The Wall Street Journal is struggling with aging readers and covering race, according to a report from BuzzFeed.
BuzzFeed reporters Amber Jamieson, Craig Silverman and Ken Bensinger write, “The report, put together by a group of strategy editors from across the newsroom, was a content review of the paper’s output, subscriber numbers, and lack of growth, despite an influx of new readers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“‘We need to quote more real people in stories,’ the report declares, explaining that ‘real people’ — loosely defined as consumers and man-on-the-street types of people — only appear in around one-quarter of WSJ reporting.
“The key recommendations include major changes to what the paper covers, how it covers topics, and a rethinking of how it ignores some audiences.
“One damning example of how the wider newsroom’s failed to listen to Black readers and its own digital-forward staff came from a spring 2020 project with the National Bar Association, the largest organization for Black legal professionals in the country. New audiences chief Ebony Reed shared WSJ articles with the group and asked them what questions they wanted the outlet to answer. Stories sparked from readers’ questions during COVID-19 gained wide audiences and traffic, the report states.”
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