Jim Kirk

Publisher and Executive Editor, Crain's Chicago Business

Jim Kirk is Publisher and Executive Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business. His previous positions include Editor in Chief of the Los Angeles Times and Senior Vice President, Editor and Publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times.


Most of the events we do are coming off our editorial, so they’re themes like our Fast 50, which focuses on fast-growing companies, the fastest growing companies in Chicago, or we have a 40 Under 40 feature, which spotlights the 40 rising executives who are under the age of 40 from across different backgrounds. And we pull together an event to celebrate them. Hospital CEO Breakfast, for example, is our biggest event, focused on trends in the hospital industry and ... those are all ticket events. You sell sponsorships against them. … In that case, it’s a way to extend our journalism into sort of an experiential mode where we’re finding that people want to use (them) to connect and learn more and to network. We kind of are the glue to providing that service for them. That has helped become a pretty good extension of our business.

If it doesn’t work, we’re going to move on very quickly to the next thing, but we want to make sure that we are trying things that … have a pretty good chance for success, both in reaching a new audience and being attractive enough to be sustainable. It’s not like we’re just throwing everything up against the wall. We're just being smart and trying to understand if there’s a marketplace for it, both from a readership standpoint and an advertising standpoint, that can support it.

Everything that we do really has to work on the phone. That’s obviously the most personal technology people have at the moment and are using the most, so everything that we do is really kind of focused on optimizing for that, first and foremost. But I do think the adoption of the kind of home personal Alexa kind of technology, where people can smartly ask for information and have it delivered to them just by asking for it, is something that we have to really look at and take seriously.