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Murdoch’s WSJ poised to take journalism off the NY Times gold standard 3/31/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in NYTimes, Wall Street Journal.

“I think American journalism has some soul-searching to do…If there’s a presumption that…’New York Times journalism’ is the pinnacle of our profession, the profession is in some difficulty.” Those are trash-talking fighting words from Robert Thomson, former editor of the Times of London and new publisher of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ). He sees the NY Times as a fool’s gold standard, calling its journalism “self-serving.” He mocks a paper that prizes readers less than prizes from other journalists. That measures an article’s worth by its length. That claims to be objective, but leans left.

But lest you think Thomson is all talk, Murdoch is putting his money where his mouth is. In an industry suffering ongoing layoffs, the WSJ’s newsroom staff is 25% higher than 2 years ago and growing. Political and foreign coverage are expanding. Sports is being added. There’s even a new quarterly magazine on fashion and travel. Gone is the gentleman’s agreement between the paper’s former owners, the Bancroft family, and the NY Times’ Sulzbergers, in which the WSJ settled for the “silver medal” as a second, more business-oriented read “for those who already had digested a local or national newspaper.” Make no mistake, Murdoch is now going for the gold.


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