Toronto Star business columnist David Olive argues Sunday that The Wall Street Journal is already seeing a decline in influence among its readers even before its potential acquisition by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, who will just accelerate the issue.
Olive wrote, “In explaining his motive for shoving that shard of ice into Journal veterans’ hearts, Murdoch allowed that articles of more than 300 words weary him. But the Journal is already no longer a paper of record. Less often, now, does it run the in-depth pieces that have long drawn business and political decision-makers to its pages â€“ articles that contrast the innovative health-care experiments of various states; explain how Caterpillar Inc. painstakingly repulsed a threat from Japan’s Komatsu; or examine the inner workings of Procter & Gamble Co.’s remarkable marketing machine. Stories that take longer than 300 words to tell, but for decades have offered lively case histories in how American business works.
“Accelerating the demise of the Journal as a must-read paper will create a void that will be exploited by the New York Times; Fortune; the U.S. edition of the Financial Times and the Times’ sister magazine The Economist. Web-based financial-news start-ups will proliferate, some of them offshoots of Bloomberg, Thomson-Reuters and Agence France Press, which will see the profit to be gained from developing proprietary investigative content.
“And that’s why so few people outside the Wall Street Journal and the incestuous media business care about a Murdoch-owned Journal. The best things the newspaper still does will become the lucrative work of others.
“The Journal will become another club for Murdoch to use against political and personal foes. But it will be a paper that serious readers no longer take seriously.”
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