The new BusinessWorld revives the power of interviews

In addition to the interviews in the cover story, there’s another single-page interview and another half page one, making it totally 32.5 pages of interviews, forming 22.5 percent of the magazine.

Anant Rangaswami March 01, 2013 14:38:39 IST
The new BusinessWorld revives the power of interviews

My first reaction to the new, fortnightly BusinessWorld was that it was now a compendium of interviews. It’s a thick 142 pages. The cover story on Leadership, which forms the heart of the magazine, appears in what the editor calls the ‘well’ and comprises 8 interviews, consuming 31 pages.

The new BusinessWorld revives the power of interviews

The cover of BusinessWorld magazine.

In addition to the interviews in the cover story, there’s another single-page interview and another half page one, making it totally 32.5 pages of interviews, forming 22.5 percent of the magazine. But not of the content. There are 43.5 pages of advertising, leaving just 98.5 pages for content. Interviews, as a result, account for 33 percent of the total content in the magazine.

Isn’t that too much, one wondered.

I didn’t think so after reading through the interviews.

The interviews are a refreshing change from the interviews one sees on TV. In the newspapers, interviews are all too rare.

Why are the interviews so refreshing, I wondered? After all, we’ve seen all the subjects, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Natarajan Chandrasekharan, Adi Godrej, Sajjan Jindal, Aditya Puri, Pawan Munjal, Kishore Biyani and Harsh Mariwala being interviewed on TV any number of times.

That’s when the penny dropped: the interviews were refreshing because they were not on TV. The interviews were refreshing because there was no anchor.

As a result, we read opinions of these leaders without any interruptions, without their being led to a predetermined destination, without their being cut-off in mid-sentence, without their views being twisted and distorted.

In addition, reading the interviews makes it clear that there was no pressure for instant reactions and comments; response are considered, thoughtful and insightful.

While there is certainly a common thread – leadership – that runs through the interviews, thanks to the choice of subjects, we learn of how the challenges in leadership differ in different industries and different situations. For me, the time spent on the interviews is rewarding and purposeful.

That’s the ‘well’ of the new BusinessWorld. The ‘front of the book’ and the ‘back of the book’ are entertaining (and dated in some of the content), and lacks differentiation. It’s the well that captures my attention, and it’s the well that I’ll look forward to in the next issue.

It’s a long time since I thought I’d look forward to the next issue of BusinessWorld.

Disclaimer: Firstpost is owned by Network18, which also owns Forbes India, a magazine in the same space as BusinessWorld.

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