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Murdoch rapidly transforming the Wall Street Journal into the Fleet Street Journal to compete head-on with the NY Times 2/11/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in NYTimes, Wall Street Journal.
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Rupert Murdoch is moving quickly to fulfill his pledge that his newly acquired Wall Street Journal will replace the NY Times as the leading “national elitist general-interest paper.” Not surprisingly, his first priority is converting the WSJ from a “business-interest” to a “general-interest” paper, and he has taken at least two steps in that direction. First, he is moving the WSJ offices from the financial district to midtown Manhattan. And second, its news coverage is moving well outside the business realm. Managing editor Marcus Brauchli said, “we believe there is no reason that people should have to go to another news source beyond the Journal to find news of consequence to them in any sphere — politics, economics, even culture and the arts.” Coverage of sports is also in the works.

WSJ Victoria’s SecretBut simply listing the new topics that will be covered understates the fundamental changes Murdoch is now imposing on the WSJ. He is changing its culture from serious, self-important Wall Street to fun, colorful, and competitive Fleet Street — the legendary culture of London’s newspapers that still exists in their tone, if not in their mailing addresses. Headlines and photos are being pumped-up to catch attention on newsstands. And blogger KnifeTricks notes that graphics of stippled, pinstriped executives are giving way to stripped, cleavaged models. Whether or not Murdoch eventually adds a bawdy Page 3, one thing is for certain. This will not be your grandfather’s Wall Street Journal.

Comments»

1. frankwolftown - 2/12/08

Well for better or worse Murdoch is changing things. THe jury is still out on whether or not it will work. It seems to working so far but how far can it go? Reminds of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzhb3U2cONs&feature=related
All we need is a director to make a scandalous movie.

2. Steve Boriss - 2/12/08

Frankwolftown, Not enough room to explain it all here, but in retrospect the movie Citizen Kane represented Hollywood’s attempt to smear newspapers who gave them bad press, delegitimizing their credibility. Yellow Journalism was actually a Golden Age for news — it had a very good track record for truth, was very entertaining, brought in a greater demographic cross-section of readers, and gave customers what they wanted (see my Pajamas Media article in the right-hand column). Elites didn’t like it, and for a variety of reasons were able to take control of news for a century, setting-up upscale, “objective,” center-left news as the standard and the NY Times as the standard-bearer. With New Media, we are finally seeing a market correction of this.


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