OLD Media Moves

A lot of people need to read the Wall Street Journal

March 11, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

Ashley Coates of Xcity magazine interviewed Wall Street Journal managing editor Gerard Baker about his career and about the newspaper’s success.

Here is an excerpt:

How has The Wall Street Journal been able to grow its following at a time when most other papers are consigning themselves to quite marked decline in print?

Firstly, I should say that credit is due to a number of other people, namely my predecessor, Robert Thomson as well as Rupert Murdoch. One important factor in our success is that a lot of people need to read The Wall Street Journal because it provides detailed business information. So we have a solid base there which is certainly not invulnerable, but there is a core that a lot of other newspapers don’t have.

The second factor is that when News Corp took over, and Robert Thomson gets all the credit for this, the aim was very much to hold onto that base but also to build out and become a broader newspaper with more politics, general news, arts, culture, lifestyle and sport without diminishing the business news.

Another development, which is related to those two points, is that the US market is evolving very rapidly away from the big city model towards national papers. Unlike the UK, where you have around 12 national papers, in the States you have The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Houston Chronicle, U-T San Diego, there are hundreds of them, each covering their own patch.

What the digital revolution has done is really sweep away the rationale for that because no one needed to read The Denver Post’s Washington coverage because they could, frankly, read higher quality coverage from a more national organisation.

I think what’s happening is the US newspaper market is evolving into a much more European or Japanese market and we and The New York Times and some of the other bigger papers are evolving into national newspapers. So one of the reasons why we are doing well is the business is consolidating around the big papers, and we’re one of them.

Read more here.

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