OLD Media Moves

WSJ’s Personal Journal adds recurring themes

March 6, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

Emily Nelson, editor of Personal Journal, and Mike Miller, deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, sent out the following announcement to the staff on Tuesday:

This week you’ll see a new look for Personal Journal, as we follow on the success of our Health & Wellness focus on Tuesday with new themes for Wednesday and Thursday. Our aim is to clarify the subjects each day will cover, giving readers a better sense of the rhythm and structure of the section, while keeping it a home for a wide range of unexpected and delightful news and feature stories. The section’s overall goal is to address readers as consumers, decoding what they see every day. We are very eager to have stories from all our bureaus around the world and hope you’ll send us lots of ideas!

Here is the lineup, with descriptions of some new recurring features:

Tuesdays: Health & Wellness. The focus remains on personal health, wellness, fitness, and diet. The What’s Your Workout feature profiles an executive explaining their workout, anything from a routine runner to a tree climber. This is a great outlet for beat reporters.

Wednesdays: Home & Digital.

– Our home coverage looks at design, and much more: the driveway, the daily commute, household questions such as who cleans the fridge, and new dramas such as what happens to the family dinner in the age of Twitter, plus Sue Shellenbarger’s Work and Family question.

– Our digital coverage will be anchored by Walt Mossberg’s Personal Technology column, moving to Wednesdays, and Katie Boehret’s Digital Solution column.

– Plus a selection of new features:

Makeover: We have lots of gadgets but life isn’t as efficient as it could be. In a mini-profile, a person describes what products they have, websites and apps they frequently use, and describes their life and their challenges. Then, an expert recommends what they should be doing instead.

Dream Home: In every home, there’s something the owner loves or perhaps splurged on. A photo showcases a room and break-out photos explain the trophy items and their personal stories. The marble bathtub she splurged on because she’s wanted one since seeing her grandmother’s as a child.

How I Spent My Allowance: An as-told-to interview with a child, explaining why they have coveted particular items and decided to spend their allowance on them, how much they get in allowance, what they must do to earn their allowance.

Multitaskers: What hidden talents does a product have? Problems it can solve that it wasn’t designed to? A wooden spoon opens wine bottle, white vinegar cleans a couch.

Thursdays: Style & Travel.

– Our style coverage looks at retail, fashion, how it affects readers’ daily lives, and how decisions get made behind the scenes, including Chris Binkley’s On Style column.

– Our travel coverage looks at all the tumultuous changes underway in travelling by plane, car and boat, and explains how a traveler can make intelligent decisions, featuring Scott McCartney’s Middle Seat column.


What’s Selling Where: How one product is selling in different cities or countries and what’s driving the differences in taste based on executive interviews. As items are now available globally, companies still alter them, even as small as changing the color, for local taste.

Going Rate: What a product or service costs in different spots across the globe. A baby sitter on a Saturday night in Los Angeles, NY, London, for example?

Just One Thing: An expert offers advice on what’s the item worth spending on, and where you can cut corners. Splurge on lipstick but cheap mascara is fine? One chef’s knife that makes all the difference but the frying pan doesn’t?

Decode a Marketing Message: An interview with an executive at a company or an advertising agency to explain what they’re aiming to achieve with a particular ad or package.

What’s In Your Bag?: Take someone and explain what’s in their purse, backpack, gym bag, carry-on bag, hiking pack. Photo of person with their bag plus lots of pull-out photos of its contents with blurbs.

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