I’ve been saying for a long time that I don’t know why more local papers don’t cover their communities the way the Wall Street Journal covers theirs. Even within the constraints of budgets and talent, most local papers are capable of providing more perspective on their communities than they do.
In a column introducing the Journal’s new look, publisher L. Gordon Crovitz reveals that the new WSJ will be more like the old WSJ than ever.
The biggest change is the one Managing Editor Paul Steiger describes: The Journal’s news department is increasing the proportion of articles that are exclusive, telling you about facts, trends, ideas and analysis you won’t see anywhere else. A little over half of the Journal in recent times has been this kind of unique coverage — more than any other newspaper, which is one reason the number of people subscribing to the Journal is up by 10% this year, when most newspapers have many fewer such subscribers.
Still, this means that almost half of our news was available to readers the previous day, often online. We now aim to make 80% of your Journal what-it-means journalism, devoting the other 20% to ensuring that you haven’t missed anything of importance from the previous day. This approach reflects our vision of a Journal you can use throughout your day, with the print Journal focused on what the news means to you and The Wall Street Journal Online focused on what’s happening right now.
Further down he quotes Journal editor Bernard Kilgore as saying in the 1940s, “It doesn’t have to have happened today to be news.”
I can’t think of a better strategy to compete with the Web’s ownership of generic news than the one Kilgore articulated sixty years ago.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.