Murdoch begins changing WSJ
Slate media critic Jack Shafer notes that subtle changes have already begun to appear in The Wall Street Journal under new owner Rupert Murdoch in his bid to compete against the New York Times.
An example, he noted, isÂ its coverage of the Pakistan political crisis, which was also covered thoroughly in the Times.
Shafer wrote, “Findings collected in one weekâ€”especially a holiday week when business news ebbs and reporters take extra time offâ€”don’t necessarily make a trend. But I think that Compaine is onto something here. Chasing the ‘top story’ creates the illusion that the Journal is dueling with the Times, which has more resources.
“The peril of publishing from inside a Potemkin village is that once readers figure out the dodgeâ€”editors overselling storiesâ€”the newspaper’s reputation suffers. Barney Kilgore, the architect of the modern Wall Street Journal, understood that he couldn’t afford to compete with the Times, and that his paper would always be a second read for most subscribers.
“‘So instead of chasing the ‘duty story’ about yesterday’s assassination, earthquake, or coup, he picked his shots carefully, giving readers something they couldn’t get elsewhere. Keeping its primary focus on business, the Journal broke nonbusiness stories that nobody else had; captured the essence of an evolving story better than the competition (including the newsweeklies); and perfected the ‘A-Hed,’ the offbeat story that had no reason to be on Page One other than that it was fascinating. (Didn’t you just love Michael M. Phillips’ A-Hed this week about Dennis Kucinich’s close encounter?)”
Read more here.