumer types - have borne the brunt of the recession. Plus, traditional business magazines have much bigger expenses than the websites that offer business journalism exclusively online - daily, even hourly.
Economist Sylvia Nasar sees more demand for business news than ever, and more outlets providing it. "This [economic crisis] is a great story. There is - and will be - more great journalism on it," she says. At BusinessWeek, the magazine's total audience declined during the first six months of 2009, but its site, with the much touted Business Exchange, increased its readership. The site drew about 5 million unique visitors a month -- good but not good enough to save a weekly that is losing readers and hemorrhaging money.