Friday, May 7, 2010

BART Station Giveaway of New Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Here's a little guide to a nice freebie this morning, for those of you riding the BART subway into San Francisco.

This morning when I exited the BART station at Montgomery & Market, standing at the top of the stairs was the usual person handing out copies of the city's free daily (I still have problems with paying someone to shove a free newspaper into people's hands, but whatever), a group of kids selling Krispy Kreme donuts for some fundraiser, and a very friendly and energetic man handing out free copies of the newest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

The complimentary giveaway was to help raise awareness of the recently rebranded magazine, which has undergone a total overhaul since it was sold to Bloomberg by McGraw-Hill. For people wondering what could happen to Newsweek now that it's up for sale, Bloomberg Businessweek might suggest a happy ending. I won't review the whole issue here, because I have just gotten to the office and have only paged through the magazine. But what I've seen so far at least calms my ever-present worries that they would have dumbed down the magazine, as far too many publishers mistakenly do because of their misunderstanding of the digital-print worlds. So far, the Bloomberg mag looks good. I'm not sure the logo stands out on the cover; almost every magazine that undergoes a redesign tweaks its design -- sometimes severely -- after a few months, and I wouldn't be surprised if the magazine enlarged or boxed its logo to set it off. But that's a minor thing. My first impression is that this is a job well-done.

This experience has even inspired me to share my business suggestion to someone in the Bay Area: Start a web site or blog or silly Twitter feed that would tell people what's happening at each BART station or MUNI stop or major intersection. And not just where are the giveaways; it would probably be most valuable if you let people know to avoid Second and Market some morning because of an infestation of pickpockets and Dianetics salespeople, or steer clear of Powell and Market to avoid the LaRouchies or the Jews for Jesus. And please tell me which station exit has the off-key singer and which has the nice violinists.

That would be a great public service. Almost as good as giving away a free magazine.

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