OLD Media Moves

How the WSJ will take on the NYTimes

October 17, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Michael Calderone of The New York Observer writes Wednesday about the strategy behind how the Wall Street Journal will take on the New York Times in national coverage after News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch closes on his deal to acquire parent company Dow Jones & Co.

New York TimesCalderone wrote, “In early August, just days after bickering Bancrofts accepted News Corp.’s $5 billion offer, Marcus Brauchli, The Journal’s managing editor since May, held a conference call with reporters and editors from the newspaper’s various bureaus. Journal staffers from several cities—including Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and San Francisco—were involved, according to a source on the line. On that call, Mr. Brauchli for the first time relayed to the bureau staffers Mr. Murdoch’s intention to chip away at The Times’ newspaper-of-record mantle, by offering more general news. In the long-term, Mr. Brauchli told his team, The Journal hoped to reorganize its resources so that, for instance, when a bridge collapses in Minnesota, it could quickly be on the scene, just as The Times is.

“But making that happen will be far from easy. ‘My feeling always was that the paper is best off defining itself as a business newspaper, albeit with often much broader coverage than strictly business,’ said Peter Kann, who spent four decades at Dow Jones, most recently as chairman and CEO. ‘Where you cross the line to become a more general interest paper, I don’t know.’

“In interviews over the summer, Mr. Murdoch also suggested that several other less far-reaching changes could be in the works: He noted, among other things, that more resources might be funneled into covering politics, both in Washington and internationally, and that he’d give serious thought to eliminating the online pay wall and replacing it with a model based on ad revenue.”

Read more here. The story also talks about how Times business editor Larry Ingrassia has been unsuccessful — so far — in poaching reporters from the Journal.

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