Photo Credit: BradTrentNYC (Creative Commons)

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It’s July 2009, right in the teeth of the biggest business story to come along in decades. The economy dominates the front page — that is, after a mandatory splash of Michael Jackson. There is more interest, argument and passion surrounding the condition and future of American business than there has been in several generations. And yet, in the space of three months, two business magazines — the organs that exist to offer the stuff people are clamoring for — have been abandoned. One, Portfolio, a newbie, was closed. The other, Business Week, an old stalwart, is is up for sale, according to reports that caught even the magazine’s own editorial staff by surprise.

McGraw-Hill has confirmed that it is “exploring strategic options” for the magazine, which is another way of saying the company does not think it can make money off the magazine — ever. It may not be wrong. Less than a decade ago, Business Week ran nearly 6,000 ad pages in a year. This week, a banker valued the magazine at a dollar. “The rapid speed of the switch from print to digital, combined with the extreme severity of the economic downturn, has made it very tough for all weekly magazines,” says Stephen Shepard, former editor in chief of Business Week and now dean of City University of New York’s journalism school. Of all of them, though, Business Week is in a uniquely precarious position.

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Photo Credit: BradTrentNYC (Creative Commons)

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