Change: A User's Guide

Change Hurts. But it's also exciting, refreshing, challenging -- even therapeutic. When it descends on the business world, it tends to shuffle the deck of winners and losers. It's no secret that rapid changes are occurring in media, marketing, and advertising and that these shifts dramatically affect people who market products and services, as well as those of us in information businesses. In this issue, we launch "Media Centric," a weekly column by Jon Fine that will chronicle these changes and help readers react quickly and intelligently to the new realities.

Technology is driving many of the changes, but so is consumer behavior. Questions abound. How do you market a product to young people when millions of them are glued to video game screens instead of TVs? How do you reach TV audiences when viewers can TiVo (TIVO ) their way past your ads? What's the right measure of advertising success in an age of eyeballs and click-throughs? What should you make of blogs? Podcasts? Product placements?

If you're a newspaper, magazine, television, radio, or online-media executive, how do you compete in this confusing, fast-moving environment? How can you maintain old revenue streams while investing in new ones? Who's figuring this stuff out fastest, and what can we all learn from them? Who's getting left behind, and why?

Media Centric will tackle these issues both in the magazine and on BusinessWeek Online. Fine joins us from Advertising Age, where for the past five years he has covered the media with insight, wit, and a good deal of edge. A guitarist for the indie band Coptic Light, he has previously written about rock music and youth culture for such publications as GQ, Spin, and Newsday. Jon joins Senior Writer Tom Lowry, Los Angeles Bureau Chief Ronald Grover, and Marketing Editor David Kiley to give BusinessWeek readers a clear-eyed, business-focused view of the media, advertising, and marketing terrain.

Also in this issue, you'll notice a modest reorganization of some of the magazine's features to create more logical connections among related content. In the front of the magazine, you'll find our weekly staff columnists: Stephen H. Wildstrom (Technology & You), Jon Fine (Media Centric), Robert Barker (The Barker Portfolio), and James C. Cooper and Kathleen Madigan (Business Outlook). Although they grapple with different topics, they all bring strong voices to their subjects, backed by reporting, knowledge, and experience.

Moving to the back of the magazine in a new Ideas section are our weekly book reviews and Economic Viewpoint. Renamed Viewpoint, this column reflects the opinions of leading economic thinkers outside the magazine whose writings rotate in that space. These two pages, with their focus on opinion rather than reporting, belong naturally alongside our editorial page. So starting this week, that's where they will be.

I hope you'll find that these changes make BusinessWeek more urgent, more useful, and easier to navigate. Let me know what you think.

By Stephen J. Adler, Editor-in-Chief

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