Shafer: WSJ redesign is only about saving money
Slate.com media columnist Jack Shafer wrote that the executives at Dow Jones should have come clean on Monday when they discussed the redesign of the Wall Street Journal and simply stated that it was about saving money, not giving readers something better.
Shafer wrote, “Instead of leveling with his readers about the reasons behind his paper’s new slim profileâ€”to save moneyâ€”[publisher Gordon] Crovitz insults their intelligence by claiming the change is for the ‘convenience’ of readers. Calling it an ‘easier-to-handle size,’ he repeats the testimony of one reader who, upon seeing a prototype of the smaller Journal, said, ‘I fly First Class, but when I’m reading the Journal now I knock over my neighbor’s orange juice. That won’t happen anymore.’
“People have been flying first class and reading their Wall Street Journals for more than a half century. Suddenly the size is a problem? Doesn’t Crovitz understand that he’s writing for one of the most business-literate audiences in the nation, and that they roll their eyes when a manufacturer says he shrank the product for the benefit of the customer?
“Crovitz knows all about artful obfuscation, having served on the Journal‘s editorial page before migrating to the paper’s business side in the mid-1990s. While still on the Journal editorial page, Crovitz and the page were pilloried by Stuart Taylor Jr. in a 1989 American Lawyer piece. ‘They were almost indifferent as to whether what they wanted to say comported with dispassionate factual reality,’ Taylor told the Columbia Journalism Review in 1996.”
Read more here. Shafer is also collected your advertising slogans for the new Journal. His suggestion: “Smaller but Bigger.”