Monday, February 28, 2005

Outsider at Crain's didn't fit in

When Jeff Bailey resigned as editor of Crain's Chicago Business last week, I didn't think it was relevant to this blog. Although Crain owns a ton of B2B properties, the publication Bailey helmed was part of a different, although related world -- business magazines for consumers.
But an article in the Chicago Tribune made me rethink my position. According to the Tribune, part of Bailey's problem appears to be that he alienated his staff. Editorial employees were working "longer hours" to keep up with Bailey, a former Wall Street Journal staffer who was at his desk early, late and on weekends.
Bailey was a departure for Crain -- an outsider, rather than someone who rose through the ranks of the company. And it seems that Bailey brought with him the sort of obsessive, striving, money-oriented, worker-loathing style of big media.
I've done my time in big media. I've worked at CNN, Primedia and the mother of all unpleasant newsrooms -- Bloomberg. And I learned to dislike the people who do well in those environments -- sycophants, weaklings, manipulators and ego-crazed moguls. One of the things I love about B2B publishing -- one of the things that has brought me back to this world time and time again -- is that the smaller, often family-owned companies that dominate the field don't see a conflict between success and their workers' happiness.
And so I'm pleased to see that a B2B company has seemingly turned its back on the win-at- all-costs style of big media.

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