The Wall Street Journal’s news pages are notoriously
liberal not in sync with the right-wing stance of its editorial pages. But ever since Rupert Murdoch bought the Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones, many have wondered if that might change. The place of Barack Obama’s picture just above the best story ever salacious tale of sex and drugs at the Department of the Interior will give them little reassurance that conservative politics aren’t playing a role in the news department. Surrounded by police, walking on the sidewalk, Barack glancing over his shoulder–well, it looks more than a little like a perp walk picture. As it turns out, the picture has nothing to do with the headline. Barack was just going to an appearance on David Letterman.
On a related note: who would have ever suspected that working for the Department of the Interior could be so much fun?
Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal’s news pages are notoriously
The Loophole Legend: The Strange Life And Death Of JP Morgan’s Guarantee of Bear Stearn’s LiabilitiesBy John Carney
The last chapter of Kate Kelly’s Wall Street Journal epic on the decline and fall of Bear Stearns tells us that the “hurried deal” to keep Bear Stearns out of bankruptcy included a “loophole” that gave Bear Stearns investors leverage to seek a higher price. By now this story of the loophole is well-known, thanks in part to a New York Times front page story that first reported it. In time this story is likely to harden into conventional wisdom, especially now that it’s been endorsed by both the Times and the Journal.
Unfortunately, the story probably isn’t true.
Reporters and editors at The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Marketwatch and Dow Jones Newswires received an email this afternoon telling them that they’ll likely be moving up to the News Corp headquarters in midtown next year.
While some media watchers will no doubt bemoan the move as further endangering the independence of the Journal, our informal survey says the newsroom is divided on the move. The so-called “Park Slope lefty” contingent dreads the move, partly because it will lengthen the commute from Brooklyn. The “Westchester family” contingent welcomes it as it brings them closer to Grand Central Station.
WSJ, Dow Jones, Marketwatch, Barron’s to move to Manhattan in 2009 [Talking Biz News]
The announcement last night that key Murdoch aide Robert J. Thomson, who had been charged with selecting the next top editor of The Wall Street Journal , had pulled a Dick Cheney and selected himself, will have many speculating about the future of the Journal.
But why speculate when the evidence is right on the front page of the Wall Street Journal? Today’s front page shows that the worst fears of Journal watchers–turning the Journal into the New York Post or even the Sun–haven’t come to pass. But there does seem to be a shift in focus. Newspapers communicate their image of what is important with their front pages. And the front page story is a prized win for reporters, conveying prestige among colleagues. A few months ago the news desk at the Journal was split between general news and business news, and business news seems to be losing some of its grip on the paper.
Take a look at what’s on the Journal’s front page. Today there are six stories. The top billing is giving to the story of Ted Kennedy’s brain tumor. The two other above the fold stories are about the quake in China and the US military. Below the fold we have a story about doping scandals in the Olympics. Of these, only the military story–they plan to use more alternate fuels–has a solid business angle. The rest are general news stories. Murdoch, who is said to favor more general news more prominently placed in the Journal, must be pleased.
The “What’s News” section continues to lead with business and finance news shorts. For now.
Alright, this is surely jumping the gun and I’m probably going to take it back by sooner rather than later (my money’s on this afternoon) but right now, what I’m saying is: the new Wall Street Journal rocks, specifically Page One. Yesterday it was an article on an 150 women taking part in an Assassin-inspired game of competitive knitting (“I got the sock. I’m dead.”), today it’s a piece the trials and tribulations of putting on a good Nativity scene this holiday season, with a particular emphasis on the issue of animals who are stealing the show from their human co-stars with hijinks so hilarious I’m not entirely convinced they were unplanned.
In Mount Laurel, New Jersey, M and J were headed off to Bethlehem to do their thing when the donkey Mary was riding freaked out and took off. Joe jumped on the ass and tried to stop him but fell off, got caught in the reins, and was dragged for several hundred feet. At First United Methodist Church in Tuckerton, NJ, a camel ate the set. In Orange County, California, at the Crystal Cathedral, a donkey stepped on Joseph’s foot and broke his toe. At Mount Olives Lutheran church in Mission Viejo, CA, rehearsals got held up for over an hour because two goats were screwing like animals (“They were just acting very inappropriately,” Diane Girard, a co-coordinator of the program said. “We had to break it up.”).
