OLD Media Moves

NY Times biz columnist Nocera misses the old Wall Street Journal

August 30, 2008

Joe Nocera, a business columnist for the New York Times, writes about how he misses the pre-Rupert Murdoch Wall Street Journal.

Joe NoceraNocera writes, “Mr. Murdoch believes that the country is yearning for a national conservative daily, so that is where he is taking The Wall Street Journal. He is also an old-fashioned news hound, so he’s pushing for straighter, snappier, less analytical stories. As the owner — and as a man with a very clear vision of what he wants — he has every right to impose those changes.

“But to me — and I’m speaking now not as a someone who works for a competitor but as someone who has always adored reading The Wall Street Journal — the paper he is producing is less distinctive, less interesting and less important to its core business readership. The Journal of yore always assumed that its readers knew the basic facts of a big story, so it worked hard to find new, fresh angles that required smart reporting and original thinking. The old Journal could barely bring itself to publish a quarterly earnings story without putting it in context for the reader. Most painful for me are the memories I have of the rollicking Wall Street Journal narrative that was such a staple — a behind-the-scenes story about some shenanigans inside a company that only The Journal would ferret out and tell. Nobody else in journalism wrote those stories on a regular basis, and now that The Journal has largely stopped writing them I fear they are going to disappear, like an ancient dialect that dies out.

“I’ll never stop subscribing to The Journal, just like I’ll never stop subscribing to The New Yorker. But it used to be that on days when I was too busy to read it, I feared I was missing something. This week, I realized, I don’t feel that way anymore.”

Read more here.

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