OLD Media Moves

When you're the Wall Street Journal, you get access

February 20, 2007

The bigger the media outlet, the more access you’re likely to get to the top executives at the companies you cover. That’s a basic tenet of business journalism that anybody who’s been in the business realize.

Walt MossbergSo, how about this for access? Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs and Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates have agreed to appear together at The Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital” conference this year in May and be interviewed by well-known tech product reviewer/reporter Walt Mossberg and tech columnist Kara Swisher.

To be sure, Mossberg and Swisher are two of the heavyweights in covering the tech industry, but their annual D conference also gives them access to CEOs and other executives that many other media outlets can’t match.

Other executives appearing that any tech/media reporter would love to have access to? Try Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, CBS President Les Moonves, Cisco CEO John Chambers; film director George Lucas, online pioneer Steve Case, Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore, News Corp. President Peter Chernin, Palm founder Jeff Hawkins, and Steve Chen and Chad Hurley of YouTube.

I’m not blaming Mossberg and Swisher for coming up with this event. It seems like a smart move on their part to get all of the top people in their industry together at one time, which benefits their coverage. While such an event does call into question the WSJ’s objectivity in covering these companies in that the CEOs are likely speaking for free and the paper gains from the event, the Journal has shown that it does cover these firms aggressively.

What’s interesting is that the Journal allows bloggers and others to cover the event. See the links at the bottom of this page. They’re not just keeping the information from these execs to themselves.

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