What the Web Does Best
When Doug Harbrecht first signed on as Kiplinger’s new media editorial director, he was faced with a challenge to which many in today’s magazine industry can relate. The challenge was perhaps best summarized by Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone founder, in a recent Wall Street Journal interview: “The trick is to figure out what the Web does better, and let it do that, and then see what the role of the magazine is and what the magazine does better.”
Sounds simple enough. But as many in publishing know, it’s just not that easy.
It helps to have the right people holding the reins. Kiplinger’s editor in chief Knight Kiplinger and editorial director Kevin McCormally had plucked Harbrecht away from Business Week, where he had served as executive editor since 2003. During his stint as editorial content director, Business Week Online garnered six National Magazine Award nominations for excellence in new media—more than any other magazine Web site—and won the award in 2000.
His addition meant Kiplinger.com had found its leader—someone with a track record for success and a visionary eye toward the future of the Web. Harbrecht was tasked with not only boosting traffic, but also identifying and implementing cutting-edge online elements that complement the brand’s print version.
When Harbrecht took Kiplinger.com’s reins on March 1 of this year, he understood the latter half of Wenner’s equation was already in place. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance print magazine is among the most well known and successful personal finance publications in the United States. Its Kiplinger Letter, dating back to 1923, is the longest continually published newsletter in the nation. But like many new media directors, Harbrecht found himself searching for ways to leverage the print product’s productivity into an online powerhouse as well.
Kiplinger.com actually consists of two separate Web sites: Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, which mirrors the magazine, and Kiplinger’s Business Forecasts, home of The Kiplinger Letter and an assortment of business and economic forecasts. The sites differ significantly in both content and business models.