What does any of this have to do with business? Don’t know, don’t care. At all. Maybe I’m just a Jew getting into the Christmas spirit, maybe this article just has me fondly thinking about the time Joseph wrestled Larry to the ground and dislodged a pubic hair from his throat that had been stuck in there for days. I don’t know what it is. I just know I like it, and want it to continue. (Thinking ahead for the coming year: how to deal with the ignorant fucks (that phrase should be in the lede) who tell you you’ve “got some schmutz” on your forehead on Ash Wednesday? The deadly sport of Canasta? These are just for instances, nobody’s saying they’re going to be used, I’m just trying to get a dialogue going, and you know the ‘Journal’ likes to come around these parts for story ideas, anyway.)
Awry in a Manger: It Takes a Miracle To Stage This Play [WSJ]
The Wall Street Journal only ran a tiny thumbnail of the Bernanke-as-sheriff cartoon you see at left, that some graphics guy obviously worked really hard on, next to this morning’s recession story, and only on the site’s main page? If you’re going to be the New York Post under a fake name, you don’t just dip your toes in the water, you fucking own it. Next time we want to see the tramp stamp alongside the article in full-size, with a click to enlarge option.
On the other hand, bravo to whoever had the idea to put a story about men who dye their hair on A1. Good to see someone came to work today.
Meaning that more people are reading the Journal for less time, at least online, following the Murdoch print media philosophy of more eyes, less ink (we would have also accepted: “words are offensive,” or “who likes to read anyway?”). Maybe it’s that people turned away from market news in July the same way you can’t stare at a train wreck or maybe it was the Journal’s new emphasis on less-reader-intensive celebrity nipple slips, but monthly numbers suggest a definite Pre-Post-erization (take a second to wrap your head around that term) of the now slightly less sacrosanct WSJ.
Editor & Publisher released its monthly traffic numbers for online newspapers for the month of July. Compared to May, when the glacial progression of the Murdoch buyout process was really kicking off, the Wall Street Journal in July was being read by more people for 2 fewer minutes on average per user per month. It was being read by 3% more people for 17% less time. Ok Rupert, you win.
The order of the top five online publications ranked by traffic remained static from May to July, with the Journal rounding out that club at number five. The online papers read more than the Journal are the NYTimes, USATODAY, Washington Post and LA Times (in that order). The top three all experienced greater traffic spikes than the WSJ from May to July and, wait a second…all experienced declines in the average time spent on the site per user which means that (you heard it on DB first) Rupert Murdoch is going to buy the NYTimes, USATODAY and Washington Post. The world’s online print media is powerless to resist its reduction to large badly-punned inappropriate titles. Surprisingly, more people trafficked online newpapers in July than May, which confirms that suspicion that the people on vacation (your bosses) weren’t reading online papers anyway (you knew your MD was illiterate, strangely out of the cultural/current event loop) and that there is an inverse correlation between how busy people are at work and online media traffic.
For some reason one of most significant swings from May to July was the average time spent per person reading the NY Post, which increased over 50%, from a paltry 6 minutes per month to over 9 minutes. Alright, now we’re confused, what are you up to Rupert?
EXCLUSIVE: Top 30 Web Sites for July Traffic [Editor & Publisher]
UPDATE: Here’s Ranking of 30 Most Popular Newspaper Sites for May [Editor & Publisher]
Wall Street Journal reporters are in mourning today after the Bancroft family sold their souls to the News Corp Murdochracy for $5bn. “It’s sad. We held a wake. We stood around a pile of Journals and drank whiskey,” one writer said.
The Journal’s Managing editor, Marcus Brauchli (whose job, it should be noted, was secured during those interminable negotiations for “editorial independence”) tried to cheer up the troops this morning, sending around an internal memo with such heartrending reassurances as, “Our journalism defines the Journal,” and “It is too early to know how or even whether News Corp. ownership might alter priorities or structures at Dow Jones.”
For the time being, he’s probably right.