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Josh Tyrangiel and Businessweek’s Impossible Goal

Much has been made of Josh Tyrangielthe Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg Businessweek — and his success at reinventing the magazine since he was brought aboard, and rightfully so: He has done a great job, and FishbowlNY has never been shy at pointing out how much we love the title.

When WWD profiled Tyrangiel back in February, he said that his mission was to make Businessweek more appealing, and today Adweek reports that while ad pages are up and the rate base is increasing, newsstand sales keep falling. Not the darkest news, but it makes us wonder if Businessweek will ever be the “must read” Tyrangiel wants it to be.

It’s not that Tyrangiel doesn’t have a good plan; he does. Bringing in Richard Turley to design the magazine was a brilliant move. He also understands what readers want out of a print experience.

“If your projection of your own value is $4.99, you have to earn it every week,” said Tyrangiel. “You have to create that consistency week after week after week so that people know what the value proposition is, why they come to you. And when they come to you, you have to deliver on that time and again.”

So why isn’t everyone reading Businessweek? Well, it’s actually an easy answer. Weekly titles face the most fierce competitor of all — the Internet. No matter what Tyrangiel does, some people will never subscribe to a weekly, believing that whatever they see on those pages is already too old. This is especially true in the business and finance world, where most of the magazine’s audience resides. Those people need their information fast, and the Internet delivers that.

Luckily for Tyrangiel and fans of Businessweek like us, he’s got someone with deep pockets backing him. If he didn’t, who knows how long it would last. Even though the magazine will probably never attain its goal of being a vital publication for a wide audience, we appreciate Tyrangiel for trying.

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