Business For Breakfast

I popped along to a breakfast conference this morning at Cobbetts solicitors rather posh offices. Hosted by advertising and marketing industry news website How Do, it featured 3 of the regions big business editors Andy Bounds from the Financial Times, David Parkin from newly launched TheBusinessDesk.com and Steve Brauner from heavyweight Crain’s Manchester Business, well chaired by How Do's Nick Jaspan.

There is a lot of talk about the Manchester circuit being over subscribed with business news titles, especially with City AM being another addition in 2009. It was good to hear from the horses mouth what news they were actually interested in, and if there is actually room in the bed for another friend.

There weren't any surprises, Andy Bounds said if you weren't a listed company or had big hitting news then forget it, while Business Desk and Crain's basically said the same thing as each other.

There is an argument to whether print media is still relevant. Business Desk doesn't seem to think so, all their content will stay totally free and online only. Crain's run both a news website (with fresh news accessable for free, with more detailed stories and case studies only available to subscriber content) and a weekly print edition. A guy sat next to me pointed out that he, like me and many others, doesn't read the print edition and if there was any need for it. Crain's argued that their weekly print edition had content which couldn't be found elsewhere, and especially not on their own website. However as Mr Brauner said this he held up a recent print edition, the leading story I had read a couple of days before. Hmmmm.

I'm subscribed to all newsfeeds. I'm a huge fan of Crain's, I was one of the first subcribers and I find their website and especially their e-shot to be easy to read and relevant. I don't read the print edition as I don't have time (another discussion point & a sign of a changing media I'm sure) however their idea to distribute on Virgin Trains is fantastic. I also admire Crain's confidence to keep their advertising rates level despite much disapproval from many - I like that.

Secondly I read the business section of the Manchester Evening News and thirdly the Insider daily news release, which I've found recently to be more inviting to read. I'm then subscribed to BusinessDesk.com, which doesn't do anything different for me so it normally gets deleted. I left today thinking that is was a shame I felt like that because I found David Parkin to be a fantastic speaker. He was lively, well presented and well spoken compared to the droneful Steve Brauner.

Maybe I'll check out Business Desk's e-shots in the future but the problem I have is that both Crains, BusinessDesk and Insider run the same stories and the same content, much to their claims they don't.

One PR lady in the audience asked about exclusivity for their clients and what should she do - share it around? Quickly both David and Steve distanced themselves away from exclusives, "woah we don't do that, we don't care about exclusives, it's the quality rather than quantity". That I don't believe, from past experience myself there is a big competition to who publishes the story first.

Until the editors start adding more depth to stories it will be an individual choice of who you read and I think I'll still to Crains for my daily fix. It rocks!

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