Peggy White, general manager of Business Week OnlineDespite fierce competition from rivals the Wall Street Journal and, traffic to Business Week Online has boomed since the beginning of 2004. A revitalised economy is switching on to Business Week's new multimedia features and customised editorial channels, says general manager Peggy White.

How long have you been in this role? Two Years.

What does it entail? Setting the strategy for Business Week Online and for the little niche that we occupy within business journalism. Assembling the team that can execute that strategy. And managing the budget - advertising sales, business sales, product development and marketing.

What is the most exciting element of your job? I like the way it changes so quickly - internet journalism is moving so rapidly. In the nine years or so that news has been on the internet, the medium has really moved the time paradigm of how people ingest news. Customers now expect news immediately, and that's quite a dramatic shift.

How did you enter the industry? I started in sports and TV working in major league baseball. I moved into sales and syndication, working for the NBA [National Basketball Association] on product development and moved into new media in the mid 1990s. The internet was just starting to be a viable medium then and we began to work on

In 1998 I joined MSNBC, a joint site run by Microsoft and the broadcaster NBC, and eventually joined Business Week Online in 2002.

What advice would you give to new web journalists? You'll have to be really flexible because things change so quickly in the online world.

Budgets for web publications tend to be less robust, so you may need to cover several different areas and perhaps not specialise in one particular topic. It's a very fast-moving industry so you'll need to wear several hats!

And you really must have a burning desire to push this technology - a passion for bringing information together to create internet news.

What can web journalism achieve that print journalism can't? The immediacy of seeing your product straight away. And really fast feedback – it's really much more of a two-way medium.

You can also see at once how many people are reading your work.

Have you benefited from the increased confidence in online advertising? Yes. We saw things start to pick up at the beginning of 2003 and it's now really vibrant. Rich media [multimedia] is now very popular with advertisers and they have learnt how to use the internet as a platform for their products.

Companies now expect the internet to be part of their advertising campaigns and are much smarter on how to use it. The intelligence that the web gives you tells you so much more about your audience.

Do you think that publishers have been slow to adapt to web? Most publishers now realise that web is an essential part of their publishing strategy, but different publishers have different strategies. Daily newspapers have embraced the web more than monthlies because it makes more sense for them, for example.

Some publishers simply use the web as an acquisitions tool for subscribers rather than a platform for dissemination of content. Business Week has chosen to be quite aggressive online because we believe that our readers want daily news.

More than 70 per cent of our traffic comes during the business day, so the site is designed to be neatly incorporated in the work environment.

Do you still buy newspapers? Yes! Newspapers are absolutely not going to be replaced by the internet. There is something wonderful about the internet, but you still need a newspaper to read on the train.

Will mobile phones become an important platform for news delivery? Mobile technology is really exciting, but it will take a while to permeate the US.

Europe is more advanced than North America. People in the US tend to use phones for sports scores and quick updates and there is not as much texting, which is a precursor to other mobile services.

Business Week Online does offer PDA services and headlines for mobile phones - the idea is that Business Week can be wherever you are. We will be developing more subscription products as the audience grows, and we will be tailoring new products for specialist sectors. Right now, for example, we have a lot of interest from business schools who come to the site for research.

Is paid content the future? The marketplace for paid content has grown considerably from last year. Users are much more savvy and are prepared to pay, so it's less of a challenge to encourage them to spend.

There are a lot of competitors, so the challenge for Business Week will be to keep its own voice resonating within that market. But that challenge is the same for everybody. We'll just concentrate on finding the right commercial partners, and on getting our news, insight and analysis to our audience.

Compiled by Jemima Kiss

More Q&As from dotJournalism:
Steve Outing, senior editor at the Poynter Institute
Laura Hayes, editor of
Rafat Ali, publisher of
Alex White (formerly Alex Daley), head of the UK’s Association of Online Publishers
Yvonne Ridley, award-winning journalist
Tree Elven, web editor of
Tracy Corrigan, editor of
Anthony Gottlieb, executive editor of
Martin Nisenholtz, CEO of New YorkTimes Digital
Richard Withey, global director of interactive media, Independent News & Media Group
Mike Smartt, former editor-in-chief of BBC News Interactive

See also:
Business Week Online:
Wall Street Journal:

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