There might have been a time when news took a summer vacation, but if that was ever true, it has long ceased to be. From the sudden financial meltdown in China and its global consequences, to the worst migrant crisis in Europe since the end of the second World War, to the markets’ agitated anticipation of a policy shift at the Federal Reserve, and the continuing surge of the inimitable Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary, this was another summer of events of outsized significance in finance, markets, economics and global politics and policy.
At The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires, Marketwatch and elsewhere, we covered these stories with unrivaled depth and intelligence. We broke important developments in many of these and other stories on Newswires and in the Journal. Despite the competing temptations of the beach and the pool, traffic to our digital sites was impressive, and video traffic was especially strong, breaking records. We demonstrated once again that when the world needs to understand the meaning of complex events, it turns to the most trusted source. Above all, this turbulent summer underscored the importance of our core mission at this company: to provide up-to-date news commentary and analysis that informs the lives and decision-making of a global business audience.
Despite the frenetic pace of the newsroom, I hope you managed to get at least some rest and recreation in the last couple of months and that you are, like some of our political leaders, tan, tested and ready for what promises to be a lively autumn season. The next few months will not only present big news stories – some of which we can anticipate, others we can’t. They will mark one of the most exciting periods in Dow Jones’s modern history, with the launch of a series of major initiatives.
I’d like to take this opportunity to articulate again our objectives as a news organization, to talk about the many new products we are launching in the next few months, and to recommit ourselves to the core mission we pursue as Dow Jones journalists.
Let me start by adumbrating our new lineup:
· Today we embark upon one of the most important steps in the recent history of the company with the launch of our new global print editions. You have already heard me talk about these new broadsheet editions of the journal to be available in Asia and Europe. They will closely resemble the US edition in size and scope – with 50 per cent more content than the existing Asian and European editions. But much will be edited for regional relevance. We expect this to be a significant move in our global goal of delivering new subscribers to the Journal in both print and digital.
· In further service of our global ambitions, we are developing plans to launch a new digital product in London for the large and vibrant financial market community there.
· Last month we inaugurated our first product designed specifically for the smartphone: the What’s News app. This business-news focused app has already proved a great success with subscribers and we look forward to both extending its reach and expanding its content in the months ahead. It will be a critical part of the subscription package for existing and future customers. Meanwhile, in the last few weeks, our revivified flagship WSJ app reached the top ranks for highest-grossing news apps in the Apple app store and has had hundreds of thousands of downloads over the summer. We’ll be making more enhancements to this product to ensure we maintain its lead.
· As Apple readies the launch of its Apple News product, I’m delighted to say that the app will feature content from the Journal and Marketwatch with a number of articles a day available to what is expected to be a large audience of users.
· In the next few months we will be comprehensively overhauling our Money and Investing section – for digital and print – with faster and more lively real-time commentary on global markets and deeper analysis of the powerful trends moving the world of business and finance.
· Later this fall, we will also be revamping Greater New York, with a broader range of news and features for that section which has proved to be such a success in the New York area.
All these initiatives emphasize our commitment to global growth for the Journal and Dow Jones, serving a business audience that is hungry for quality journalism.
· As we expand and improve the Journal’s offering for a large and growing global readership, we are also improving and innovating our journalism for a more specialized audience. Today we launch the first of our new WSJ Pro products, deeply reported coverage of particular fields of interest for a professional audience. WSJ Pro Central Banking is a model of what expert reporting, analysis and commentary should be. It will be just the first of a series of Pro products in a range of specialized topic areas that we will launch over the next year or two.
· In addition to all that, we are significantly expanding our conference business with new conferences this month on middle market companies in the US and a special event on Women in the Workplace. Our conferences are not only good business, they are an important and growing platform for our journalism; live interviews with leading figures in policy, business, finance, technology and elsewhere.
These will be closely followed by what will be the most successful editions ever of our two major flagship conferences – WSJDLive in California next month, and CEO Council in Washington DC in November.
The common theme behind this cascade of new initiatives is our simple ambition: to be the dominant source of information for the global business community.
To achieve that end and supply all these products with the best business journalism, we’re making significant changes in the newsroom, as you know.
When I announced our major restructuring at the end of June, I noted that we were closing a significant number of operations and reducing some of our staff numbers in order to become a more focused and more coherent news organization, one with a pellucid clarity of purpose and mission. At the same time, I said we would be reinvesting some of the savings made in areas that would bolster our core coverage and equip us for the digital age.
· We’ve already invested significantly in WSJ Pro, with a dozen new jobs allocated to WSJ Pro Central Banks alone. We’ll add more for our other Pro products.
· Our Money and Investing overhaul will involve at least a dozen extra jobs. The team will be joined by a number of new writers, and we will strengthen core franchises like the Heard on The Street.
· We are adding significantly to our mobile team.
· We have a strong presence of engineers on the newsroom floor and we are fostering a culture of collaboration; we also have a new team of designers in the Newsroom and they continue to improve and upgrade our web and mobile presence.
· Data journalism is key to our growth and we have expanded the number of data journalists and will continue to do so. We also recently staged a successful “data-thon” in which data scientists collaborated with journalists to create new story types, with remarkable results.
· We’re also adding strength to our data analytics in the newsroom, as well as to our emerging media team, which develops content for new platforms. We expect continued expansion of such activities.
· The news business remains in flux. Digital disruption is upending business models and undermining some quality journalism.
But at Dow Jones we have a clear strategy, one based on a focused and coherent set of goals – to be the purveyor of news, analysis and commentary that is trusted, fair, accurate and reliable for a business audience. We will deliver that content to an ever-larger readership in line with the traditional values of Wall Street Journal journalism and in ever more diverse and dynamic formats.