Media Moves

WSJ's advantage: It has been "online" longer than its competitors

January 15, 2007

David Warsh, writing on the Economic Principals web site, muses about the Wall Street Journal’s recent redesign and points out that it has an advantage over other business publications.

Warsh wrote, “Long before the Internet, before Bloomberg put an extensive news report in a desktop terminal along with its proprietary history of bond prices, there was the Dow Jones ticker. People of a certain age will remember the device, which was found wherever business was taken seriously — a miniature printer mounted waist-high in a metal console, through which a long roll of paper (the broad tape) streamed throughout the day, spinning out in purple ink a record of breaking news, transaction prices and little items prepared for the next day’s WSJ.

“In other words, Dow Jones has been an electronic publisher since the 19th century. Indeed, even before the WSJ, there was the Boston News Bureau. Online news is much older than you think

Charles Dow and Edward Jones (and Charles Bergstresser, whose moniker was insufficiently euphonious to be made a name partner) provided real-time news from the very beginning of their venture, in 1882. (The details here are drawn from Lloyd Wendt’s thoroughly entertaining centenary corporate biography, The Wall Street Journal: The Story of Dow Jones and the Nation’s Business Newspaper.) Early bulletins from Dow Jones were reproduced by stencil, mimeograph-fashion, then delivered to customers around Wall Street, at intervals of as little as fifteen minutes, by a corps of messenger boys.”

Read more here. Early history of business journalism can also be found online here.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.