Obituary: Business Week’s “Business Outlook” Column

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

x-1102775_cemetery_rosesI realize one must enjoy a favorite restaurant today because the ownership could change tomorrow. The new owners can change delicious meals into unsatisfying grub overnight. However, I never expected to see Bloomberg convert Business Week’s nutritious “Business Outlook” column into empty calories.

After purchasing Business Week in December, Bloomberg has moved quickly. A casualty is the “Business Outlook” column, a one-page mainstay since Business Week’s 1929 startup. Oh, the page is there, but now a rotating roster of reporters simply gives it a shot each week – and it looks it. Gone are top economists James C. Cooper (editor of “Business Outlook” since 1988) and Dr. Michael J. Mandel, the highly regarded economics editor, along with many others.

The changes affect more than the one column. They severely weaken a key Business Week founding principal – to have sound economics reporting that readers can understand and use. Previous to Bloomberg’s acquisition, Business Week employed leading economists to guide and support the magazine’s economics coverage throughout its history. The “Business Outlook” column was particularly representative of those efforts.

Finding valuable information is a key to successful investing. I was fortunate to find the “Business Outlook” column at the beginning of my investment career in 1969, and I continued reading it throughout – until now. The column was virtually always on point. Its objective, clear-headed and wise interpretation of economic trends, hot spots and ignored developments provided valuable insight. Even as the rest of the magazine got caught up in the fads and fears of the day, that column remained resolute.

Now, it’s gone. I remember how tasty and filling it was, but today’s fare is bland and lightweight.

Rest in peace, Business Outlook of yore – you are fondly remembered.

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